From the President of Our Daily Bread Ministries
Each morning on my way to work I must enter a freeway by gathering up enough speed to merge seamlessly with 70 mph (113 kph) traffic. It’s a little challenging because I have to do this by coming off a 270 degree on-ramp and need to get over two lanes because the first lane is an exit only lane. I have yet to have a moment where the oncoming cars make this easy by moving over or slowing down to let me in. If I am ever killed in a car accident, look for my wrecked car along this section of freeway.
I find myself thinking about patience at these moments, usually the need for everyone else to have it. I must admit there have been a few dicey moments where I’ve expressed my anger through my horn at someone barreling down the road and not letting me merge. “Can’t they be patient?” I mutter impatiently.
Everyone’s in a hurry. It’s to be expected when you live in a society where speed and expedience are prized qualities. I get impatient if I have to wait in line for five minutes, so I start to look for a digital solution. I am frustrated when my computer takes a few seconds longer to load or my phone is a little slow. I want instant gratification, a quick response, and a speedy solution. Wait? I don’t have time because my microwave lunch is ready!
When I was in Brazil last month, I was reminded of the value of waiting. The team there has been in cramped quarters for far too long; they outgrew their space many years ago.
Ten years ago they started plans to build a new office building, one that gave them more offices, larger conference rooms, a meeting space to host people, and a connected warehouse for all their products. But what they got were endless hurdles, delays, roadblocks, and bureaucracy.
Couldn’t God see that they could be so much more effective if they had the building immediately? However, God knew the right timing, and we now have a bigger and better building because we had to wait.
The theme of waiting is woven throughout the Psalms. In many Psalms, the psalmists are doing a lot of self-talk, coaching themselves to wait.
The Hebrew word for wait is qavah, meaning originally “twist, stretch, then of tension of enduring, waiting.” Using qavah captures the emotional turbulence of delays: the twisting knot in your stomach, the tight binding you feel in your soul, the wrenching of your heart as your expectations are withheld.
In Psalm 25:3–5, David sings, “Indeed, none who wait for you shall be put to shame; they shall be ashamed who are wantonly treacherous. Make me to know your ways, O LORD; teach me your paths. Lead me in your truth and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all the day long” (ESV).
In David’s mind, waiting is connected to learning the ways and paths of God—a God who’s beyond time, who grows His work slowly and through unexpected means, who’s more interested in developing David’s character and faith than in satisfying David’s needs and wants, and who ultimately is most interested in revealing his character and salvation.
The God who created the entire universe in six days and can snap his fingers and turn water into wine prefers to take his time, to reveal slowly His presence and plans, to take ten years to build a building, to delay judgment and provide many opportunities for repentance, to sow seeds that are harvested centuries later, and to tarry in returning for millennia.
If you’re like me, you know this intellectually, but waiting is difficult; it makes us impatient. As we go about our work this week, let’s look for places where God may be asking us to slow down or is delaying us. And rather than become frustrated and try to plow ahead, let’s ask what God may be doing and remain steadfast in serving Him. It’s always worth the wait; I just wish it didn’t take so long.
Boldly unhindered (Acts 28:31),
Matt Lucas, D.A.
President / CEO