“Are we waiting on God to do what God is waiting for us to do?”
Good morning! We all have things in our lives that we long for; things that we repeatedly request from God with earnestness only to be told, “Wait”. This is where God requires us to demonstrate patience.
Ahhh…patience-the eight letter word that carries with it so much frustration!
I want to share with you two quotes from two notable individuals. Both of these quotes are profound, but present two entirely opposite viewpoints on a particular virtue: patience.
“Our patience will achieve more than our own force (efforts).” —Edmund Burke
“Patience has its limits. Take it too far, and it is cowardice.” —George Jackson
To understand the meanings behind these quotes, let’s apply them to a common American pastime, fishing. In fact, observing the tendencies of my two older sons demonstrates this well. Though senior to his brother, my oldest boy, Chase (8), seemingly does not have nearly as much patience as Channing (6). About a month ago, I took my three boys to a trout farm in Illinois to do some fishing. It is amazing how much you can learn about somebody’s personality by going fishing with them! And on this day, I made some observations about my boys that help me understand a profound Biblical truth.
It was a gorgeous Saturday afternoon when we rented a small rowboat and hit the lake with enthusiasm. Excitement was high as the boys had notions of reeling in “Jaws-like” fish monstrosities and taking them home to proudly present them to their mother. But after a little more than an hour into the expedition, tensions were beginning to mount as we had yet to catch one measly fish!
Edmund Burke Approach
Throughout the course of this hour, Channing consistently stuck with the same technique and the same bait, a good ole worm! I observed as he kept his eye on his bobber with intensity, rarely pausing to talk to us or do anything that would otherwise distract him. I remember feeling proud of my boy for his steadfastness.
George Jackson Approach
On the other hand, Chase fished hard in a similar manner for about the first 15 minutes. But after these fifteen minutes, he quickly became agitated and switched from using worms to a spinner bait lure. From there he switched to a plastic minnow, and then to a tail chaser… and so on he went. He must have used 10 different types of bait in that first hour; using none of them any more than 5 minutes.
Now, it could be said that Channing – who did not change tactics-took a stance in accordance with Edmund Burke’s ideology above. And likewise Chase aligned himself with the position of George Jackson.
As it turned out, both boys ended up catching their first fish within five minutes of each other. So in this case, it could not be proven which method was more effective. However, it was very thought provoking for me to observe how each boy approached his goal of catching that first fish. It should be noted, however, that my youngest son, Chance (6), spent most of his day trying to eat worms and untangle himself from his fishing line. So needless to say, the verdict is still out on which philosophy he will take up!
Is God Waiting On You?
The point to all of this is that we cannot always hold to simply complacency while waiting for God to do that which we very well could do ourselves. Taking this to an even deeper level, it is imperative that we as Christians recognize that God will sometimes wait for us to do something before He will begin to supernaturally work in our situation.
A perfect example of this is me meeting my wife, Lori. I remember spending countless hours in my mid-twenties wishing and pleading for God to bring a special woman into my life. I was counseled, and believed, that I simply had to wait-display patience-for God to do this for me. While this was true to an extent, I now look back on those days and realize this was only part of the solution. You see, God required something of me first before He would bless me with a wife. What was this requirement you ask? He wanted me to remove my destructive tendencies!
Forsake to Gain
Today I understand that God in His goodness and sovereignty would have never given me a wonderful woman like Lori until I first forsook my besetting sins. Once I got right, it took God all but six months to bless me with my future wife! Isn’t He just amazing? So, though I could have displayed all the patience in the world, God was not going to answer my request until I took His required action first!
Ask God to Search & Reveal what You Should Do
David wrote in Psalm 139:23, “Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts:” My friend, what is it in your life that is negating your efforts at patience? Like David, we must ask God to search our hearts and reveal to us the sins that are keeping us from maximum intimacy with the Lord. Granted, this is often painful and certainly not comfortable for us to do, but if you are longing for something in your life to occur and your patience is waning thin, God very likely is prodding you to make the first move.
Friend, you can continue to endlessly wait, or think it only to be fate, but the determining trait may actually be innate. It is for this reason we must ask ourselves the following question:
Have you considered sin removal to gain God’s approval?