To say that we live in an ever increasingly fast-paced culture, is a truism. The recent storms which blew through our city -virtually shutting it down, caused me to pause and think deeply about our need for solitude and quality time with God in prayer.
Last week we began a discussion on the theme of prayer. We were challenged by the truth that prayer is essential to a growing and developing relationship God. We begin where we left off of last week – considering the questions: In your prayer time, do you create space for God to speak to you? Do you wait for God to meet with you and accompany you?
In my life, I am impressed (and also frustrated at times) that God does not always respond according to my timeframe. On many occasions, while I sense God’s Presence, I find myself waiting for His action. “Waiting for God’s action is nothing new! As we look at Scripture we find that God was not quick to respond. Psalm 40 reads: ” I waited patiently for the Lord, He turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me up out of the mud and the mire and gave me a firm place to stand.” Then there is Elijah. He ran for his life in response to the threat on his life by Jezebel. Elijah waited for God to attend to him. God did not appear in a quake or a fire or a wind, but in a still small voice (based on 1 Kings 19).
In the preceding examples, God did not act quickly. But, as always, there was something gained through the discipline of waiting. For the psalmist who patiently waited, he was given perspective in the midst of the trouble he faced. He says: “you have put a new song in my heart” (40:3). Also, while he may not have known when God would lift him out of the pit, he was aware of God’s Presence and action. While God took His time, the psalmist became aware that his life was being changed while he was still in the pit.
As for Elijah, he waited, and discerned God’s Presence not in the big event, but the small voice. Similar to the Psalmist, God encouraged Elijah and gave him new perspective. At first, Elijah felt very isolated -afraid that he was the ONLY good guy left! In the waiting period, God met Elijah in a dark cave and showed him that in fact he was not alone. Although God did not deliver Elijah out of his situation, He equipped Elijah with new knowledge, understanding and courage to return and face the very situation from which he had run.
Not many of us enjoy waiting! But, as we have seen in these examples, important lessons were learned. Though the situations were difficult, God worked in the lives of the people…in His time. While it is true, that God may not always act in accordance with our schedule, He does always act for our good, in His time. As we wait for God, we develop character. We grow in faith, trust and hope. So, are you able to wait for God? Do you run ahead of Him -expecting Him to do things on your terms and in your time? The challenge for all of us all in this 100 m/h culture is to slow down and take time…His time. He will come!