I think I am in a “season of waiting” right now. I say “I think” because I’ve been wrong before about God and His ways. And I say a “season of waiting” in quotes because I really can’t stand that word “season”. We Christians throw it around a lot, and it annoys me.
“That’s just the season of life I’m in right now.”
“We’re going through a rough season.”
“My kid is in a rebellious season.”
Season, season, season. It has become as cliche as “just sayin'”. Just sayin’.
Alas, I cannot think of another word to use. Allow me to consult my thesauraus.
Oooo, I could say, “I am in an interval of waiting,” or, “a period of waiting,” or, “a term of waiting,” or, “a spell of waiting.”
I like “spell”.
So, I think I am in a “spell of waiting” right now. I think this because I’m not sensing a lot of responsiveness from God to my prayers lately. No “yes’s”, no “no’s”. So that just leaves “wait’s”, right?
And I want to cry out, “But, LORD, I’ve been waiting for soooooooooooooooooooo long! Surely, You will act soon. Surely, I cannot be expected to be able to wait much longer.”
But what I really mean is, “LORD, if You don’t act NOW, I will be fully justified in taking the situation into my own hands. Whatever sin I may commit during this “spell of waiting”, You will not be allowed to hold me responsible for. I’m only human! And You aren’t taking care of things… so, in essence, it’s Your fault I have to sin.”
Turns out I’m not the only one to think like this.
In fact, the entire nation of Israel acted just like this when their leader, Moses, was having a pow-wow with God for longer than they preferred.
God told Moses to come meet Him at the top of a mountain so He could give him some instructions for leading the Israelites in proper worship.
To be fair, nobody was expecting that conversation to take as long as it did – 40 days and 40 nights (Exodus 24:18).
While Mo was chatting with God, all the Israelites at the foot of the mountain saw was “what looked like a consuming fire on top of the mountain.” (Exodus 24:17). Days passed. Weeks passed. Nobody had heard from Moses. The people began to worry.
Like me, the Israelites found themselves in a “spell of waiting”. And they began to panic. “LORD,” they probably thought, “how long must we wait? We don’t understand what You’re doing! Are You even up there? Is Moses, our leader, even still alive?”
And, also like me, they began to rationalize. “LORD, You’re slowness to act is forcing us to take matters into our own hands.” In other words, “God, You cannot be trusted.”
Picking up the story in Exodus 32, “When the people saw that Moses was so long in coming down from the mountain, they gathered around Aaron and said, ‘Come, make us gods who will go before us. As for this fellow Moses who brought us up out of Egypt, we don’t know what has happened to him,'” (Exodus 32:1).
And Aaron complied. He took gold, melted it down, formed a calf out of it, and the people began to worship an idol.
All it took was a 40 day “spell of waiting” for the Israelites to exchange their relationship with the One True God for a vastly inferior substitute. And the irony is that they actually thought they were making a wise decision. They thought they would be better off worshiping an inanimate hunk of gold than continuing to wait on the Lord that they knew from personal experience was trustworthy!
When I’m in a “spell of waiting”, I sure am glad I never tire of waiting on God. I never wonder what He’s doing, or if He is snoozing on the job. I never try to take control. I never fashion substitute gods out of ice cream or people or entertainment to meet my needs in the interim. I never think pursuing those substitutes is wise or will make me better off than continuing to wait on the Lord that I know from personal experience is trustworthy…
Have I ever told you that I think sarcasm is my spiritual gift?
The truth is waiting sucks. Or, more accurately, we suck at waiting. It is hard and no fun and even torturous at times. But we can get through it. And if we get through it without trying to take control, all the better. God uses “spells of waiting” to mature our faith in Him.
Waiting is like eating healthy – nobody likes to, but, supposedly, it’s good for us.