Waiting is hard. Sometimes, waiting feels like the hardest thing in the world—especially if what you’re waiting for is something you’re really looking forward to. I have been waiting for something for a long time, and recently I’ve made a much more intentional effort in praying for it. I know the Lord hears me. I know that this prayer will be answered. The Lord’s response may be yes, or it may be no, but I’m confident that I will have my answer. In this confidence, why is waiting still so hard? Perhaps it’s the not knowing, or perhaps it’s because of immaturity, but I can’t help but think that, above all else, perhaps it’s just that we are impatient.
Tell any child, “Wait five minutes,” and what happens? Those five minutes suddenly become the length of eternity itself! That, however, is nothing compared to promising a child a surprise. There have been times when I’ve told my nieces and nephews that we were going to do something fun, and every few minutes, until the second the surprise is revealed, they ask, pester, and beg for any hint of what my plan is. Does it matter that I know they’ll enjoy it? Does it matter that I’ve never disappointed them before? Does it matter that any surprise they receive will be good for them? No, not by one iota.
I’ve seen this in children. I’ve seen this in adults. I’ve seen this in myself. When we want something, especially something we’re excited for, it becomes very difficult to wait for it. In this day and age, patience isn’t a virtue that is reinforced very frequently. Want that obscure online purchase now? Upgrade to same day shipping. Like a product that hasn’t been released? Preorder it. Want to learn a new language or skill? Try out this app to learn it in just a few weeks. I don’t think this is a problem unique to our generation, or to America; this is a human problem. We want what we want when we want it.
There is a verse in Revelation that always catches my eye when I see it. After the fifth seal is broken, John sees all the people that have been martyred for Christ, and they ask God “with a loud voice, saying, ‘How long, O Lord, holy and true, until You judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?’ Then a white robe was given to each of them; and it was said to them that they should rest a little while longer” (Revelation 6:10-11). It’s almost funny. Even in heaven, we’re still asking the Lord, “Yeah, but when?”
The Lord works in His own time, and though I’m anxious for an answer to my prayer, I still must wait with patience. Hebrews 6:12 says, “Do not become sluggish, but imitate those who through faith and patience inherit the promises."