If you want to hear the Lord speak, then don’t be hasty. Understand that you might have to wade your way through a storm, and earthquake, and the fire. And know that those things might take a while. A long while.
I don’t like to wait.
Neither do you.
To be fair, it’s not all our fault, is it? Part of our hatred of waiting involves the culture we have been born and raised inside of. Everyone, everywhere, and in everything is constantly looking for a more efficient way to do whatever it is that they’re trying to do. We need faster wait times at the airport. We need to move more cars off the roads and more people into public transportation to reduce traffic and therefore our time spent waiting in vehicles. We need people to answer our email or text message quickly, on our time table, so that we can move onto the next task. And of course, we’ll soon have the drones. All to make sure we can maximize our time and not waste any of it in waiting.
This is problematic for the Christian because in a culture that’s bent on eliminating the need to wait, we are the people who believe (supposedly) in things that we cannot see. That are not readily apparent. That are coming, and yet have not yet come. To be a Christian means to be someone who waits, whether we like it or not.
This is not a new thing. The people of God have always had to grow in this characteristic. There were the 400 years of slavery in Egypt when the people waited. There was the 70 years spent in captivity when the exiles waited. There was the other 400 years between the Old and New Testament when the faithful waited. And here, now, we still wait, for Jesus to split the sky and come back and make everything bad come untrue.
So, too, is waiting essential for those who truly want to hear the voice of God.
Maybe you know the story – it’s one of the classic texts we point to that shows us the nature of God’s voice. The setting is one of danger, for the prophet Elijah had made an enemy of the wicked Queen Jezebel. Under threat of his life, God’s man fled out to the wilderness, and there he heard the voice of the Lord:
Then the word of the LORD came to him, and He said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”