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Learning To Wait - Rev. Funke Ewuosho
Waiting is one discipline and virtue that is almost becoming extinct. We are in the “microwave” age. Everything around us is so fast-paced that you wonder if there is actually any need to wait. Impatience is so ingrained in the human nature and psyche, that it is almost incurable. We ask God for patience, but we want it now! Yet the Bible admonishes us to let patience run its full course, so we would become mature and complete, lacking NOTHING. (Jas. 1:4)
The Bible clearly tells us that there is a time to EVERYTHING and that God has made everything beautiful in IT"S time. (Eccles. 3:1, 11). It is therefore time to learn again, the discipline and virtue of waiting.
We must embrace waiting as a discipline or else, we would never learn it. According to the OXFORD POPULAR ENGLISH DICTIONARY, Discipline means, ‘Training or a way of life aimed at self-control and obedience; order maintained or observed among people under control;" etc. Have you ever heard people or even yourself say: “I can"t wait to…”? And, like someone said, these days even “Doctors are not patient with their patients anymore”. Kids can"t wait to grow up anymore. Lovers can"t wait to know themselves well enough before they get married. People can"t wait to know the will of the Lord before they embark on it. The Bible says “The LORD is good to those who wait for Him, to the soul who seeks Him. It is good that one should hope and wait patiently for the salvation of The LORD.” (Lam. 3:5-6).
WHY DO WE NEED TO LEARN TO WAIT?
Have you ever heard the saying; “TIME WILL TELL.”? Yes, time tells an awful lot of things. Time is a revealer. Time reveals the truth; time reveals the true quality of a thing; time reveals the true motive for something; time reveals the true nature of a person. The Apostle Paul said, in defending his stewardship; “Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord comes, who will both bring to light the hidden things of darkness and reveal the counsels of the hearts. Then each one"s praise will come from God.” (1. Cor. 4:5).
Proverbs 20:6 says: “Most men will proclaim each his own goodness, but who can find a faithful man?”
Truth sets free, when it is known. Lies keep people, even those who tell it, in bondage! Time reveals the truth. You can"t lie about something for too long, and people can only lie to you for so long – except you wish to stay in deception yourself. Like somebody said: “You can fool some of the people some of the time, but you can"t fool all of the people all of the time.”
Time reveals the genuineness of what you have; for example Gold vs. Costume Jewellery. Time reveals our true nature and level of maturity. For instance, Peter boasted that even if all the other disciples stumbled, he wouldn"t. Jesus said to him, “Assuredly, I say to you that this night, before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times.” (Matt. 26:34). Of course, Peter boasted the more, but as sure as Jesus said it, Peter denied Jesus three times that same night before the rooster crowed!
Time is also a TESTER, and therefore could be a refiner and a purifier. Time is a tester of leadings and prophecies. Time is a tester of relationships. Time is a tester of commitment. Time is a tester of love.
In Thessalonians 5:20-21: “Do not despise prophecies. 21 Test all things; hold fast what is good.” How do you judge or test prophecies and leadings? Time of course! The Angel Gabriel said to Zachariah: “But behold, you will be mute and not able to speak until the day these things take place, because you did not believe my words which will be fulfilled in their own time.” (Luke 1:20).
In Genesis 17:21, God said to Abraham: “But My covenant I will establish with Isaac, whom Sarah shall bear to you at this set time next year.” And in Genesis 21:2, the Bible says Sarah conceived and bore Abraham a son in his sold age, “at the set time of which God had spoken to him.” Hence, the expression, “It is a matter of time.”
Colossians 2:15 says: “Let the peace of God rule in your hearts...” The Amplified Bible puts it this way – “And let the peace (soul harmony which comes) from Christ rule (act as umpire continually) in your hearts (deciding and settling with finality all questions that arise in your minds...”
Time is a tester of your leading and of your peace.
Time tests your maturity. For example: “Charity [love] sufereth long... is not easily provoked... beareth all things... endureth all things.” (1. Cor. 13: 4, 7 KJV).
