The glass window of the receptionist slides back in order to greet you; you then hear in a polite voice, “We will be with you shortly, please have a seat in the waiting room.”  A voice whispers in my mind, “You’re going to be here a while, so chill out.”  But another voice in my head responds, “I have better things to do than sit here for what will probably be two hours.”  Have you ever had that conversation with yourself, probably more times than you would like to recall.  Who of us does actually like to wait?

            If I were to ask you, the reader, to define the word “wait,” how would you do so?  If you asked a young child to wait a moment until you came back and they asked you what does that mean?  How would you respond?  How would you define “wait” to a child?  We all know what it means but it is one of those words that is difficult to define.  It would probably be easier to describe than to define it.  It is also one of those words that for the most part we know entails doing something we would rather not do, and that is: wait.  Most of us would readily admit we don’t like waiting.

            As Americans we are not taught to be patient much less wait.  We all know about the fast food and rush of our work schedules.  We are on the clock basically most of the day, lots of errands, tasks, appointments, etc.  We train ourselves to try and not only manage our time wisely but above all to avoid wasting any precious time.  I know; I have lived my whole life this way.  In large measure I take pride in how well I perceive I have managed my time.  Up early, hit the gym, back home to shower, have short devotional time with the Lord, eat a good breakfast, and off to work with time to drive safely.  Honor my work, home in time to enjoy dinner with wife, a little quiet time to unwind, back to wife for some meaningful sharing time, and about one or two hours of reading or TV.  I’m basically a disciplined individual.  I have even convinced myself that I have been a good steward of my time that the Lord has given me.  However, whenever my routine is disrupted I often find myself becoming impatient. 

I think Americans are considerate while waiting in lines.  We have a strong sense of being fair and don’t usually blatantly cut the other guy out.  On the other hand, I don’t believe our culture has taught us, including myself, to wait.  Of more importance I am now wondering if I know how to wait on the Lord.  By the way, what does it mean to wait on the Lord?



            “Those who wait on the Lord will renew their strength,

           They shall mount up with wings like eagles.”       Isaiah 40:31     

            A story in the bible that has always concerned me was the time when King Saul (the first King of Israel) was with his troops waiting to go into battle (I Samuel chapter 13).  He had been told to wait for the prophet and high priest Samuel to come and offer a sacrifice prior to the battle.  Saul waited seven days and Samuel still had not come.  Some of his men began to leave for home.  Saul became anxious and decided to take matters into his own hands. He decided to build an altar and offer the sacrifice himself.  That duty had been assigned by God directly to and only to Samuel, the high priest.  Samuel arrived shortly thereafter and was livid.

     He was not only angry at Saul’s impatience, but also sad for King Saul.  He told Saul that God has decided to remove the Kingdom from him and give it to someone else.  That would be King David, a man whose heart was right with God. 

            I find myself relating to King Saul more than I would like to admit.  When dealing with health problems, financial debt, issues at work, and so forth I want answers; the sooner, the better.  I find it difficult to wait and listen for discernment from the Lord.  I can look back on my life and see many times I wish I would have listened in the stillness of the morning for God to speak to me.  I’m not implying it is easy to do, or that wisdom will come to me on a routine basis.  But I do believe if I can discipline myself to try and take the time to listen more for God that in time I will be able to discern His speaking to me.  That may come from a scripture I read that day, a devotional book, my wife’s prayers over me, or a friend’s encouraging remarks.  With God’s grace I hope to become more like David than Saul.  It starts with being obedient in trying to wait and listen for the Lord’s guidance.   The times I have discerned God’s guidance have been invaluable experiences.  Something to be treasured.

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