Long trips are no fun. Especially with a six year old who seldom sits still. Despite the modern technology of the DVD player in the car, we continued to hear the resounding sentence coming from the back seat, “Are we there yet?” An eight-hour trip ended up feeling like 16 with the impatience that filled the seven-passenger mini-van.
We are often times like that in our spiritual walk, are we not? We want results and we want them now! If the church building is falling apart, we want a new one NOW. If we are going through a spiritually hard time, we want God to fix the inner turmoil NOW. “Deliver me now Lord! Don’t you understand?” If we have been trying to build a relationship with a brother or sister in Christ and haven’t seen results…”I give up, God can send someone else.” Maybe you have been trying to witness to a local and they aren’t responding and your patience grows thin. We want to gain Biblical wisdom and knowledge to have instant spiritual maturity, and we get frustrated when it doesn’t happen.
We live in such an instant age. Everything from rice to photo development, we do not like to wait. We can go through the quick lube for the oil change, get the tires changed while we shop, and it’s all about instant gratification. Instant oatmeal, instant pudding (now you can buy them already in little plastic containers so you don’t even have to mix, you can eat them in the car if you want!) With DVDs we don’t have to wait for the movie to rewind before we watch it again, CDs make it so that we don’t have to rewind and fast forward over and over to get to the song in the middle of the cassette tape. E-mail makes it possible for your message to be delivered instantly, and cell phones have made it possible for us to multi-task in a way that we never could before.
Our walk with God is no different. We carry our busy schedules over to our Christian walk. What we often forget is that God is not bound by our calendars, time constraints, or even the “honey-do” list that was left on the counter (or e-mailed to your palm pilot). It’s His plan, in His time, the way He wants to accomplish the tasks that He has prepared. We ask, and wait as we tap our fingers, for the answer that we expect when we asked in the first place. We forget that this is God we are talking to, not Domino’s where if you don’t get results in 20 minutes or less your next order is free. We get so impatient when we want something that we stop focusing on where we are and only focus on where we’re going.
I desire nothing more than to study God’s word day in and day out. I used to get so angry when I didn’t get at least a couple hours of study time in on any given day. Then one day I realized that I was so focused on obtaining knowledge that I was missing out on so many life lessons that were right in front of me! I got so caught up in my destination that the voyage was lost.
It’s like reading a book. Shawn and I have very different methods of reading. It’s not just our preference when it comes to reading material, but HOW we read. I read to accomplish completion and Shawn reads for the experience. One day as I was bragging about almost finishing my current book, he looked at me and said, “It’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey.”
The Israelites had a lesson in patience. After being delivered from the slavery of the Egyptians,
“Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and all that night the Lord drove the sea back with a strong east wind and turned it into dry land. The waters were divided, and the Israelites went through the sea on dry ground, with a wall of water on their right and on their left.” – Exodus 14:21-22
God lead them (in a physical form though not human form, as that would come later in the person of Jesus Christ) through the desert. Now they had been in SLAVERY, which believe you me, is no picnic! They worked from sunrise ‘til sun set. Blood, sweat, and tears every day with beatings for those who didn’t work fast enough. Delivery from this life could only be met by gratitude, right? WRONG! As they traveled, they continually grumbled to Moses about bringing them into the dessert to die. Commenting that they were better off back in Egypt.
“Then Moses led Israel from the Red Sea and they went into the Desert of Shur. For three days they traveled in the desert without finding water. When came to Marah, they could not drink its water because it was bitter… So the people grumbled against Moses, saying, “What are we to drink?” – Exodus 15:22-24
“They traveled from Mount Hor along the route to he Red Sea, to go around Edom. But the people grew impatient on the way; they spoke against God and against Moses, and said, “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 21:4-5
Talk about impatience! God had promised them a land flowing with milk and honey, and they were grumbling about the journey, they just wanted the destination. Then when they finally reached their destination, they refused to go in because they were afraid of those who inhabited the land at the time. My thought at this point is, “WHERE YOU NOT THERE WHEN GOD DELIVERED YOU?” They had seen God do so much yet they were still unwilling to yield to the journey!
So they were forced to go on another journey! Don’t want to obey? Fine, then wander for forty more years! They would now have to rely on God every day for everything! They grumbled for food, God provided manna. Unhappy with the Manna, they grumbled for meat.
“The rabble with them began to crave other food, and again the Israelites started wailing and said, “If only we had meat to eat! We remember the fish we ate in Egypt at no cost – also the cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions and garlic. But now we have lost our appetite; we never see anything but this manna!” – Numbers 11:4-6
They grumbled for water, God gave them water from a rock, keep in mind how many of them there are! This was no trickle! It seems that no matter what God provided they wanted more and they wanted it NOW!
We have these trials, frustrations, and requests that we bring before God. Submit them to His will; leave them at His feet to deal with in His time, in His way. Your struggles may ¸ÅQ seem like a dessert, but STOP and take notice of the journey that God is taking you on and know that your destination is a land flowing with milk and honey. You thirst, God will quench it with the Living Water, you hunger, and God will fill you with His word. Are we there yet? No… but release your agenda and submit to the journey and you will reap a harvest for your Lord much more plentiful than anything you get in one hour photo!
“And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and joyfully giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light.” – Colossians 1:10-12