We're about to conclude the book of Habakkuk this Sunday. One of its central themes is waiting – waiting for God to answer and waiting for God to take action.
In our fast-paced 21st-century lives, waiting is not often seen as a virtue. We grow frustrated when traffic moves slowly, annoyed when someone takes too long to respond to a text or email, or even angry when a restaurant delays bringing our food.
This quick-paced lifestyle often extends into our spiritual lives. We expect God to respond to our prayers immediately and resent it when His answer is simply to wait, especially when the matter is of great importance – waiting for the love of your life, the right job, justice to be served, or healing for a loved one.
I can share plenty of examples illustrating the perils of not patiently waiting for the Lord to take action. I have a friend who rushed into marriage with someone he barely knew, and it ended in catastrophe. Another friend quit a job he disliked without another lined up, then turned to the church to pay his bills.
Far too often, when faced with a problem, I immediately want to fix it. However, my ability to do so in most situations is quite limited. More often than not, I'll make the situation worse if I don't turn to the Lord in prayer, seek help from others, and wait for God to address my needs.
It's challenging because sometimes God instructs us to wait for an extended period. In even more difficult situations, such as terminal illness, He asks us to wait for the life to come when Jesus will renew all things.
I could provide examples of good things eventually coming to those who waited – successful marriages, fulfilling jobs – but in reality, we don't always fully comprehend why God tells us to wait. We can't see the hidden dangers He's protecting us from, and our imaginations are too limited to grasp the goodness He has in store for us.
So, we face the difficult task of choosing to trust God. We choose to believe that He is good and has a wonderful plan for Jesus' followers. We choose to believe the words given to the prophet, which remain true today:
Though it delays, wait for it,
since it will certainly come and not be late (Habakkuk 2:3b).