The town in which we lived in Tennessee had a restaurant that marketed a different approach to “fast food.” Although the style was strictly drive-thru, and all they sold was the standard fast food fare, they didn’t call it fast food. The marketing tag they preferred was “Sudden Service.” And it was catchy. The food was equally as bad for my health as any burger joint might be, but their slogan was a little softer to the ears. It took the focus off the food and placed it on the service. And that seemed to make the business successful. It worked on me. And their good old southern sweet tea was addicting.
Sudden service. Our culture today is built on it. Whatever it is we want, we want it now. Suddenly. All of the sudden. A microwave oven can have our full meal ready in two minutes, we can text a friend and have a response in two minutes (usually less), and we can post something on a social website and have 50 different likes or replies in two minutes. Waiting has become a burden, a thing of the past, to the point that even two minutes can seem like an eternity.
But that’s where God does His best work.
The Israelites, God’s chosen people? They spent 40 years in the wilderness while God prepared them for their inheritance of His Promised Land. Oh, and that little span of time when the Babylonians held them in exile, away from their homeland? 70 years! Both of those cases were a life-span for many of them. But God was working His purposes in His people. He had a much greater purpose for them than their immediate comfort.
The truth is that we operate on a temporal time clock, while God works on an eternal one. There are no time limits for God’s plan to be accomplished. He created you for eternity and His goal for you is eternal. So, there may just be some waiting in this life for us. King David understood the discipline of waiting. He penned these words in Psalm 27:14, “Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord.”
So, what’s God’s purpose for us in waiting? I believe there is one, eternal purpose He wants to accomplish in our lives when we are waiting. It’s not simply to develop character, patience, or endurance. While each of those things might naturally happen in our lives, and God certainly uses those traits for our good and His glory, I think His primary purpose in our waiting is Himself. He wants you to desire Him more than anything else in this life. His purpose is to bring you to the point where you know Him and seek Him more than you seek things, places, or experiences. That was His purpose for the Israelites, and that’s what He wants for us too.
“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.” Deuteronomy 6:4
Total devotion, commitment, and passion for Him and His ways is His goal for you. And to accomplish that, we may have to do some waiting. We may have to go without some of the answers we urgently desire. It may mean looking past a present reality to an eternal relationship.
What have you been asking God for? Are you in waiting mode? Don’t focus on the outcome, but put your eyes on the One who can bring you through. Know Him, seek Him, and love Him. All else will become secondary, and your waiting will soon turn to “Sudden Service.”
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