James 1:20, 21 says: “...let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath; 20 for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God.” Time will prove how mature we truly are. Can we wait to let something out of our mind or not? Can we wait for the right time to deal with issues or not. Some of us are ‘Mr or Ms Do it Now." We need to get it done and dusted. Someone actually said, “Maturity is the ability to delay gratification.” Proverbs 25:28 says: “Whoever has no rule over his own spirit is like a city broken down, without walls.” Remember, self control or temperance is a fruit of the Spirit. (Gal. 5:23). Some of us just have to tell people exactly how and what we feel about them or about things. We lie to ourselves and call that just being honest or upfront with people. I think, most of the time, it is a function of our lack of maturity and our insecurity. I found out that when we are actually ready to admit to our own insecurity or level of maturity, we might begin to call a spade a spade. Proverbs 29:11 says: “A fool vents all his feelings, but a wise man holds them back.” (I guess, till if and when necessary).
Time is also a DEVELOPER. Things do take time to develop. Things take time to grow. Things take time to mature. Have you ever heard the saying, “Rome was not built in a day”?
Time is a developer of Faith.
Time is a developer of Character.
Time is a developer of Relationships.
Time is a developer of Trust and Confidence
Time is a developer of Skills and Talent, etc
A lot of things develop with time. The Bible says Abraham was “fully convinced” that God was also able to perform what He had promised. (Rom. 4:21). From the Genesis account, it didn"t look like Abraham started out with the kind of unwavering faith being described here in Romans. He must have developed it with time! It took about twenty five years between the time God first promised his a son to the time the son of promise, Isaac was born. He wavered in-between, when he agreed with Sarah"s idea to have a baby through Hagar. But thank God he got back on track. Between Ishmael and Isaac was another thirteen years. Romans 4:20 says he was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God.
Our knowledge and understanding also develop with time. Whatever you know and understand today, need time to be fine-tuned and fully developed. The Apostle Paul makes this very clear in 1 Corinthians 13: 9-11; “For we know in part and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away. When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things.” Does that not highlight the folly of us thinking that all that we know or understand now about God, people, doctrines and even life generally, is all that there is to know? Things do mature with time. Knowledge and understanding mature with time. Some of us would be embarrassed to read or hear some of the opinions or views we held when we were younger, yet we believed them to be accurate then. Sometimes we look back at some of those things, and like the Preacher in Ecclesiastes we say to ourselves, “Vanity of vanities, all is vanity” (Eccles. 1:2). He went on to say: “Then I looked on all the works that my hands had done and on the labor in which I had toiled; and indeed all was vanity and grasping for the wind. There is no profit under the sun.” (Eccles. 2:11). It took him some time to realise all that; imagine if someone had tried to let him see that before then! Jesus told His disciples: “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot hear them now. However, when He, the Spirit of truth has come, He will guide you into all truth...” (Jn. 16: 12-13a). Time is a major factor in the maturing process. Isaiah 9:6a says: “For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder.” Between childhood and Sonship is TIME. Jesus didn"t step out into Ministry until He was thirty years old. Even then, He was first baptised by John and led of the Holy Spirit into the wilderness where He fasted for forty days and forty nights, being tested by the devil, and returned to Galilee in the power of the Holy Spirit (Luke 4:1-14).
John 1:12 says to as many as received Jesus Christ, He gave the right to become children of God. And in 1 John 3:1: “Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God!” But the Bible says, “the heir, as long as he is a child does not differ at all from a slave though he is master of all, but is under guardians and stewards...” (Gal. 4:1-2). That is a principle there right away. As children of God, we are heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ (Rom. 8:17), it however, takes coming into sonship to begin to walk in the fullness of our inheritance and to begin to represent God fully. “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God” (Rom. 8:14). And in verse 19, “for the earnest expectation of the creation waits for the revealing of the sons of God.” It takes time for a child to mature into becoming a son. “for whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.” (Rom. 8:22). The Bible says that when Moses “became of age”, he refused to be called the son of Pharaoh"s daughter, choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. (Heb. 11:24-25). No wonder God is longsuffering; He is patient with us – bless Him; because He knows we do take our time to mature, don"t we? We must therefore learn to give people and things time to develop and work out. “The end of a thing is better than its beginning; The patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit. Do not hasten in your spirit to be angry, For anger rests in the bosom of fools.” (Eccles. 7:8-9). Also in Isaiah 66:7-8: “shall the earth be made to give birth in one day? Or shall a nation be born at once?” God ordained the natural order of the Gestation period for us to learn that between conception and the birth is TIME. “For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made...” (Rom. 1:20a).
