When the people saw how long it was taking Moses to come back down the mountain, they gathered around Aaron. “Come on,” they said, “make us some gods who can lead us. We don’t know what happened to this fellow Moses.
– Exodus 32:1
Waiting for something is not my favorite way to pass the time. I’m sure it’s not yours either. Our culture has a fast paced, on demand, immediate gratification mindset. We want what we want and we want it now! While there may be people, still in existence today, who could be described as patient, like the last survivors of a zombie apocalypse, they are being swallowed up in the hectic chaos of our hyper time conscience world. This is problematic for people who want to develop a close relationship with God. It just so happens that God is a God who is constantly calling on us to wait for Him; the very thing we are being conditioned not to do.
The prophet Isaiah tells us, “those who wait on the Lord will renew their strength.” David encourages us to “wait patiently for the Lord.” Jesus calls His disciples to wait with Him in the Garden of Gethsemane. Here in Exodus, once again, God’s people are called to wait on Him while Moses receives the Word, but they are rushed, jumpy and the consequences are terrible.
It’s not so much their impatience which led to God’s wrath, rather it was the idol crafting, the revelry, and the general rejection of everything God had told them 30 days before their drunken, debaucherous idol worshiping party. However, their haste in wanting to rush the process is where their problems began. I wonder how many of us could say the same thing? How many bad relationships, terrible career choices, or disastrous financial decisions have been born out of simply not being willing to wait for God’s timing?
Tom Petty said, “the waiting is the hardest part”. I’m inclined to agree with him. When someone leaves me waiting, I get this uncomfortable feeling of being overlooked, or worse yet, forgotten. When that someone is God, the feelings are particularly palpable. But is that really what’s going on? When my time horizon doesn’t match God’s is it reasonable to conclude I’ve been forgotten?
I think this is the crux of the waiting battle; to trust; to believe that God is still at work in preparing both me and the environment I’m about to walk into. When we look back on our lives, so often we see how God’s perfect timing put us where we needed to be in the exact moment we needed to be there. “God’s timing is perfect” as the popular saying goes. It’s so true. The waiting is the hardest part, but it also tends to be the most necessary part. While we may be tempted to view waiting as wasted time, it’s often a time of preparation. God shapes us and molds us into who we need to be according to His perfect will. Waiting is all a part of God’s larger plan and when we see things from this perspective, we can develop the patience we need to hold on a little bit longer.
May you wait on the Lord and increase your strength and soar on wings like eagles and all of that wicked, awesome stuff!