The Art of Waiting
by Krystal Ribble
We live in a world of “instant” everything. If I want hot popcorn, I have to wait less than three minutes. If I want to see my mom, I can wait three seconds for her to pick up a FaceTime call. If I want to send money to my best friend in California, she will get it in an instant when I send it through a cash app on my phone. We live in a world where the art of “waiting” is a thing of the past.
Delayed gratification is not something my children know very well. I can recall a very recent conversation with my ten-year-old son as we were watching a television in a doctor’s office waiting room. In between the cartoons they were showing, there were commercials. He asked me if we could ask for the remote to skip them. I told him this was “live tv” and that was not an option. He looked at me as if I had two heads.
“What does that mean, Mom?”
“Well, it means this is not prerecorded to be able to skip or fast forward through. You watch the whole thing, commercials and all.”
I then began to sound like my grandfather when I explained that “back in my day” this is how all TV was and I couldn’t just pull up whatever show I wanted to watch instantly. I had to wait until the chosen time by the network for it to air. His mind was blown. He thought I was talking about something that wasn’t even real. If you ever want to feel old and you are in your thirties like me, try to explain this to a ten-year-old.
My son doesn’t have to know what delayed gratification is. He doesn’t have to know what it’s like to wait for something unless I insert that type of time period into his life. As his Mom and Dad, we cause the delay of playing his video games or the delay in watching a show; not some network who did not schedule his show for a certain time.
While my experience of waiting for my favorite cartoon to air when I was a child does not resonate or mean anything to him now, there may be a day when my other seasons of waiting will make more sense to him.
I have a story of waiting for him to become my son. We adopted him when he was four years old, and I waited for all of the right paperwork and meetings and timing to align so we could bring him home. Again, this timeline does not mean a lot to him now, but one day, he will have his own experiences that will bring my waiting seasons into view for him.
I speak about the journey to bring him home as a waiting season, and while that is true, that waiting season was a time when I had deep faith pointed in one direction. That faith, the faith that my Lord would do what He had promised, is the faith I want to pass on to my son one day.
When I think about deep faith pointed in one direction, my mind often drifts to Moses. Here was a man who was tasked with leading God’s people to the Promised Land; and all with just the word of the Lord as his guide.
We can find the beginning of this journey in Exodus chapter 6 and then in the many chapters and books following. The Lord has Moses ask Pharaoh to let the Lord’s people go and Moses would then proceed to lead them on a forty-year journey to the Promised Land.
We read this story so quickly. It can take us a relatively small amount of time to get through this entire account and see when they made it to the place the Lord had created for them. However, we know that forty years is a long time to be waiting to receive a promise from the Lord. And for Moses, this became a lifetime.
You see, Moses never fully made it to the Promised Land he was believing God for. The Lord set in motion his faith and determination so that he would be able to lead all the people of the Lord out of slavery and into freedom, but Moses himself would never make it all the way there before he died.
Deuteronomy 34:4-5 (ESV) shows us when the Lord allowed Moses to see the Promised Land from afar. The Scripture says, “And the Lord said to him, “This is the land of which I swore to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, ‘I will give it to your offspring.’ I have let you see it with your eyes, but you shall not go over there.” So, Moses the servant of the Lord died there in the land of Moab, according to the word of the Lord.”
Moses’ faith in the Lord is what led an entire nation of people to the plan God had for them all along. Personally, when I have faith the Lord will do something, I usually believe I will live to see it. But what if the Lord is calling us to have the faith of Moses; to move our lives, and other people’s lives, in a certain direction that we will never live to see? What if you are supposed to have faith that will outlive you?
While I hope the seasons of waiting the Lord took me through will one day teach my sons something, I hope even more that the faith I displayed and poured into their lives will be the driving force for pursuing God’s will for their lives. I want my faith, and my belief that the Lord has a place in His Kingdom just for them, to outlive me.
I love what Deuteronomy 34:7 (ESV) says about Moses: “Moses was 120 years old when he died. His eye was undimmed, and his vigor unabated.”
Undimmed and unabated. Undimmed means there was not a lack of light and unabated can mean there was no reduction in intensity or strength. What words to be said of a man after the Lord’s heart! Moses’ faith was as intense the day he died as the day the Lord set him out to bring the people of Israel home. The art of waiting ended up defining Moses’ life and work.
My hope is that we can all find the courage to believe the Lord when He speaks; and not just believe Him, but follow His commands with the faith of Moses. Your obedience now may just be the very thing that leads someone to God’s ultimate will for their lives; even if you never live to see it.
Stay steady my friend. Trust His voice. Let your faith outlive you.
Krystal Ribble is a freelance writer and author of The Church’s Orphans and Love Me in the Waiting (releasing April 2021). She aims to breathe new life into and bring a modern understanding to the stories we’ve read about in the Bible all our lives, showing readers how those stories are still relevant today. Krystal earned a Master of Arts in Christian Leadership from Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary and Graduate School. She now lives in Nashville, Tennessee, with her husband, Jared, and their three boys. Find out more about Krystal at www.krystalribble.com and by following @krystalribble on Instagram.
We’d like to hear from you. Please share your comments below or like us on your Facebook page. Be sure to check back each month for more articles and products available at your local Christian bookstore.