Heart to Heart: waiting on the promise

“Are we there yet?”

Two minutes have passed since I last asked that question.

“Are we there yet?”

Yes. I’m somewhat like a little child on road trips, desperately wanting to get to the promised destination. To be completely and perfectly honest, I am very impatient. When I’m promised one thing, I want that one thing to happen this very moment. I’m so much a part of the instant gratification generation it’s kind of crazy.

It’s not a surprise that the idea of waiting on God’s promises scares me to no end.

So many questions tend tho haunt my mind. Is this really going to happen? What are the details of it? How is it going to come to pass? Am I doing something wrong that it isn’t coming to pass yet?

I know the call that God has on my life. He’s revealed destinies and a passion to make an impact. But sometimes I feel like between that call and where I stand, there exists a huge chasm. A serious divine intervention is required to get to the destination, and often it feels like God is not working as quickly as I want him to. Waiting makes me feel powerless and this control freak doesn’t like that feeling.

In the Book of Acts, before he ascended into heaven, Jesus gave his disciples a command. (Yes, it was apparently non-negotiable.)

“Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit” 
Acts 1:4-5

Oh no! There’s that word again. Wait. But phew! Jesus said that it was only going to be a few days. A few days of waiting is fine, right?

(Although, if I was part of the disciples, I’d be just a little bit miffed that I wasn’t quite sure what Jesus meant by “a few.” Was that two days? Three? A week? A month? Acts 2 didn’t explain how many days they were there waiting for the promised gift. It just said that the day of pentecost came.)

But what if waiting for God’s promise to be fulfilled lasts a long time? Maybe even a lifetime?

Abraham and Sarah waited almost a century for a child.
The Israelites, due to their disobedience, waited for 40 years to enter the Promised Land.
Ruth was asked by Boaz to wait as he figured out what to do.
David didn’t live to see the temple of God built.
Simeon and Hannah waited years to see the face of the Messiah.

As I think about all the possibilities, I find myself asking God one thing. Please don’t make me wait too long that, like the Jews, I don't recognize the Promise even when it is staring me in the face.

Then how should we wait?

We wait in trust. Waiting for the promises of God is an endurance exercise in trust. It’s not about trusting God one moment only. It’s about continuing to trust God - especially when the chasm seems un-crossable.

We exercise trust when we shift the focus from the promise to the promise giver. If my mom promised me that she was going to give me something, I trust that it will come to pass not because I see that the thing exists. I trust that it will come to pass because I know my mom and I know that she loves me. Even when the destination starts getting blurry, we trust that God will accomplish what He promised because He is trustworthy and because He loves us.

And when we doubt that? Press in and draw closer to the promise giver.

We wait in faithfulness. The Bible talks about being faithful in the little things. Waiting on God’s promises involves being active, alert, and prepared. Not unlike the wise girls waiting for the groom to arrive (Matthew 25). While not knowing when or how the promise will arrive, we are expected to be faithful in doing what God has currently put in front of us.

For some odd reason, a quote by J.K. Rowling pops into my mind as I’m writing this. She wrote, 

While God’s promise will come when it comes, we are living in the present. We are called to the present. So it is the time to be faithfully present.

We wait, protecting the promise. The call God has on our lives has the power to change lives, but it is our responsibility - while we wait for God’s time - to protect it. I recently heard a preacher explain it in this way.

It’s like a woman who is carrying a child. (I’ve never been pregnant before, so I refer to my friends’ account of the experience.) It is a fact generally known that pregnant women should not drink or smoke because it would harm the baby. That is common knowledge. A pregnant woman chooses not to drink and not to smoke because she values her baby, and she wants to protect her baby. The choices she makes in her life is made with her baby in mind.

We are carrying the promise of God in us. It may not have come to pass just yet, but we are protectors of that promise. The choices we make in life need to have God’s purpose and call in mind. We choose to live for Christ because we are carrying a destiny.

Friends, take courage! While we might not see God’s promise fulfilled in our lives yet, our good Father is on the move.

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