We live in an immediate gratification world, don’t we? We can mobile order our coffee and walk in and pick it up and we can pre-select our groceries to get them delivered to our car. There is no waiting in our modern-day world. The same thing can be applied to our lives and the expectations we have. The mantra is go out and get what you want, do whatever you need to do to get it and get it as soon as you can.
But haven’t you noticed that’s not how God works? That if you’re being honest with yourself, like I have myself, a life walking with God is a life walking in waiting.
Am I the only one waiting on God for fulfilled promises in my life? Or are you too? If you’re not, there very easily will come a moment where God does ask you to wait on Him to move. Those moments are hard and sometimes, can cause deep disappointment and disillusionment towards God and His goodness.
To be honest, I was experiencing that disappointment on my birthday. I had a hard time celebrating all that God had done in my life (which is much) because I also had disappointment of the things I thought would have happened by now in my life: to be married, to have a beautiful and big home, to be walking in all my dreams in ministry. Instead in these areas, I felt like God has asked me to simply wait.
But in my moment of prayer with God, He showed me something that I hope to pass along to you as an encouragement if you find yourself in the waiting season.
Galatians 5:22 says that the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Yes, longsuffering IS a fruit of the Holy Spirit. What is longsuffering? Longsuffering having or showing patience in spite of troubles. It is having the ability to wait despite the pain in which waiting causes. The bible says that ability is a fruit of the Holy Spirit in our lives.
You want to know what God told me, He told me that He was developing the fruit of longsuffering in my life as He asked me to wait on these desires to be fulfilled. That actually by having me wait, He was teaching me something far greater.
You see, learning how to longsuffer and having that fruit in our life isn’t just about getting that thing fulfilled, God can fulfill any of those desires in an instant. But what He does is as we learn the muscle of longsuffering for these deep desires of our hearts, we actually build a muscle to longsuffer for the more important things.
Hebrews 11 recounts all the people of old whose faith we should remember and model our lives after. After going through a specific list of people from the Old Testament, Hebrews 11:13 says “All these people died still believing what God had promised them. They did not receive what was promised, but they saw it all from a distance and welcomed it. They agreed that they were foreigners and nomads here on earth.” This verse is saying that these people who made it into the hall of fame for their faith were people who saw the promises of God on this earth as much bigger than themselves, they saw the true picture of the Kingdom of God. They were willing to longsuffer for something far greater than themselves.
I propose that God asks us to develop the fruit of longsuffering in our lives not to simply wait on fulfilled promises in our own lives (which are amazing and absolutely a part) but because God is teaching us how to look far beyond into the greatness of the Kingdom of God coming here on earth and be willing to partner with Him on helping make that great vision possible in the ways in which He has called us.
MLK saw a vision of the Kingdom of God coming to earth and bring racial reconciliation. He saw long past his own life and had a vision of this fulfillment that lasted long beyond his lifetime. Mother Teresa was the same, she saw a vision of the restoration of human life and dignity in the Kingdom of God that she chose to help usher in through her own life of helping the sick and dying. See, these people were able to understand that longsuffering is what is asked of us if we fully are to partner with God on bring His Kingdom on earth as it is in heaven.
So my friend, I counter you this if you find yourself waiting a long long time for God to fufill a promise (or two) in your life – rejoice! It means that God is growing you in an ability to longsuffer for great moves of His Kingdom. That He has great plans for your life not only for amazing, blessed promises to be fulfilled, but also great Kingdom impact. Because you’ll understand the true fruit of longsuffering and the great rewards that come from waiting on God.