I’ve been finding myself really fascinated – and somewhat annoyed – by how impatient of a culture we live in nowadays. Seriously, it seems like I can’t drive anywhere any more without at least one driver cutting me off and almost causing an accident. Some of the most foul language I’ve heard has come from people waiting in line behind me, frustrated about how long something is taking. When did we, as a culture, become so impatient?
And then there are my kids. These precious children that seem to keep growing more amazing, yet more impatient, as they get older. Repeatedly asking how much longer they will have to wait when their brother or sister’s practice runs a little too long, or turning a tad crazy when there’s a long line in the restaurant drive-through line for what we ironically call “fast” food. And don’t even get me started on the impatience that can occur in our home when Netflix takes a couple minutes to load.
Recently, I found myself getting annoyed by their behavior and started asking myself where they have learned all this impatience from. Does it just come naturally, I thought? I mean, surely they don’t see me responding that way when things don’t happen for me as quickly as planned. And then, I stopped. And realized… maybe they don’t see me physically responding that way as often, but I do. Of course, I’m a little past the annoyance over a drive-through line, but I’ve got my own impatience issues over this bigger picture thing called life. And those seasons of life that I end up in for much longer than I’d like to be.
I just finished studying the book of Habakkuk and the amazing truths within its three small but powerful chapters. If you aren’t familiar with it, Habakkuk was a prophet during a pretty rough time when the nation of Israel had forgotten its special calling and had resorted to doing its own corrupt thing. Yet Habakkuk kept seeking God and asking Him “How long?” until He would bring revival to this still chosen nation of His. There seemed to be this long delay in the Lord’s answer, so Habakkuk kept praying and asking relentlessly.
And then God answered – “For the vision is yet for the appointed time; it testifies about the end and will not lie. Though it delays, wait for it, since it will certainly come and not be late.” Though it delays, wait for it. Wait for it.
God was working His plan, and though it may not have made sense to Habakkuk, it was better that He took His time doing it – because it would then be in His perfect timing. And Habakkuk was encouraged to keep waiting, because it was coming. In God’s time and in His way.
In all of the impatience that surrounds and consumes us, I believe it’s easy to forget a couple of things that the Lord wants to remind us. To begin with, we forget the importance of waiting. As we study the Scriptures, we find that many of the people the Lord used in larger than life ways – these people that we admire and strive to be like today – all went through long waiting seasons. Joseph waited in prison, perhaps wondering if he’d been forgotten. Moses and David both waited while tending sheep after experiencing a dynamic call of God on their lives. Even Jesus waited in the wilderness before beginning His earthly ministry. So why would I think of myself as any better than them, for some reason, and that I could escape my own waiting period?
Also, I believe that in our impatience, we forget the beauty of rest. In our busy hustling and proclamations of productivity over social media, we almost repel ourselves away from rest with all we can fight, instead of leaning into its treasures. Waiting periods in life can bring about the sweetest, most restful times if we press into them, instead of just trying to get out of them. It is there we find Jesus – not necessarily showing up with plans we need to follow and obey at that moment, but just Him showing up. To tenderly nurture us. To be the “I Am who I Am” God that He is and will continue to be. To show us His immutable character, and His incredible love for us. And to remind us that He is all we truly need.
When it all comes down to it, that is what I, for one, really want. I’m much more willing to go through as long of a wait as the Lord sees fit when I keep my eyes on the beauty in the waiting season instead of looking for the escape route. I want to be able to say with Habakkuk,
“Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines,
though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food,
though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls,
yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior.” -Habakkuk 3:17-18
Habakkuk learned that the secret of waiting in hard seasons was rest and surrender, and that led Him to rejoice even when things weren’t going his way. I am slowly learning the same. Will you join me today in celebrating our rest, and in praying for each other that we would have the patience to endure our waits well?
I believe He has a beautiful plan for all of our seasons… We just have to wait for it.