Wait for the LORD; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the LORD!
—Psalms 27:14 ESV
The LORD is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him. It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the LORD.
—Lamentations 3:25-26 ESV
Then they believed his words; they sang his praise. But they soon forgot his works; they did not wait for his counsel.
—Psalms 106:12-13 ESV
I’d like to believe that the American Church is filled coast to coast with people who wait patiently on the Lord. I’d like to believe that.
I know better, though. The part of American Church that causes problems is the American part. In America, we don’t want to wait for anyone or anything. To wait is to waste time when something can be done. Doing is all that matters. Or as it is in many cases, talking about doing, even if the doing never happens.
Here’s a line you never hear from the pulpit in America: “We’re not moving ahead on this until God gives us the OK. Until then, we wait.”
For the Christian, waiting doesn’t mean doing nothing. Prayer and faith together make a difference. In fact, prayer and faith might just be what God is waiting to experience from us before the awaited result comes. Two little practices, yet how we forget to do them.
Whatever it is that we’re forgetting, our porous memory hurts our waiting.
The Psalm 106 passage quoted above shows that forgetfulness and impatience go together. We know what the Bible says, and we sing about God’s care for us, but we forget what He has done nonetheless, and therefore we charge forward, as if THIS time is the time in which He will not come through in his perfect timing. So, we grease the rails and proceed full steam ahead anyway.
Regular readers will recognize this familiar lament: The good is the enemy of the best. In the American Church, that should be engraved on every church doorway lintel.
Impatience yields not only bad results but good. The problem is that we get satisfied with good results and never give God the opportunity to deliver mind-blowing results. All because we could not wait on Him. All because we had to make something happen.
None of that is of faith, though. And sometimes, the result is devastating.
I wonder how much we miss as a Church in the United States due to impatience. I wonder how many once-vibrant churches no longer meet because they didn’t wait on God.
Or perhaps they did and were so enamored of one type of answer that they missed God’s answer when it finally came. Either way, the best didn’t happen for them. So they grumble and blame God for not coming through on their timing. Except He did; they just weren’t attuned to Him.
Impatience and an inability to hear God when He does speak in His timing are epidemic in today’s noisy, “make something happen” churches. Will it take an ethereal hand writing on the wall to get us to pay attention and listen?
I’d say that’s something worth waiting for, except we all know how it turned out.