The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him. It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord. [Lamentations 3:25-26 (ESV)]
Back in his college days, my husband and several friends were on a lonely stretch of road when they had to stop for a red light. In the middle of nowhere, the light remained red for what seemed like an eternity. It wasn’t the stopping that annoyed the driver; it was the waiting. So, after looking in all directions, with no other cars in sight, he drove through the intersection. Actually, there was one other car, just not in sight: a police car! The driver was ticketed. Clearly, impatience can be expensive.
Sometimes impatience can cost more than a traffic fine. When taking a commuter train into the city not long ago, we were stopped for a matter of hours. Why? A driver had grown impatient at the rail crossing and unsuccessfully tried to beat the train across the tracks. His impatience was disastrous and cost his life.
The average red light lasts about 90 to 120 seconds, or as one blogger put it: ”Five seconds less than the time it takes to get out a cigarette, light it and open the window!” A commuter train usually stops for less than five minutes and probably passes through intersections within two to three minutes. Red lights and crossing gates don’t mean we can’t make progress; they simply mean that it’s time to wait. How busy are we that we can’t wait a few minutes to proceed with our lives?
King Saul grew impatient. The prophet Samuel told him to go to Gilgal and wait seven days until Samuel’s arrival, at which time Saul would be told by God what action his army should take. Saul went to Gilgal but grew impatient when that seventh day rolled around. As his army began to grow restless, the king panicked and took on the role of priest by making a ceremonial burnt offering. Just as the ceremony was finished, Samuel arrived, exactly as he’d promised. He rebuked Saul for taking matters into his own hands. Saul ran the red light by disobeying God’s instructions given through the prophet Samuel. He ignored the crossing gates and, as a result, was told that his kingdom would not endure.
How patient are we when we pray? When we bring our requests to God, do we bother to wait for his reply? Or, do we bring our plans to God, expecting his immediate stamp of approval, and proceed on our own, never waiting to see what He has to say? God’s not our trusted confidant; he’s our boss. His job isn’t to rubber stamp our plans; our job is to follow His plans. Sometimes He gives us red lights or lowers the gates. Do we patiently wait or do we speed through the intersections or across the tracks? Impatience can be expensive, impatience can be disastrous, and impatience could even cost us a kingdom!