by Brandy Webb
There are many themes in the Bible that are interwoven from the beginning to the end. Salvation is the biggest. Another theme is what I call the “time test.” I have noticed that the majority, if not all, of God’s people that He works with and through in the Bible were tested on how well they could wait on the Lord. They were given a “time test” to increase their patience, endurance, strength, and faith.
We all know their stories. Noah, who may have had to wait a hundred years before the floods came, is one example. We know that he had his sons by 500 years old, and sometime shortly after that God gives him the decree to build an ark (Genesis 5:32; 6:13-14). The floods didn’t come until he was 600 years old (Genesis 7:11). That is a really long time to build a boat in the middle of dry ground. I wonder what the people at that time thought about him, and I wonder if he sometimes had his own doubts. I can only speculate.
We also know that Abraham had to wait twenty-five years for Isaac to be born (Genesis 12 & 21). Plus there is Joseph, sold into slavery at 17. He waited patiently on God for twenty-two years for his dreams to be fully fulfilled (Genesis 45:6). What amazes me about Joseph is the fact that he didn’t yell at his brothers. In fact, he states one of my favorite statements in the Bible: “As for you, what you intended against me for evil, God intended for good” (Genesis 50:20a).
David, a man after God’s own heart, also knew a thing about waiting on the Lord. I think that is why he reminds us to wait on God multiple times in the Psalms. He was anointed king when he was probably a teenager. However, he was thirty years old when he finally became king (2 Samuel 5:4), and those years were not easy to live through for him.
These are just a few people from the Bible. There are so many more. Moses, Job, Elijah, the disciples, etc. They had to be patient in their faith to pass the time test. Why? Because when we try to force things into our timeline, it messes everything up. All the patriarchs of faith made mistakes. They were human. Abraham tried to solve the no-offspring problem himself and had Ishmael. That one decision has affected every generation since. What is awesome is that God knows that we can be impatient, so He does have the ability to make something good come out of our mistakes.
I know firsthand how hard it is to wait on God’s timing. I also have had to pay the consequences for “jumping the gun.” We live in a time of instant gratification. We don’t even have to drive to a library and search a card catalogue to research something. All we have to do is say: “Hey Google, what is….” Or “Hey Siri….” or “Hey Alexa….” We have constant information at our fingertips instantly. We have shorter shipping times, mobile deposits, cell phones, pre-purchase tickets so no need to stand in line, and so many other things. Waiting for something seems to be archaic these days.
However, what does this do to us deep down? How does the constant fast-lane living affect us? I’m starting to believe that one effect, at least for me, is that I am becoming more and more impatient. Waiting is a chore. Waiting causes stress. Waiting causes frustration. I’m just being honest. The truth is, though, I need to practice waiting. I need to embrace what God says, “Be still, and know that I am God,” and He’s got this (Psalm 46:10). I need to slow down, so that I can pass God’s time test. When we wait patiently our stress levels go down, anxiety disappears, attention spans increase, peace can fill our hearts, hope flows, and joy abounds. I know from experience on the few times that I finally “let go and let God.” David said it best in the 27th Psalm, verse 14: “Wait patiently for the LORD; be strong and courageous. Wait patiently for the LORD.”