Monday, August 2, 2010

Waiting...

Photo by Flickr user pfv under creative
commons license. 
Abraham had to wait to become the father of a great nation. Jacob had to wait seven years to take his bride. Joseph had to wait to see a dream realized. Israel waited 400 years to be freed.

Something struck me a few days ago as I was reading: Israel had to wait even in the wilderness. We all know the story of how God led the people of Israel through the wilderness with a pillar of cloud and fire, but read Numbers 9:22 and think about it for a second.

"Whether it was for two days, or a month, or a year, that the cloud prolonged its stay over the tabernacle, the Israelites remained camped without traveling; but when it was taken up, they traveled on."

I always kind of figured God would lead them for a few-hours around the wilderness 5-days a week. Take a sabbath, maybe an extra day here and there. But when the cloud stopped, the Israelites had no idea if this was one of the two-day stops or if this was going to be for an entire year! If it's just for a couple of days, I might not really unpack. If it's going to be a year or more, I might plant a garden.

With lost jobs and a weak economy, many people are in this waiting state. "How long is this stop going to last, God?" If I'm getting a job next week, that's fine, I'll just chill for a while. If it's going to be a year, or two, or three... I'll plan my life a little differently.

But God didn't tell Israel how long the wait would be. He didn't tell Joseph how long the wait would be. Jacob thought he would work 7 years and it turned out to be double that. Abraham couldn't wait any longer, so he tried to move things along before God started moving.

Waiting is probably the hardest part of faith. Maybe that's why God has us doing it so often.

3 comments:

Rebecca Vincent said...

So true, Gabe. I can so relate! I'm still wondering if I'll publish a novel...yet I seem to be doing everything related to writing, except for the writing! It's all God's timing. I know we learn and grow through whatever circumstances we're placed in. The trick is to be patient, be faithful, and keep our eyes turned to Jesus. He'll get us through. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this.

Gabe Smith said...

There are a few things on my "Stuff I'd like to do" list, but I never seem to get around to them. Maybe the solution is to set small goals that will help you reach your bigger goal. Sometimes, however, the Lord says, "No... you're just supposed to wait right here for a while."

Knowing when it's complacency and when it's the Lord telling you to wait is the real art.

Nate said...

It's hard for us Americans to wait. It's just not in our cultural DNA. Neither is rest, Sabbath, reflection, or any number of passive activities. I discovered all of those things on my vacation earlier this month, and it always reminds me how crucial they are.

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