Spiritual Director · March 15, 2017

Devote #14


Waiting can be one of the most excruciating times in one’s life. I hate waiting. When I need to varnish something, I just want the varnish to dry so I can sand it and varnish it again, so to get it done.

I hate waiting in line. Have you ever been in the store and the cashiers lines were all backed up and then they opened another lane? You thought to yourself, “should I go?” or “I’m so close… should I stay?” And then remember the time you made the decision to do one or the other, but, yah, it was the wrong decision?

When I order something online, I just want it to come immediately. I hate reading that it’s going to take two weeks for delivery. By that time, I’ve already forgot I ordered it! Can you imagine my surprise when it comes.

I guess a person who has difficulty waiting would probably be called impatient. In our impatience we want fast results, quick actions, split decisions. It reminds me of the saying, “Let’s run it up the old flagpole and see if God salutes.” But if God isn’t fast enough in answering our request we’re very quick at bringing the flag back down from the old flagpole and handle it ourselves. What we’d say, “Taking matters into our own hands.” It’s really a case of impatience.

I thought of my impatience today as I read my Bible. Here’s the verse that jolted me…

“The LORD had told the people to give Joshua whatever town he wanted.” —Joshua 19:50

Let me explain. God had told Joshua to divide up all the Promised Land for the remaining tribes of Israel. When Joshua was all done there was nothing left. He gave it all away.

That’s so contrary to what we generally do. If given the opportunity, we’d probably pick what we wanted first and then divvy up the rest. But not Joshua. He did what God told him to do – give out the land. And then without any seeming expectations, when everything was all gone, he never asked, “What about me? What do I get?” It wasn’t until God stepped in that Joshua received what was promised to him by God and he received his portion last.

Here’s my word of encouragement for you today

Impatience is really all about me. Impatience is self-centered, self-motivated, and self-important. But the problem with impatience is, it doesn’t leave any room for God. As a matter of fact it pushes Him out of the way and I’m not sure either one of us really wants to do that.

Humbly wait on God. Be patient! He’s still in control and still provides your daily bread! He’s never too early and He’s never too late. And He’s never impatient with us!

Forgive me for my impatience with You and others. Holy Spirit, help me to patiently wait on You, Your prompting… Your leading. In Jesus name I ask this, Amen.

—Rev. Dr. MM Marxhausen

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Mark was Spiritual Director for VdC from 2016 to 2019. He's written many of the devotions, especially the Devote and Affirm series, found on this website.