I don’t like to wait for anything. Patience and I are half-hearted acquaintances rather than close friends. But life requires waiting–waiting in line, waiting for my children to get ready, waiting for the computer to wake up, etc. Not only that, but the Christian life includes waiting–waiting for answered prayer, for God’s provision, for the Spirit’s direction, and ultimately for Christ’s return.
I know that waiting is good for me and that I can learn much while in the valley. Too often though, when I wait for God to move, answer a prayer, or provide direction, I attempt to push things along. I try to help God make a decision or ensure his will comes to fruition (as though I could). When I face a junction in my life, I tap my wrist, check my watch and then turn down a road without learning if it’s even the path God wants me to take.
Tired of Waiting
The Israelites also struggled with impatience. In Exodus 32, they waited for Moses to return from Mount Sinai. While they remained in the valley, he was receiving the Law, inscribed by the very hand of God. They grew restless and agitated. If they had worn watches, I’m sure they would have checked them over and over as the days went by. Tired of waiting, the Israelites made a golden calf and began to worship it.
“When the people saw that Moses was so long in coming down from the mountain, they gathered around Aaron and said, “Come, make us gods who will go before us. As for this fellow Moses who brought us up out of Egypt, we don’t know what has happened to him” (Ex. 32:1).
Whenever I read this passage, I always think, “Didn’t they know better?” Yes. They did know better. They knew the power of God. They knew he would lead them where they needed to go. After all, they had seen plague after plague rain down on the Egyptians. God folded back the sea and made a temporary road for them to cross safely to the other side. Yet how quickly they forgot.
Their story reflects my own heart. I know I need to trust God for my future. I know God has a good plan for me. I know I need to wait for his answer before I move forward. And I know from experience that God is faithful to provide and answer my prayers.
After all, haven’t I seen God part the waters in my own life? Hasn’t he rescued me from slavery to sin? Haven’t I witnessed his grace in each and every breath I take? And hasn’t God been faithful over and over in my life, proving he will remain faithful in the future?
I am just as forgetful as the Israelites.
Remembering in the Waiting
When Moses returned from Mt. Sinai and found God’s people worshiping an idol of their own making, he was so angry he broke the tablets of the Law in pieces. God was also angry and threatened to wipe them out from existence. When I am waiting in the valley, I don’t want to be found making idols because I’m too impatient to wait for God’s perfect timing in my life. I don’t want to fill my heart with temporary pleasures because God hasn’t met my personal timetable. I don’t want to be so impatient with God that I move on and follow my own plans.
Remembering is crucial to remaining faithful in the waiting. Focusing my mind and heart on all God has done in the past gives me confidence in what He will do in the future. Over and over in the Old Testament, the Israelites were told to remember their story, to remember what God did to deliver them. It’s when I remember my own testimonies of God’s steadfast love that I can serve him in whatever valley I am in.
But in those times that I don’t remember, I have my own Moses to intervene for me. When God wanted to destroy the Israelites for their sin, Moses pleaded for their case. Jesus is my Moses and he always intercedes for me. “Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them” (Heb. 7:25). The perfect life he lived for me is mine. Although I am unfaithful to God, Jesus is faithful in my place. And this is the story I don’t ever want to forget.
When we find ourselves waiting in the valley, may we remember all that God has done. May we recall his unfailing love and forever grace. And may we remember that we have a Savior who came to rescue us from all our failures in the waiting.
ABOUT THE WRITER
Christina Fox is a homeschooling mom, licensed mental health counselor, writer, and coffee drinker, not necessarily in that order. She lives in sunny South Florida with her husband of sixteen years and their two sons. Christina blogs at To Show Them Jesus.