I hate waiting for stuff.
Always have done.
To say that I am hard-wired to be impatient and impulsive would be a massive understatement! Clothes, food, bikes, cars, relationships…I have made some stupid, dangerous and destructive decisions throughout my life because of my unwillingness to wait, to think and to trust God.
I don’t think I’m alone in this either – I think it’s fair to say that it’s the curse of my generation as a whole. We’re very much the ‘Now Generation’ – fast food, quick cash, speed dating, buy now pay later, crash diets and worst of all – instant coffee!! Come on when was the last time you were chuffed that your meal in the restaurant took an hour to arrive, or you rejoiced that the traffic lights you stuck at were on permanent strike? We can’t even cope when lose our mobile signal or our internet connection.
We’re just too busy and too impatient to wait!
I struggle with this in pretty much every area of my life. I’m not the man I want to be – I want to be a better disciple, husband, father, pastor and friend. But the process is taking longer than I’d like! A LOT longer!! Similarly, I have such a huge vision and hunger for the church, the community and even the nation that God has called me to serve. But things don’t always happen as quickly or as smoothly as I’d like. And don’t even get me started on the pipe-dream of waging war against my middle-aged spread!!
I just don’t like waiting for things to happen!
Which is why preaching through Joseph recently has been incredibly challenging for me personally! The story so far has gone something like this:
God gave Joseph a glimpse of his destiny when he was just 17 years old, and Joseph, suffering from the same impulsive & impatient disorder (IID) that I suffer from, thought it was going to happen instantly and pretty much told his brothers “get on yer knees now!” Obviously they didn’t, but rather they gave him the kicking of his life, considered murdering him but opted to i-bay him instead! (The ‘i’ is for Ishmaelite by the way!!)
What followed for Joseph was 13 years of slavery, sexual temptation and ultimately jail!
That’s an incredibly long time to wait! And even when he got set loose from jail there was still another 9 years until he actually came face to face with his brothers and saw his dreams become reality!
Like 22 years ago I was 11! I can’t even remember what was going on in my life when I was 11, though it probably involved the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles!!
So why did God make Joseph wait for 22 years?
Well, for what it’s worth, God has used the story of Joseph to teach me that God is far more concerned about changing our character than he is about changing our circumstances! What Joseph went through was rough, but it also served to expose serious flaws in his character that, if they had not been dealt with would have destroyed what God had in store for Joseph, as well as dishonouring the God he claimed to trust! The beautiful truth is that when Joseph emerged from jail all those years later he was the real deal! Sin – purged! Rough edges – polished away! Integrity – intact! Ready to use – now!!
I love that! I love that God’s not impatient like we are. Time is not God’s enemy. Rather it’s a tool that He can and He will use for His glory and our joy! His timing is perfect. Just ask Joseph!! He never lost sight of the vision that God had given him. He just had to wait for it! Simple as that!!
Interestingly one of the Hebrew words for ‘wait’ (qavah) can also be translated as ‘hope’!
As Christians – we should wait differently to those who don’t have Jesus.
Rather than getting disillusioned, distracted or destructive when things aren’t happening as quickly as we’d like, we should rather focus on the promises of our loving God and be faith-filled, hope-full and courageous! Secure in the knowledge that He hasn’t forgotten, abandoned or lost hope in us, but is rather refining us so that when the time comes – we’ve got what it takes to do the business in a way that gives Him maximum glory!!
So perhaps, next time you’re getting vexed because things aren’t happening when or how you’d like – use it as a reason to hope! To trust faithfully and unswervingly in the wisdom and the good purposes of a sovereign God who knows what’s best for you, and is 100% committed to making you the man/woman that He’s called you to be.
Why not join me on the painful, passionate journey of impatiently learning the art of patience!
“For still the vision awaits its appointed time; it hastens to the end—it will not lie. If it seems slow, wait for it; it will surely come; it will not delay.” (Habakkuk 2v3)
If you’d like to follow the Hill City teaching series on Joseph, you can do so here.