Rome wasn’t built in a day. A watched pot never boils. We must learn to walk before we can run.
These well-known sayings hint at something – a virtue that we’d all say we aspire to have. And yet, the practical outworking of this character trait in our lives is definitely “easier said than done.”
I have two sons. One of my boys is working on developing some patience in his life. He has recently grown to love sports – particularly the Purdue Boilermakers. (Sorry, Dad. I tried my hardest to make him a Buckeye.) Any chance he gets to watch a basketball game, his face lights up. He has memorized players’ names and positions, and he loves cheering his team on to victory. Yet because of the busy schedule our family runs, there are times that we tell him that he’s got to wait to catch a recording of a game.
I tell ya – the moments we ask our son to be patient… they can be a bit trying for all of us in the Mitchener household. You see, my son wants instant gratification. He wants to experience the game as soon as possible. And the questions that ensue during these little seasons of waiting are… welll… incessant.
“Dad, when? When exactly can we turn on the game? Mom, are you going to watch with us? Can my friends come over? Are you finished with your work yet? It feels like it’s taking forever! Will we ever be able to start? What snacks can we have while we watch? Are you sure you can’t skip that meeting? I just don’t want to wait anymore!”
As a mother, I do my best to put myself in my son’s shoes – to understand that he is genuinely excited to share a fun experience with his friends and family. But after his third question, I’m sure that my son can often sense my own patience wearing thin. I wish that he would really hear me: we will indeed get to find out what happened in the basketball game. It’s simply a matter of waiting.
But waiting is so very hard, isn’t it?
In my own life, I’m noticing how I’ve recently been acting like my precious boy. Right now, I’m experiencing some situations that are downright painful, and I don’t know what the future holds. I’m confused and scared about the timing of things – of when and how exactly God is going to move. While I have been taking my concerns to the Lord, I think that I’ve been approaching my problems a bit like my son has been processing through his desire to watch his games.
“Father, when? When exactly are you going to answer my prayers? Are you even listening? Do you want to work in this circumstance? It feels like You’re taking forever. Are you going to come through? To be honest, Lord, I just don’t want to wait anymore!”
I believe that God is pleased when I take my burdens to Him. And yet, I also think that there are moments where He’s trying to talk to me, to comfort me, to teach me, but His gentle attempts of assurance are drowned out by my whining and impatient cries for help.
I recently started a devotional study by Dannah Gresh called Habakkuk: Remembering God’s Faithfulness when He Seems Silent. It has been an incredible reminder that I am not alone. Others have wrestled with these same feelings. With not having answers quickly.
Habakkuk was struggling. God didn’t seem to be dealing with the injustice and evil in his corner of the world. So Habakkuk opened up his book by crying out to the Lord. And God, in His patience and grace, answered His prophet:
For the revelation waits an appointed time; it speaks of the end and will not prove false. Though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come and will not delay.Habbakkuk 2:3
This wonderful verse tucked away in this tiny Old Testament book has been my lifeline these past few weeks – a precious reminder to my restless heart.
God gently reminded Habakkuk that He was, indeed, in control. He had a plan that would be brought to fruition at the perfect moment.
It was just a matter of waiting.