In the New Testament, Peter writes that for the Lord one day is like a thousand years and a thousand years are like one day.
One fellow pondered the meaning of that and said, “Lord is it really true that a thousand years to us are like a minute to you?” God answered, “Yes, that’s true.’ The man then said, “So a million dollars to us is like a penny to you?” “Exactly right, “said God. Whereupon the man asked, “Lord could I have just one of those pennies?” “Sure,” said God. “Could you wait here for just one minute?”
We all want the penny, but we’re not so excited about the minute. We’re pumped about God receiving God’s riches. But God’s timing can seem flat out frustrating.
Nevertheless, what God accomplishes in us while we wait is often just as important as what we are waiting for. Waiting demands more than just patience. It requires humility. When we are compelled to wait, we come face to face with the fact we are not in control.
As author and pastor John Ortberg points out, “In American society there is a direct correlation between status and waiting. The higher your status, the less you have to wait. Lower status people always wait on higher-status people.
If you think you’re someone special try going out to the BMV and demanding to have your license renewed immediately. What you will hear is, “Take a number and wait your turn.” The BMV is a great place to receive a refresher course in humility. So is the waiting room of a medical practice. Ortberg knows of a busy CEO who was so frustrated at having to wait that he actually sent the doctor a bill for his time.
But waiting is good for us. It is a hard gift. But it is a gift nonetheless. That’s because what we wait for is more important than what happens to us while we are waiting. Isaiah, the prophet declares, “Even your youths will faint and be weary, and the young fall exhausted. But those who wait for the Lord will renew their strength.” (Isaiah 40:30-31)
All of us need to be reminded not to give up, even when we’ve been waiting a long time.
In 1941, Winston Churchill gave a speech after the nation had survived months of restless bombing by the German aircraft. The speech was just 47 words long: “This is the lesson, never give in, never give in, never, never, never, in nothing great or small, large or petty-never give in except in convictions of honor and good sense. Never yield to force, never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.” He then sat down.
Historians wonder, how many boys were forever impacted by those words and in all likelihood came surging back during the most dispiriting moments of their lives?
Hope plus courage equals perseverance.
We wait for God to work in our lives. We hang on to our trust in him even in the face of uncertainty.
If we never, never surrender that conviction, we’ll be ready to follow him no matter where God chooses to lead.
Ron Naylor, Chaplain