That song from Tom Petty has been rattling around in my head after my Life Group’s discussion about Genesis.
The patience….and impatience….of God’s people in Genesis. God’s timing. How they waited….or didn’t wait for God’s timing. How their patience…or impatience…. affected God’s blessings on their lives.
I love to read the stories of Abraham and Sarah, Rebekah and Isaac, Jacob, Leah and Rachel, among others. They’re fascinating, human, flawed. They make mistakes, but God loves them anyway. He has plans for them, and even during their impatience, HE is patient. And faithful. And during it all, they learn something about Him.
Now insert our names for theirs….because their story is our story.
How often do we get impatient for God to work? To answer our prayers. To fulfill His promises. How often do we try to make it happen, without waiting for God’s timing?
Yes, the waiting is hard.
Sometimes, we are like Sarah. I actually think she had faith in God’s promise of a son but thought she needed to take a ACTIVE role and make it happen with Hagar. Isn’t that pretty common? We’re not really sure where/when/how to take action and when to just wait. We think we need to do God’s work for Him because He is not doing it to our satisfaction and timing.
Rebekah and her favored son Jacob just couldn’t wait for God to fulfill His promise that the youngest twin would be the one through whom God’s promise & blessing would pass. They schemed to do the work themselves, taking both Esau’s birthright – he actually lost that due to his own impatience – and the blessing from his father Isaac away from him. And in doing so, missed out on the path & blessings God had in store for them.
Jacob was learning to be fairly patient later as he waited to wed Rachel and for Laban to release him, but he still wanted to be in charge. God had to wrestle with him before Jacob acknowledged that He was in control. And I’m pretty sure it was NOT easy for Noah to wait, to be patient for God’s timing.
The waiting is hard. But God still works in the waiting. He works ON us. He works IN us. He’s not making us wait for no reason. He’s got His own reason. I’m reminded of one of Moses’ last speeches to the Israelites in Deuteronomy 8:2:
Don’t forget how the Lord your God has led you through the desert for the past forty years. He wanted to find out if you were truly willing to obey him and depend on him, so he made you go hungry. Then he gave you manna, a kind of food that you and your ancestors had never even heard about. The Lord was teaching you that people need more than food to live—they need every word that the Lord has spoken.
Plus I wonder how many blessings I’ve missed due to my tendency to run out ahead of God…