Time BEAUTIFIES. Time can make things right. Sometimes what makes the difference between what is right and what is wrong is time. Doing the right thing at the wrong time, makes it wrong. For instance, any parent wants their kids to get married, but at the right time. “To everything there is a season, A time for every purpose under heaven: A time to be born, And a time to die; A time to plant, And a time to pluck what is planted; A time to weep, And a time to laugh; A time to mourn, And a time to dance; ... A time to embrace, And a time to refrain from embracing; A time to gain, And a time to lose; A time to keep, And a time to throw away; A time to keep silence, And a time to speak; 8 A time to love And a time to hate; A time of war, And a time of peace.” (Eccles. 3:1-8).
And in verse 11, “He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also He has put eternity in their hearts, except that no one can find out the work that God does from beginning to end.”
Mordecai challenged Queen Esther: “For if you remain completely silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews form another place, but you and your father"s house will perish. Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” (Es. 4:14).
We must learn to do the right thing at the right time. Someone defined wisdom as the right application of knowledge. When should I be doing what? What should I be doing now? God said: “While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, winter and summer, and say and night shall not cease.” (Gen. 8:22). For instance, Proverbs 50:5 says: “He who gathers in summer is a wise son, He who sleeps in harvest is a son who causes shame.”
There is nothing wrong with sleeping, in fact, we all need a certain amount of sleep everyday to keep our bodies functioning the way God designed it to function. But sleeping at the wrong time makes it wrong. Proverbs 20:13 says: “Do not love sleep, lest you come to poverty; open your eyes and you will be satisfied with bread.” (See also Proverbs 6:6-11.)
There is indeed a time for everything. Elisha"s servant, Gehazi ran after Naaman and collected the gifts which his master had refused. He lied to Elisha about his whereabouts. Elisha said to him: “Is it time to receive money and to receive clothing, olive groves and vineyards, sheep and oxen, male and female servants? 27 Therefore the leprosy of Naaman shall cling to you and your descendants forever.” And he went out from his presence leprous, as white as snow.” (2 Kings 5:26-27). We must not only have faith to receive, we must also develop the faith to refuse. When Moses became of age, he refused to be called the son of Pharaoh"s daughter. Elisha told Naaman, the Syrian General, “As the LORRD lives, before whom I stand, I will receive nothing” Though Naaman urged Elisha to take the gift, he refused. (2 Kings 5:16).
The Bible talks about the deceitfulness of sin (Heb. 3:13) and the passing pleasures of sin. (Heb. 11:25). What is the major reason for fornication and adultery today? People just can"t wait - they can"t wait for the right time and the right person! They must have it now and here. Proverbs 5:15 says “Drink water from your own cistern, and running water from your own well.”
Time is also a HEALER - a healer of wounds; a healer of pains; a healer of memory; etc. We all feel sore when we have just been hurt or wounded; we still feel the pain when our hearts have just been broken and the memory is still very fresh with the pain. In handling pains caused by other people"s offences, we must understand that the first thing to do is to forgive them. Forgiveness is not an emotional thing, it is a decision. It is saying to the person, ‘I let you go and I let it go." It is saying, ‘I will not hold this against you or act on this." Psalm 103:10 says God has not dealt with us according to our sins, nor rewarded according to our iniquities. Forgiveness is saying, ‘you owe me one, but I cancel your debt." Remember the parable of the unforgiving servant, Jesus told in Matthew 18? Jesus likened offences to debt, and therefore forgiveness to cancellation of debt and release from the penalty. The unforgiving servant was forgiven his own debt by his master; but he turned around to put in the debtor"s prison a fellow servant who was owing him much less than what he was owing his master. 1 Corinthians 13:5 (NLT) says “Love... keeps no record of when it has been wronged.” Or “love keeps no account of evil.”
