Sometimes I find it difficult to be patient and wait for God’s timing when I want it now. Your it could be a number of things, but what seems to be universally difficult is continuing to wait while others around me seem to be getting the it that I want. It’s easy to wonder if perhaps God forgot about me when he was passing out hearts’ desires. Enter temptation. It would be easy to bypass God and take matters into my own hands. Easy, but not advisable.
This seems to happen often. A clear picture of this can be seen in the story of Saul. Israel wanted a king. In fact, they felt they needed one. Not only did all the other nations have one, but they were being surrounded by the mighty Philistines and needed a leader to protect them. They were tired of waiting on God to do something, so they took the matter into their own hands. God must have forgotten us, they reasoned, so we should look out for ourselves. Their rejection of God’s timing and their impatience led them to “do what was right in their own eyes”. And scary yet, they probably felt it was the logical, right decision too.
But worst of all was their rejection of God as their King. “The Lord said ‘It is not you they have rejected, but they have rejected Me as their king’” (1 Sam 8:7). God had shown Himself reliable over and over again. He delivered them, yet they forgot Him. He provided, yet they doubted. He led, but they wouldn’t follow. Instead of trusting and waiting on their God who had proven Himself to them time and time again, they rejected Him as leader, provider, protector, and decision-maker.
How often do we do this? How often do we get tired of waiting for God to act, to come through, to provide what we need? How often do we forget all the ways He has already proven that He can be trusted and that He is able?
When we want something we don’t have that we feel we need, we get impatient. We get downright demanding.
Looking over my life, I find there are a few things at play in those critical moments.
When I forget, I start to doubt. This seems to be the broken record of God’s people. We find ourselves in a crisis, we turn to God, God rescues us, we forget and find ourselves in another crisis. So many times in scripture God tells His people to remember. Remember where they came from and remember what God has done for them. This is still true today. The more I remember the times I couldn’t put food on the table, when I never thought I would get through emotional pain, when I felt alone without a community of friends…the more I will remember how God provided just what I needed in those moments and the more it will strengthen my trust and faith that He will do it again.
When I doubt, I focus on my circumstances. The Israelites forgot all God had done for them and they focused instead on their immediate surroundings. This caused them to fear, to become desperate, and to start searching for solutions outside of God. The same happens for us. When I doubt God and stop trusting that He will come through for me, I start looking for alternative things I can trust…logic, money, job stability, people, but mostly myself. Instead of relying on God who has the ultimate power, resources, and foresight, I rely on things that are unstable, narrow-minded, and fallible.
When I focus on my circumstances, I take matters into my own hands. When my desires go unmet and my needs feel overwhelming, I will quickly look for a solution. I may even rush into a decision out of fear. But when I do what I feel is right in my own eyes and don’t wait on the Lord for His timing, it always ends in heartache and failure. And usually it brings about other consequences and hardship into my life that I might not have dealt with if I had waited in the first place.
When I take matters into my own hands, I miss out on the better plan. God is always at work in my life whether I tune in or not. The people got what they thought they wanted: a king. But he wasn’t a good king. He lacked courage, character, and the ability to lead. If they had trusted and waited on God, they could have avoided the heartache and pain that resulted from their decision. God had a better plan, but they chose to reject it and opted for second best because they couldn’t see past their circumstances and desires.
Every little decision I make forges my path in life. When I look back, I am always thankful for those moments when I decided to trust God and wait for Him to act instead of taking over. When I graduated college single and thought I had missed the marriage boat, God brought along the man of my dreams at just the right time. How glad I am that I waited for God’s timing instead of settling for what could have been immediately more convenient!
So when I find myself focusing on the it that I want, when I feel impatience and doubt creeping in, I choose to remember and trust. I remind myself of all the ways God provided for me. I choose to trust Him as my King. And I remember that His timing is everything.