We can all agree that patience is not our strongest attribute. We live in a society where we are free to expect and demand what we want when we want it (and complain if we don’t get it). Want a hamburger? Go to Burger King or McDonald's. With the click of a button or a voice request from Alexia, Amazon can get you anything from a year’s supply of toilet paper to an 80 inch TV and have it delivered to your doorstep in two days or less. We no longer have to drive to the movie theatre or wait weeks for a movie, we can now stream everything when we want. If you happen to really want some big-ticket item that you really can’t afford – no problem, there is a credit card that would love your name on it.
Unfortunately, this practice of instant gratification spills over into our relationship with God. We want to treat God like we do our Amazon Prime Account. As if God better give us what we want when we want it – or we can just take our business elsewhere. But God loves us too much to give us what we want when we want it. God promises something even better: he gives us what we need when we need it.
This human behavior of instant gratification is nothing new. The Israelites wanted what they wanted when they wanted it. So they filed a complaint; “Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the desert? There is no bread! There is no water! And we detest this miserable food!” (Numbers 21:5). God and Moses must have felt like parents on a family vacation. It never takes long for the griping to begin. “I’m hungry, I’m thirsty, I’ve got to go to the bathroom, Are we there yet?”
It is when we get caught up in the demands of instant gratification that we need to take a step back and remember what the Bible says about patience:
Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him. Psalm 37:7
I waited patiently for the Lord; he inclined to me and heard my cry. Psalm 40:1
Rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering, persevere in prayer. Romans 12:12
Be patient, therefore, beloved, until the coming of the Lord. The farmer waits for the precious crop from the earth, being patient with it until it receives the early and the late rains. You also must be patient. Strengthen your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is near. James 5:7-8
Things may not happen right away, but they will happen according to God’s plan for us.
What have you been praying for and it seems like God is taking too long to answer your prayer?
Let Us Pray:
Creator and friend, thank you for knowing us more than we know ourselves. Thank you for giving us what we need in your good timing. Bless us with patience as we wait for answers to our prayers. Amen