Impatience Versus Expectancy

I find myself falling prey to the “now culture” we live in. Everything is fast, break-neck, immediate. Texts travel from my phone around the world in an instant, and time differences notwithstanding, I can get an answer back from my team in another instant. At the the stroke of a key, emails disappear with a whoosh, and land in my associate’s inbox in Florida, or across town, or just down the stairs on my husband’s laptop. I drive through Chic-fil-a for their free breakfast on Tuesday morning and spend fewer than 5 minutes in line, and less than a minute between ordering and picking up my hot, yummy breakfast at the window. I hop on an airplane one evening and arrive across the world the next. I often joke with my kids that I’m a time traveler since I leap about 12 hours forward in time on my trips to Asia.

The problem is that all this immediacy keeps me racing, expecting, demanding. FAST is the order of the instant! And I often find this attitude creeping into my relationship with the Lord, specifically in my prayer life.

I pray for good things, healthy things, his hand healing relationships, his power and presence evident in broken situations, healing for Joel, healing for my friend with cancer, spiritual wisdom for my missionary friends around the globe. But I wait, and wait. I pray again. I wonder why something isn’t happening. I wonder why I’m still waiting. I know God is good. I know he is all-powerful. And I know he is working good in my life. So why all this waiting?

Recently I was talking to a friend about prayers that seem to go unanswered. She looked at a tree in my yard and commented, “It’s just that we don’t have the patience to wait for the oak to grow. I mean when I think of how long God designed for that tree there to take for growing strong and tall, I realize that he isn’t always about the fastest route.”   I know she’s right. I see it in so many stories in the Bible. God’s promise to Abram took decades, centuries, more than a millennia to fulfill. God’s choice of David as king took decades to become a reality. Moses wandered on the backside of the desert for forty years after his first blundering attempt to defend his people. And then God showed up and called him forth out of his wanderings. There are more. So many more stories of long waits, punctuated by God’s purposeful presence and direction.

In my own life I am learning to walk the ridge poll between impatience and expectancy. Impatience demands. Expectancy asks. Impatience whines. Expectancy rejoices. Impatience manipulates. Expectancy holds out open hands. Impatience breeds discontent. Expectancy breeds anticipation.

I long to live my life in expectancy, asking for His will, rejoicing in His movement,  holding out open hands and anticipating His ultimate good in my life, in our church, in our city and indeed in the world.


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