“I’ll just order it online…”
“Let’s order some coffee from Amazon…”
“If I don’t like it, I can always send it back…”
I’m willing to bet that we’ve all said something along these lines recently when we want/need something. At one point, we just had the world at our fingertips with our smartphones, but now we can have to world delivered straight to our door! And depending on your preference, you don’t even have to leave your couch! I can order music and movies and such straight to my phone without getting up! The thing is, we’ve become so used to instant gratification that we get fussy when we have to wait more than 2 days for something to come to us. And this isn’t a generational issue; I know millennials and boomers alike that both need a hard lesson in patience. These things aren’t inherently bad either; it’s simply a matter of the heart.
Often times, our lack in one area of our life will inevitably affect another. My lack of patience with Amazon affected my patience with my son Conri, and when I got home that day I was short with him when all he wanted to do was play with me (talk about a humbling “I’m sorry buddy” when I realized). It’s really a control issue; we want to control what’s going on, and when we can’t, we act out somewhere else in our life.
I want to control how my wife does the dishes and don’t appreciate the fact that she’s doing them. I want to be able to order some sort of “Listening 101” package for my toddler so he’ll listen to me when I say “No” for the tenth time, but then I miss the little moments because I’m too focused on what he’s not doing right rather than the things he’s doing really well. I wish I could control my infant’s right arm from pulling my beard, and in that moment, I lose perspective that he’s smiling and happy that I’m finally home. Control might seem nice in the moment, immediate satisfaction might sound super pleasing, but the reality is that when it’s premature it’ll cause more problems than we might want to admit.
That’s one of the things I love about God—no matter how much I try to kick and scream like a child, I can’t order God. There’s no 2-day shipping process where He shows up at my front door, no instant ordering mechanic within Him that makes Him answer my prayers. Part of the very nature of God is patience. Waiting on the Lord isn’t a chore or even a simple choice at times, sometimes it’s a battle to be patient for the promise to come. But the outcome is always better than we could ever imagine.
Luke 10:38-42 shows us how Martha wanted to control the setting for Jesus to come; she wanted their home to be clean and for food to be ready so much that she became angry at Mary because she couldn’t control her and order her to clean with her. However, then we see that Mary was blessed because she waited and soaked up everything Jesus said when He came to visit. Jesus came into their messy house and wanted to spend time with them. This is a good reminder that Jesus isn’t afraid of our mess.
One of my favorite stories of giving up our control comes from Genesis 29. Jacob loved Rachel so much he was willing to work for 7 years! When he was deceived and given her sister Leah instead, he persisted another 7 years for Rachel. He patiently waited and worked for 14 years total before he could finally marry the one he loved, the one he was promised– Rachel. Jacob didn’t try to control the situation (beyond some complaining), but he waited for her. He didn’t let his lack of control affect another part of his life. He didn’t try to order God to give her to him sooner. Jacob didn’t wait for her to come to him; he did everything he could to go to her.
Jesus didn’t just wait for us to come to Him in heaven; He came to meet us and die for us here on Earth first.
Our Father doesn’t just stand-by and watch us grow up, but He leads and loves us like the loving Father He is.
The Spirit doesn’t just go about spreading His glory without us, He matures us and sanctifies us so that we can do it together.
We can’t order God, expecting Him to do something in 2 days, we patiently wait at His feet as He leads and loves us into a clearer picture of Him
We can’t express ship His promises to come; we work and wait in His presence until He says we’re ready to receive.
We don’t control God or His Glory, but we can control our hearts as we wait for His return.