Do you like to wait?
I didn’t think so. It’s true that patience is a fruit of the Spirit, but nobody actually likes to wait. Yet the fact of the matter is, everyday we’re forced to wait – sometimes for things we need and sometimes for things we just want.
Statistics show that the average person spends close to an hour everyday waiting for something – elevators, traffic lights, your turn at the intersection, your turn to pay at the grocery store, a cup of coffee, a table or your food at a restaurant, the computer to load, and even the microwave…which is supposed to keep us from waiting for the oven!
When you add up all that waiting over a lifespan of 70 years, the average person will spend more than 3 years of their lives WAITING for something to happen.
The real problem isn’t the waiting – it’s what happens in our hearts while we wait.
For too many of us, waiting creates a downward spiral of impatience, frustration, selfishness and anger in our hearts. While waiting in line, we find flaws with the people in front of us.
And if this is how we respond to other people, what happens in our hearts when God makes us wait?
God wants you to live with great expectations – with a constant, enduring sense that God is for you, that He loves you deeply and will at any moment move in power on your behalf.
But sometimes God delays His blessings to examine what’s in your heart. He waits…on purpose. It’s not that He doesn’t want to bless you, but He’s after a purpose greater than your immediate blessing. God doesn’t want to just fix your problems, He wants to transform you in the process.
John 5 tells the story of a crippled man who had been waiting to be healed for 38 years. That’s a long time to wait. This man spent his whole life waiting for a miracle. He slept next to a pool where miracles regularly happened and waited for his moment of healing, but because he couldn’t move, someone else always pushed past him to get in the water first.
When you’ve been waiting for so long and everybody keeps pushing past you, it’s easy to lower your expectations and give up hope. When your blessing has been delayed for so long and your life has been defined by a particular problem, it can become your identity. Your fear of change can outgrow your hope to get well.
In that moment you have a choice – you can embrace your problem as who you are, or you can decide that you’ll do whatever it takes to be made new.
Jesus saw this man and understood what was happening in his heart, so He asked him, “Do you wish to get well?”(v.6) The man responded immediately, and in that moment, 38 long years of waiting came to an end. All those long years of waiting hadn’t moved his heart past the point of hope. He still had great expectations, and because of that, he was healed.
Waiting for the blessings of God in our life can fill your heart with either great expectations or frustration and bitterness. Waiting can be a gift or a curse. The choice is up to you – you can see the light at the end of the tunnel as the promise of hope . . . or as the sure sign of an oncoming train.
It’s up to you how you respond to the frustration of waiting. Based on God’s promises in His Word, I want to encourage you to wait well.