• Our hope-filled future is bound up in sharing the story of Jesus, in discipling others, in bringing those disciples together into communities of believers, and in developing and releasing those believers to create other communities... till Jesus the King comes again!

the Waiting

We had just arrived home that morning, caught a quick nap and then got ourselves ready to head to the wedding of the daughter of some good friends.  We arrived in plenty of time and got seated along with the hundred or so other guests.  Then we waited … and waited … and waited.  Several announcements were made from the front to the effect that the bride was on her way.  “We have never been to a wedding that started this late.  What could she possibly be doing?” were thoughts that ran through our minds.  Then the bride showed up and all that complaining disappeared in the joy of the ceremony that followed. 

When Tim Keller writes: “God’s sense of timing will confound ours, no matter what culture we’re from.  His grace rarely operates according to our schedule,” we can readily identify with the frustration that arises from our lack of patience in regards to His timing.  Just as we felt when our friends’ daughter was “late” for her own wedding, so we wonder in frustration what God is up to when He doesn’t seem to come through “in the right time.”

However, it is in the delay that God often speaks to us, and we can easily miss His message.  Keller writes: “But precisely because of the delay both Jairus and the woman get far more than they asked for.  Be aware that when you go to Jesus for help, you will both give to and get from him far more than you bargained for.”  What we may learn to give is a deeper commitment and call to follow Him, shedding our self focused way of living which may treat God only as a help in time of need and not a Redeemer needed every day.  What we may learn to get is a richer appreciation of His presence with us, of His love for us despite how we may feel or think.

Keller is right that often in our response to life situations we try to “hurry Jesus” and demonstrate “impatience with the waiting.”   I think it might be a good thing to adopt Thomas Cranmer’s prayer as our own: “Grant that we may both follow the example of his patience, and also be made partakers of his resurrection.”


What words would you use to describe your struggle with impatience when it comes to God’s timing?  What would it look like for you to trust His timing and His seeming delay to act according to your timetable?  What one or two thoughts would you share with someone you are discipling about learning or growing in one’s patience and ability to wait?

6 Responses

  1. Although I continue to be impatience I have learned that God’s timing has at least two great benefits –greater blessing and deliverance from terrible mistakes.

    Let tell of one of my experiences to illustrate this. In the Haitian strategy group at the first Lausanne Congress the question was asked, “who are the unreached people groups in your country and how can they best be reached?” The consensus of the Haitian delegates was that the largest unreached people group was the business, professional and intellectual community. They then concluded that the only evangelical ministry in Haiti that had the prestige to reach this audience was Radio Lumière. At Radio Lumiere our network of five strategically located medium wave AM stations was programed to reach the emerging new middle class and we would lose that important audience if we tried to change the programming to reach the business, professional, and intellectual community.

    So we began to plan and pray that the Lord would enable us to build a FM stereo station in the capital city where almost all in this unreached people group lived. Since almost all in this elite group spoke English as a second language we planned to program it equally using both languages since English would be easier for us as Americans to do. We spent two years praying and fund raising and almost no funds came in to launch this new ministry. After about two years the Lord opened our understanding to the fact that if we used too many English programs with American voices our messages would be perceived as foreign and therefore not heard. When we moved to planning to use French with educated Haitian voices with very limited use of Americans speaking English the Lord began to send in the funding needed for this project.

    The Lord saved us from making a terrible strategic error by delaying any answer to our prayers for finances.

  2. I remember a Tim Keller sermon in which he said, “Impatience is really arrogance.” He wouldn’t have had to say another word. I knew exactly what he meant. I have been (and may still be) a very impatient person, but the truth that impatience is really arrogance has helped me tremendously to value and to seek the virtue of patience.

    • Impatience does find its root in arrogance or pride. Could you ‘play this out’ a little more for us as to how you see arrogance fueling impatience?

  3. To a disciple, I would say…When I finally wake up and recognize that I’m being impatient, I either sin by pressing on to get my way OR I cast my care upon the Lord. For me that means revisiting my total dependency upon Him, telling Him that I’m “glad to be there”, and then pressing on in faithful obedience to what I do know to be His will. The situation is now His. Often I later learn the purposes of His timing; sometimes I don’t. And, that’s OK.

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