Then the woman gave birth to a son and named him Samson; and the child grew up and the Lord blessed him.Judges 13:24
Patience. And perspective. That has been my counsel to numerous people over the years. But neither of those two words sit very well with most of us. We can’t wait for anything. We want everything YESTERDAY!!! Seriously. We are the generation that screams at microwave popcorn. If the local bank has more than two cars in line, we drive off because waiting a couple of minutes is out of the question. Fast food? Hah! That’s a laugh. We fast forward through commercials, skip ahead to the last chapter, risk a ticket because we refuse to stop at the yellow light, and we will literally run people down at the local Wal-Mart just so we can be first in line. Patience may be a virtue for some people but it certainly is lacking for most of the rest of us.
Now, the reason I couple patience and perspective together is because of much of our impatient stems from a lack of perspective. Take the life of Samson for example. God’s call on his life was announced before Samson was ever conceived. The angel of the Lord had told his mother that he would, “be a Nazarite to God from the womb; and he shall begin to deliver Israel from the hands of the Philistines.” No confusion or questions as to Samson’s direction in life. His parents knew his manner of life and his divinely appointed work. From the time that Samson was first conceived his life was already mapped out.
But here’s an important consideration. The Nazarite calling? That went into effect before Samson was ever born. But his work as a deliverer? Samson grew into that role. Don’t believe me? Just look at the text. Samson started off as an infant. He was no child prodigy. No spectacular feats of strength as a teenager. He wasn’t Superboy. Absolutely nothing until he reached the age of marriage, i.e. manhood. And up until that point in time the Bible only gives us one piece of information, “…the child grew up…” So, let’s make sure we are all in agreement here, what did Samson do during the first part of his life? That’s right. He grew. The calling was ever-present but there was a process that could not be bypassed.
That one thought should give each of us incredible comfort. Many things in the kingdom of God require waiting. The reason the Bible talks so much about the value of patience is that you just aren’t going to make it very long without it. Just like Samson, we need to recognize that some things take time. It took time for Samson to grow into his divinely appointed role as Israel’s next great deliverer. In the same manner, it takes time to grow up into spiritual maturity. It takes time to develop godly character and disciplines. Sometimes the outworking of your deliverance and freedom can take time. (That statement will bother some of you. Yes, I believe in instant deliverance. Experienced it myself, personally. But I have also spent years working with addicts whose experience could best be described as a daily “walking out” of their habit.) Inheriting the promises? It can take time. We all want instant change and overnight results but we forget that the God who designed the process is the One who makes a caterpillar remain cocooned before it ever becomes a butterfly.
Waiting for demands faith. That’s the bottom line. We want God to do His thing according to our time-table. But God has a plan and He has a perfectly appointed time. God is never late. But He is never early either. So, let me tell you the same thing I have been telling other people for years (myself included). Be patient. God will not fail you. He remains faithful through every season of life. It might seem impossible right now but in the fulness of time, He will cause all things in your life to work together for the good. That’s His promise. And He never fails to keep his Word. But in addition to being patient, you should also ask God for some perspective. James says it this way, “…if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him.” If you are confused about the waiting, just ask God for a little clarity. Turn to Him in prayer. Turn to His word with an open heart. Let God grant you perspective. Let God lovingly remind you that just because you have been waiting, it doesn’t mean that He has forgotten. Remember, like Samson, some things just take time.