Tag Archives: waiting on God

Don’t Judge God Too Quickly

Bread BakingWhen 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.

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Practice Hurry Up and Wait

“Hurry up and wait” is an expression I first heard at The Citadel. It’s the idea that we are hurried up to be ready for something and then we wait. For instance, a military unit may mobilize immediately because of a potential issue, be ready to go, and then wait hours or even days before the call finally comes to either launch the mission or stand down. That’s hurry up and wait. When it comes to God, we need to practice hurry up and wait, too. The truth of it is that we already have the first part of it down. We can be quick to ask God to “hurry up” and help with whatever it is we’re asking. However, God’s timeline isn’t our timeline.

  In the six hundred and first year, in the first month, the first day of the month, the waters were dried from off the earth. And Noah removed the covering of the ark and looked, and behold, the face of the ground was dry. In the second month, on the twenty-seventh day of the month, the earth had dried out. Then God said to Noah, “Go out from the ark, you and your wife, and your sons and your sons’ wives with you.  – Genesis 8:13-16, ESV

Having been locked up on a boat for almost a year, I’m sure Noah and family wanted to get out. On the first day of the first month, Noah and his family could see the waters had receded from the earth. I’m sure they were ready to go. We’re even told that they removed the covering from the ark and that the face of the ground was dry. However, we have no indication that Noah and family did anything to leave the boat. The birds had been sent. The cover was removed. But on the boat they remained? Why? This is a case where most of us would have tried to “hurry up” and get off the boat. Noah and his family didn’t. They waited. They waited on God. When God said come out, that’s when they left the boat.

Thinking through the situation, it only makes sense, but I’m of the opinion that most of us wouldn’t have thought this through. We’d have jumped at a chance to get back on the ground. However, the rain and the amount of water must have come as quite a shock to Noah and crew. They surely realized all the rules had changed. I’m sure they also felt that they could no longer trust when the land was safe and when it wasn’t. If you’ve ever walked in a swamp or marsh area, you know what I’m talking about. You go to step on what looks to be solid ground, only to feel your foot sinking in. Before you know it, you could be in up to your hip. I’m not even talking about quicksand. Quicksand is even worse. So while the face of the ground was dry, there was no way for Noah and family to know that things were okay. They had just gone through the destruction of the world. It was time to wait on God. They had done it God’s way since starting on the construction of the ark. They would see it through until he said to disembark. We can learn a lot from their example.

We must adopt the same attitude. The steps we want to take in life may seem safe to us. However, if God hasn’t given us the go ahead, we need to practice waiting. We need to be ready for God to move, and that’s the real “hurry up” part, not the “Come on, God, let’s get this moving,” and we can’t neglect the “and wait.” Should we do so, we could be taking a step on ground that’s not solid, that swallows our foot up and gets us stuck. We must wait on God. Don’t be in such a big hurry that you can’t wait on God. God is the seasoned pro. He’s the ultimate guide. He knows when it’s safe and when it’s not. Go ahead of Him and you’re taking a foolish risk. Follow behind Him and things will be for the best. Always.

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Are We Waiting on God?

I don’t like waiting. Few of us do. But some things are worth waiting on. For instance, when we make the chicken for tacos and burritos, we toss it in the crock pot with salsa. Over a few hours it cooks slowly and tenderly. When it’s done, shredding the chicken is a cinch. And it’s so good. That’s just something you can’t rush. And if you’re in the house as it cooks, you must endure a couple of hours as that wonderful aroma of the chicken cooking in the salsa filling the air. It may be hard to wait, but it’s a necessity. God is the same way. God is the one in control, not us. And sometimes He wants us to wait. We tend to get impatient and fidgety and we want Him to do something RIGHT NOW. Sometimes we tire of waiting and we decide to do it ourselves. This is never a good thing.

Now when the people saw that Moses delayed to come down from the mountain, the people assembled about Aaron and said to him, “Come,make us a god who will go before us; as for this Moses, the man who brought us up from the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him.” Aaron said to them, “Tear off the gold rings which are in the ears of your wives, your sons, and your daughters and bring them to me.” Then all the people tore off the gold rings which were in their ears and brought them to Aaron. He took this from their hand, and fashioned it with a graving tool and made it into a molten calf and they said, “This is your god, O Israel, who brought you up from the land of Egypt.” Now when Aaron saw this, he built an altar before it; and Aaron made a proclamation and said, “Tomorrow shall be a feat to the Lord.” So the next day they rose early and offered burnt offerings, and brought peace offerings, and the people sat down to eat and to drink, and rose up to play. – Exodus 32:1-6, NASB

Moses was up on the mountain because that’s where God wanted him. The people hadn’t seen him in their expected time frame and thus they went to Aaron and demanded a god made of gold. Aaron, who should have known better, went along with the plan. Actually, all the Israelites knew better. And to make matters worse, once they had crafted this idol, they attributed to it their salvation. They gave it credit for the work of God. And then they sacrificed to it. Now we may be thinking, “I’ve not done anything like this.” But the truth of the matter is, we all have.

If we’ve ever relied on our abilities and/or resources to try and make a situation better (or get out of a bad situation) when we were supposed to wait on God, we’ve done the same thing. While our idol isn’t one made of gold, it is the abilities and resources we put into play to try and fix things. And typically what we’ll say to ourselves as we do it is, “Well, I know I can do it because I’ve come through before.” What we often forget is that we have come through in the past because of God’s help and direction, not just our own abilities and resources. In other words, we give credit not to God, but to the things we are relying on as we bypass God. This puts us in a bad spot.

Ultimately, Moses and the Levites had to shed the blood of their brother Israelites to gain control of the situation. Some 3000 men fell that day (Exodus 32:28) in order to restore order. While it’s not likely our failure to wait on God will result in the death of 3000 people each time, there is always some price to pay. Either we will get ourselves into a worse situation, or we cause harm to others, or we’ll miss something better if God took it on because we waited on Him. When we become impatient and fail to wait on Him when He asks us to wait, we will miss out on something. We can’t do it as well as God. We also don’t know if what we’re doing sets us up in better shape for the future or not. Only God knows that. We know it is best to wait on God, but still that impatience causes us to want to act. We must resist those impulses. We must wait on God. It’s the best way.

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