Being stuck in an endless check-out line. Cut off in traffic by a careless driver. Faced with yet another act of defiance from your two-year old toddler. Impatience-provoking scenarios come in oh so many forms.
These everyday confrontations are the seedbeds for patience development; they prepare us for the bigger challenges, like the ones that crop up as we wait on God to answer a prayer or fulfill a promise. We’ve waited, prayed, waited some more, and still ….nothing. We determine God is no longer interested so we figure we’ll have to take the situation into our own hands. Not unlike the Israelites when they tired of waiting on Moses.
Moses had left the newly exiled nation to climb Mt Sinai and meet with God. After forty days he returned, Ten Commandments in hand. As he made his way down the mountain and back to the people, the sounds of shouting and singing met his ears (Exodus 32). But the songs he heard were not those of praise to God. The people had gotten tired of waiting on Moses to come back so they made an idol—visible, immediate, self-fashioned—viola’ the golden calf. Only forty days and they were already partying to their new god!
How different if those praises would have been offered to God rather than a worthless image. What if Israel had not so easily given up on Him? What if they were still singing praises to God after three months, after two years, after a decade? What if we, when faced with uncertain circumstances, decided to wait on the Lord? What if we determined to still praise him after three months, after two years, after a decade? Sadly, like Israel, we may never know.
So when it seems God is delaying, don’t get impatient in the process and make a golden calf. Patience in tough times not only “renews our strength” but also displays stunning confidence in a God who is worth waiting for.