When I first surrendered to Jesus Christ, I was a very impatient person. I wanted things to get done fast. I wanted situations to resolve themselves quickly. Almost twenty years later, I realize that I’m still very much an impatient person at heart. I do a better job of realizing my impatience and intentionally trying to slow down, to be more willing to give things time. I’m far from overcoming this character flaw in myself, but I have seen progress. One area where I’ve learned through repeated lessons to be more patient is with God’s timing. There have been too many times in the past where I wanted God to move immediately. I wanted answers to my prayer right away. I wanted changes in myself overnight. Only later I came to realize how foolish I was. God doesn’t rush. He moves at the proper speed. When He doesn’t move as quickly as we want, it’s because things must unfold further for the best possible plan.
The foremen of the people of Israel saw that they were in trouble when they said, “You shall by no means reduce your number of bricks, your daily task each day.” They met Moses and Aaron, who were waiting for them, as they came out from Pharaoh; and they said to them, “The Lord look on you and judge, because you have made us stink in the sight of Pharaoh and his servants, and have put a sword in their hand to kill us.” – Exodus 5:19-21, ESV
Aaron and Moses showed up on the scene and confronted Pharaoh as they were instructed to do. Pharaoh responded by making the situation harder on the Israelites. The people, and specifically their work leaders, responded by confronting Aaron and Moses and were clearly beside themselves. Life was hard and now these two had caused Pharaoh to make life harder. The foremen couldn’t understand that there was a crucible here. They needed to go through the heat to see freedom from their slavery. All they could see was the immediate affliction. They judged Aaron and Moses, and by implication God, too quickly.
One of the things in life that has taught me patience is baking. About a year ago I decided to see how hard it was to make homemade bread. It’s not hard. Measurements have to be precise, but the measuring, kneading, and baking tasks are relatively simple. What’s hard is the waiting. You have to wait for the dough to rise. If you don’t, after the dough is baked into bread you have bread that is as hard of a rock. If you do wait for the dough to rise properly (and sometimes multiple times where you beat the dough back down and let it rise again – this can lead to lighter, fluffier bread), you have to wait the appropriate time for the bread to bake. If you don’t, you end up with bread that looks and is baked on the outside, but that is mushy and only partially cooked on the inside. Eating raw bread dough is not like eating raw cookie dough. It’s not a pleasant experience. Quite simply, to get good bread, you must be patient.
The same is often true with God’s plans. He sees the bigger picture. He sees all the possibilities. He knows the best course at the best time. This means that He will often let a situation to come about or to persist that we wouldn’t intentionally desire to be in. It is easy to judge God and not even realize that we’re doing it. Or when something doesn’t go our way, such as when tragedy happens, it is very easy to intentionally judge God, to blame Him, to wonder why He would do this to us. We need to stop that line of thinking. God is good. God is holy. God is just. And God is unchangeable. All of that adds up to God doing what needs to be done for the best result for those whom He has called (as a group). Therefore, let us not judge God too quickly. Let’s be patient with Him. Otherwise our lives will be like bread we can’t be bothered to wait on: hard and half-baked.