How often God must look down on us, hurrying and beseeching and pushing to get our way. He must smile and say to Himself, “Oh child, if you could only see what I have planned for you. Don’t rush it.”
The pilgrims ascending to Jerusalem sang His praises because they were in the midst of great blessings. God had answered years of prayers and heartache with joy.
Years. There is the key word.
When I read the story of the Israelites wandering the desert for 40 years, I often cringe inside thinking, “Wow. Many people then didn’t even live to 40, they spent their entire lives in the desert.” And yet, leader after leader showed up, obeyed God’s direction, and steered them to a place where they could rejoice and give thanks for what generations had longed for. God had a plan in the middle of what they all thought was a giant mess. He was patient with their sins because He knew if they could hold on, what He had in store would be worth it.
It simply took much longer than anyone else thought.
We are surrounded by deserts in our own lives all the time. Each of us faces reasons to become impatient, to be short with each other. In Ephesians, Paul writes, “…be patient with each other…” (Ephesians 4:2 NLT) and of all virtues, this tends to be one where I struggle the most. I can give God a few weeks, if I’m feeling generous maybe months, to work things out for me. People in my life? That needs to be almost instant.
Both cause me to stumble with my ability to love and my faith in God. My timing isn’t His. It shouldn’t be pushed on others. I need to praise Him in the desert, where my patience finds faith and clings to it when I can’t imagine what is taking so long.