Who doesn’t jump at a great opportunity? Friends invite us to a concert. A job opens that fits our skills and seems to be an answer to prayer. The house we’ve admired comes on the market. We respond and shout “Yes!”.
Those events are common opportunities that put a smile on our face, but what about those we don’t recognize? I think some opportunities wear disguises and don’t appear as opportunities at all. We resist them.
Such was the case in Exodus 32:1 (NIV) “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.’”
The Israelites were presented with an opportunity to wait but failed the test. The rest of the passage details their plan. Take off their gold, make an altar, make a calf. Eat, drink and play. In other words, instead of waiting to hear from Moses who was meeting with God, they took things into their hands and the results were disastrous. (Exodus 32)
We all wait…
I don’t know about you, but, like the Israelites, I don’t especially enjoy waiting. I rarely see waiting as an opportunity.
- I don’t like flipping through magazines in a doctor’s waiting room, while he is running late for appointments.
- I don’t like waiting on answers to prayer when it seems so obvious for God to act now.
- I don’t like waiting for medical test results.
- I don’t like waiting for rain to stop while I’m trapped in a store.
- I don’t like waiting for a conflict to be resolved.
- I don’t like waiting for responses from editors to writing submissions.
But, maybe in “waiting room waiting”…
- I’d learn something through reading an article, or engaging in conversation with another patient and encourage her and I could redeem the time.
- I’d learn to trust God in difficult situations that drag out.
- I’d develop patience.
- I’d learn to see and remember God’s promises and character in reading His Word.
- I’d examine my character, behavior, and weaknesses.
- I’d continue to work in the wait and persevere.
- I’d allow the fruit of the Spirit to flow in my life in challenges, so I nourish others.
Look for the disguise…
We are often tempted to take things into our hands and run ahead of God; to sigh in exasperation as the clock ticks and the calendar dates move; to do —maybe manipulate—instead of praying; to embrace our perspective and overlook or minimize God’s.
The Israelites took to impatience, fed their feelings, and compensated with distractions. While they were planning, discussing, and eventually worshipping an idol, God was behind the scenes working. They missed the blessing in waiting.
We may be tempted to do the same. But if we look at the golden calf, the results were disastrous. God is at work in delays, when we don’t see an immediate answer, progress, or results.
So, my prayer for myself, is to take off the disguise of waiting and see it as an opportunity to learn, and look at the benefits associated with it. It’s a process and a discipline, and isn’t easy.
What about you?
Have you seen disguises? What don’t you like waiting for? Is waiting your opportunity? How? Share with us what you have learned.