This is a bit of a throwback article for me. I wrote it in early 2016 a few months before graduating from Dallas Seminary. The message is just as relevant today as it was back then. Enjoy. - Scott
Douglas Adams, who wrote The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series, created a deity character called The Great Prophet Zarquon, whose devout followers waited a great many millennia for his inevitable return. They eventually gathered at Milliway’s, the restaurant at the end of the universe to watch the universe explode within a protective bubble (yes, it’s science fiction). With five seconds remaining, Zarquon makes his triumphal return, exclaiming, “Hello, everyone. Sorry for the delay…all sorts of things cropping up at the last moment. How are we for time?”
Do you ever feel like waiting on God is like waiting for the end of the universe? However grossly arrogant and self-centred such a feeling might be, I want to give us all a temporary pass to reflect on the profound frustration that often comes from the timing of God in answering prayer, or solving our problems, or sending Jesus back. To properly articulate this frustration, I have a little story to tell.
Way back in 2013, when I was young and naïve as a forty-five year-old, I started graduate work as a seminary student, intent that one day I would teach college classes as a university professor, grow a beard, learn to wear frumpy blazers, and talk way above everybody’s head. I couldn’t fail; this was God’s certified plan for my life.
Another thing I was certain of: I was not going to become a pastor, in contrast to many of my colleagues. I knew that I did not have the patience to sit in a church office for hours every day listening to sweet Mr. and Mrs. McGillicutty tell me all about the problems they have with their sex life.
Three years later, as I approach the finish line, I can say two things with certainty: I’m not going to be a college professor and I am being called to pastoral ministry. The Master Comedian has once again brought the house down.
Even now, with my newfound “certainty” about the future, I can’t even tell you that I know when or where I might be a pastor. I can’t tell you what denomination, whether or not I will get paid, what kind of pastoral duties I might have, etc. In short, other than the calling itself, I know nothing. Graduation is in three months, and I know less than Donald Trump does about diplomacy. Yep, frustrating doesn’t begin to cover it.
However, what I have also learned over the last three years is that this is where the Lord wants all of us to be: in a place of uncertainty about the direction of our lives. After receiving the promise of a child and a nation, the seventy-five year-old Abraham and the sixty-five year-old Sarah waited another twenty-five years before Isaac was born. She had been barren all her life and at one hundred years of age, Abraham was beginning to think that his ability to make babies had packed its bags and left. Yet, God’s timing—which looked nothing like Abraham and Sarah’s timing—was perfect. It placed the elderly couple in a position that required them to trust God and wait.
God’s plan for the direction of our lives is secondary to the greater plan of seeing His children trust in Him, happy and willing to wait for His perfect timing.
I need a job after graduation. Maybe my new part-time writing job will expand. Maybe the Lord will provide another. Maybe he’ll flip the tables upside-down and move my family to Zimbabwe, however unlikely that may seem. Crazier yet, maybe he’ll move us to New York or California (May it never be)! Pleasant or not, nothing beats waiting on God.
“They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint” (Isaiah 40:31).
So, consider the great privilege we have in waiting on God. Since His timing is perfect, and His plan for us always beats the pants off the lame ones we come up with on our own, the only question is, why wouldn’t we wait on Him?
If you are a practicing Christian, here is something you need to hear. If your heart and mind is that the addicted, impoverished, and broken people dug their own grave and the rest of society is not responsible for their bad mistakes, then I ask you to wake up.