However, after the decision to forgive has been made and one has truly forgiven from one"s own heart (Jesus said “So My heavenly Father also will do to you if each of you from his heart, does not forgive his brother his trespasses” - Matt. 18:35); you may still find out that your emotions haven"t yet caught up with your decision. You are still feeling bad and hurt. Remember, emotions have to do with feelings. Don"t confuse your feelings with your decisions. Don"t judge your decisions by your feelings and don"t determine your decisions by your feelings. Our emotions need time to heal. I remember when I lost my brother four years ago; my emotions and my memory needed time to heal. The Bible says the memory of the just is blessed (Prov. 10:7), so I still very much have a memory of my brother but not with the pain and hurt I felt when it just happened. I have a loving and fond memory of him and look forward to the resurrection morning when we shall meet to part no more.
It is, however, important to note that time does not automatically heal our emotions and our memory but it is what we do within the time, that determines if we would become better or bitter; if we would become healed or not. Apostle Paul said we shouldn"t sorrow as others who have no hope (1 Thess. 4:13-18). Jesus commands us to forgive and to let go (Matt. 18:35; Mk. 11:25-26). If we would obey what the Word says, then we would experience the healing with time; but if not, we would open up ourselves to the ‘tormentors" (Matt. 18:32-34) and to the spirit of sorrow and death. (2 Cor. 7:10).
Time is an invaluable asset and it is one thing that is common to all. The Bible says, “time and chance happen to all” (Eccles. 9:11). It is what we invest into time that determines what we get out of it; it is how we make the most of the opportunity (or ‘chance") given to us that determines the outcome of our life. For instance, time does not automatically mature you or develop your skills or your character. Waiting isn"t therefore doing nothing while you are waiting. Ecclesiastes 9:10 says; “whatever your hands find to do, do it with all your might, for there is no work or device or knowledge or wisdom in the grave where you are going.” Somebody said, ‘Growth will always come, change will always come, but you can determine the direction of the growth or change by what you do now." Don"t just sit around with your arms folded – read, study, acquire new skills, take up great opportunities that come your way; maximise where you are on the way to where you are going. Engage your God-given talents. Remember the parable of the Minas in Luke 19? The Master gave the servants ten minas and said to them, “Do business till I come.” (v. 13). When he returned, he called them to know how much each man had gained by trading. God expects us to engage with what He has given us and to grow and multiply it.
Also, in learning to wait, we must understand that waiting is a discipline that involves informing and training our faculties. Our faculties must be informed about the phase we are in life – are we in seedtime or in harvest time? Are we in the winter or in the summer? What time and season are we in? Then we must train our faculties to respond according to the season that we are in. According to The OXFORD ENGLISH DICTIONARY, “to train means: to bring to a desired standard of performance or behaviour by instruction and practice; to undergo such a process; to teach and accustom (a person or animal) to do something. 2. to bring or come to physical efficiency by exercise and diet. 3. to cause to grow in the required direction.”
Train your emotions, your tongue, your will: train all your faculties. Waiting also involves practice – practice makes perfect. Practice waiting. You don"t have to act now, you don"t have to speak now – “Even a fool is considered wise when he holds his peace; when he shuts his lips he is considered perceptive.” (Prov. 17:28). Sometimes a good knowledge about yourself, your tendencies, your temperament might help. For instance, the choleric and sanguine temperaments find it very hard to wait, they are the two fast-paced temperaments. Cholerics are ‘DOERS" by nature and the Sanguines are adventurous by nature; and God help anyone who combines the two!
The Bible says: “Even the youths shall faint and be weary, And the young men shall utterly fall, 31 But those who wait on the LORD Shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint.” (Isaiah 40:30-31).
It seems to be that there is great strength in waiting.
Remember, delay is not denial. It is better to be safe than to be sorry. Sometimes it is worth the wait.