No one looks forward to waiting. We pay large amounts of money and go to great lengths to avoid it. We judge our satisfaction of products, places, and even people by how long they make us wait. Patience may be virtue, but only in a bygone era.
Recently, I realized that waiting is a major theme in the Bible. Many of the major characters in the Bible had to wait for days years, and even decades for their situations to be resolved and God’s promises to be fulfilled.
Noah waited for over a year on a boat filled with wild animals for the flood waters to recede (Genesis 7:6, 8:13-14).
Abraham and Sarah waited for 25 years for the birth of their special son, Isaac (Genesis 12:4, 21:5).
Joseph waited for two full years for the chief cupbearer to remember him and get him out of jail (Genesis 41:1).
Moses watched his father-in-law’s sheep on the back side of the desert for 40 years waiting for God’s plan to unfold (Exodus 2:23, Acts 7:30).
Job waited for seven days and seven nights for a comforting word from his so called “friends” and even longer for a comforting word from God (Job 2:12, 38:1).
David waited about 15 years to ascend to the throne of Israel (1 Samuel 16:1-13; 2 Samuel 5:1-5). Mary and Martha watched their brother, Lazarus, die and then waited four agonizing days for Jesus to come to them (John 11:1-46).
The Apostles waited for three dark days before Jesus appeared to the them and commissioned them as witnesses (John 20:19-23).
The Apostle Paul waited for three years in the desert before starting his ministry to the Gentiles (Galatians 1:17-18).
In addition, the Prophets waited for God’s judgment to fall (Jonah 4:5). The Wisdom literature contains repeated references to patience and waiting (Psalms 27:14, Proverbs 15: 18, Ecclesiastics 7:8). Patience is even listed as one of the nine fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22).
So what lessons can we learn from this survey of waiting in the Bible?
1. Waiting is normal.
Following God does not mean you will have a wait-free life. In fact, it guarantees that you will have to wait as He works out His perfect plan for you.
2. Waiting is beneficial.
Waiting builds character as you learn to depend on God and His promises. Waiting brings perspective to your life as you view things from the lens of eternity.
3. Waiting is difficult
There are no short-cuts to patience. Waiting is hard work, even if it feels like no work is getting done.
Can you name another lesson we can learn from tracing the theme of waiting through the Bible?