Why did Jesus ask the disciples to wait a few days before they would have the comfort of the Holy Spirit after he had returned to His Father? I pondered this question and came to the conclusion that there must be something in the waiting which was important. Why would Jesus not want the disciples to have instant comfort? As I studied the Scriptures regarding the issue of waiting, I found myself unfolding a vital principle for my life and walk with the Lord.
In actual fact, our whole life is about waiting. In the mundane sense, we are waiting for a kettle to boil, for the alarm to go off, for a bus to arrive or the postman to come! Our vocabulary is interspersed with, ‘wait for me,’ ‘wait a minute,’ and ‘I can’t wait!’ Time and patience go alongside waiting. In a more serious way we may be waiting for a baby to arrive, a significant event to take place – a birthday, a wedding or we may be waiting for something to change in our lives.
A small child has to learn to wait. One of the most important lessons in life is the fact that we can’t have everything instantly and there is the need to wait. Whilst a young child may become frustrated and have temper tantrums in the waiting, the parent who holds the wider picture knows that the waiting is necessary. The meal is being cooked, the outing is being planned and a greater good than that which is instant is being worked out. Certain things have to be done where waiting is necessary and these things take time. There is the need for patience!
Our Labrador dog, Harris, (whom we lost at the age of nine, last March) was a very enthusiastic puppy. When the time came for him to take his Bronze puppy-training award, we wondered how he would go on. In fact he passed each part of his test with flying colours - until it came to the time when he had to wait at one end of the room in a sitting position for one whole minute while the trainer held his treat at the other end of the room.
Harris had his eye fixed firmly on the treat and we commanded him to ‘wait.’ The seconds ticked by – Fifty-five, fifty-six, fifty-seven and then… oh dear, Harris just couldn’t wait any longer, and right at the last, he flew towards his treat. He missed sitting for that vital full sixty seconds count! Of course, he had his treat but he missed his Bronze reward. The trainer couldn’t give him his pass!
On considering this issue of waiting, I began to understand that there is something to be gained in the waiting. Something of great value and effect is being worked out. Indeed waiting and patience hold a reward. Harris did gain his treat, and therefore his instant gratification, but he did miss out on his reward.
We can lose patience, jump too quickly, maybe make a hasty decision and miss out on something the Lord is doing in the crucible of our frustration in waiting. We could be losing heart, believing God is not hearing or answering, nor is He concerned with our plight. Yet waiting is working out its own reward and our perseverance is training our character and allowing something to take effect, which is essential for our growth and development.
There’s something to be gained by waiting. There’s something worth waiting for. Waiting patiently brings a reward. God is at work in the waiting!
Prayer: Heavenly Father, please help me to understand the principle of waiting. Whether I’m waiting for a situation to change, someone I know to change, or for myself to change, I want to let this waiting time have its full effect in my life, and not run ahead of You. I don’t want to miss out on Your best for me by running ahead of You and not waiting. Teach me patience, perseverance and endurance so I may gain the reward which comes from waiting for You, in Jesus’ name, Amen.
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