By: Dr. Dan Schafer
President, World Gospel Mission
*The following is an extract from the book: Transformational Vision
“Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD.” – Psalm 27:14
Mind boggling! Sitting in the sweltering heat of an Ugandan afternoon, I typed up and sent off an important email with several recipients. One of those recipients sat across the table from me, the others were scattered around the world.
“Got it!” was the reply from my colleague seemingly before I lifted my finger from the sent button. How is it possible for that email to travel from my computer in the depths of Africa, across the continent, over the ocean, to the heart of the US, and then repeat the journey back, signaling its arrival into the inbox of my table companion in just a few seconds?
Not only is this possible, but its occurrence is expected. If the email fails to make its appearance within those few acceptable seconds, our impatience grows. What’s wrong?! We should have gotten that email 30 seconds ago.
Like our email, much of life is delivered at ultra-high speed. Many of us have grown accustomed to next day delivery from Amazon, instant downloadable movies, and an Uber “taxi” driver waiting just around the corner for our beckon call.
What a wonderful convenience these ultra-fast services and products bring to our lives. But writer Tim Elmore shares that there is an unexpected consequence of all this high-speed delivery. There is a significant danger that we will conclude that everything slow or that takes time is bad. This results in a practice of avoiding anything that takes time.
Why is this a danger to us? Simply put, we need the resistance that time consuming activities produce in our lives. Without it, we will not develop into the fully healthy persons God intends for us to be. It is these time-consuming activities that build character in our lives. For example, it is only as we practice waiting that we learn to be patient.
Waiting is important! Those that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength. There is something about speeding through life that causes us to miss the power of God that is available to us. Elijah had to slow down from the events of Mount Carmel to hear the still, small voice of God.
Such a voice can only be detected when we are standing still. Remember, God’s voice wasn’t detected in the wind that went rushing by. It’s only when we learn to wait, that we can truly experience the strength of our God.
Again, waiting exercises the muscle of patience. Without the discipline of waiting, we will find ourselves woefully short on patience. Without patience — we will find ourselves short on love.
Love is patient (1 Corinthians 13:4). The mathematical law of equality informs us that we can flip this equation and restate it — patient [or patience] is love. The reality is that it requires a great deal of patience to live with and to love others. We must learn there are times when it is important to go slow because it builds the patience we need to love one another. And without that perseverance-developed patience we will not have what it takes to maintain the relationships with others that are needed to navigate life.
So, go ahead and enjoy the conveniences that bring speed to our lives, but don’t write off everything that requires time and hard work. Those mental, spiritual, and emotional exercises are important to your mental, spiritual, and emotional health.
Lord, teach me that some good things only come by waiting. Amen.