“Just a moment please”. How many times have you heard that phase? It is said in many different ways. That is especially true when we call a company for information or customer service. Typically the number we might call will ask you to press certain numbers for a specific language preference. Once you have selected the language there are other questions concerning the reason you are calling and ask you to select the number for that particular service. There are times that our question might not fit any of the categories. What then? If you do select a category – right or wrong- most of the time the next thing you hear is, “All of our agents are busy at this time. Your call will be answered in the order that it was received. The average weight time is X number of minutes.” I particularly like the one that states, “If you do not want to wait please enter you phone number and we will call you back in the order that we received your call.” I have done that on a few occasions and when I finally receive the return phone call it is long past the wait time that was suggested when I first called.
There are other times we wait. I remember when my son was about 4 or 5 and I first took him fishing. I would cast out the line with a red and white bobber on it. With excited anticipation we would wait for that first tug. Sometimes the bobber seemed to float for what seemed an inordinate amount of time. Ripples on the water would slowly lift and settle the bobber and hopes would rise with each ripple thinking it was an indication there was fish playing with the bait. It was hard to wait for that full tug drawing the bobber underwater. After waiting for what seemed like hours the first reaction was to try to set the hook while the fish was playing with the bait. And when the fish finally took the bait and the bobber when under water the hook was set. We practiced catch and release but the fun and joy of fishing together will remain in our memories.
Like waiting on the telephone or waiting for the fish to finally take the bait we learn through our experiences that God’s timing is the best timing. It is hard to wait when you feel God is leading you to a new adventure, a new ministry, a new mission, a new phase in your walk with Him. It is His timing and if we listen He will lead us. The Israelites in the desert learned the lesson of following and being obedient to God. He was the one who set the pace and in doing so dwelt with them. As long as they followed His lead He was with them and blessed them. For them it must have been hard like it is for us wondering when something was going to happen. In the book of Numbers in the Hebrew Bible we get a picture of what it must have been like to wait on God to act.
Numbers 9:21-22 21 Sometimes the cloud would remain from evening until morning; and when the cloud lifted in the morning, they would set out, or if it continued for a day and a night, when the cloud lifted they would set out. 22 Whether it was two days, or a month, or a longer time, that the cloud continued over the tabernacle, resting upon it, the Israelites would remain in camp and would not set out; but when it lifted they would set out.
In a society where we desire instant gratification it is hard for us to wait. We do it because we have to do it and not always because we want to do it. Our nature is to get anxious and our patience wears thin and at times our hope wanes. We ask “God where are you?” or “How much longer God?” What is important to remember is God’s timing is perfect. It is in His timing that we are being prepared for the task at hand. What if David had become king immediately after Samuel had anointed him? What if Joseph had not endured what he did when he was in Pharaoh’s court? What if Moses had gone back to Egypt before God had sent him?
It is during this time that we learn, we prepare, and we listen to God’s voice. It is during this time God solidifies His plan over our plan. It is a time we learn to pray and discern His will. Elijah thought his ministry was over but God had more for him to do. Elijah hid in a cave seeking God. It was in the stillness that Elijah was able to hear God’s voice. It wasn’t clouded by other sounds or distractions. [1 Kings 19:12-13 12 After the earthquake came a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. 13 When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave. Then a voice said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”]
God calls all of us – not just some. We are all called to do ministry for Him and share His grace, love, and mercy with the world. What that call is is based on our gifts. The good news, the gospel, is not passive it is active. God will direct you; God will lead you; God will speak to you through the Holy Spirit; God will accomplish His purpose through you. And God may say “Just a moment, please”.