When our kids were little, one set of grandparents lived 1200 miles away. Argh. What a trip with little children. We weren’t half an hour out of the driveway before it started.
Can we stop and go to the restroom?
I think I’m going to throw up?
Are we nearly there?
I need to go to the bathroom really bad daddy!
(Yes, I know “bad” should be “badly” but when a young child needs to “go to the bathroom really bad” you don’t correct grammar, but try to find the nearest off ramp!)
And that’s the first hour of the first day of a two day, 22-hour trip!
Then, there is the ultimate marketing trap for parents driving with little children on a long car trip. An eighteen-month-old pointing out the window and going, “Dadeeee! Donalds, daddeee. Please. Please. Donalds dadeee! Donalds!”
Do you have any idea how many McDonald's there are between central Texas and south Florida or southern Ohio?
Kid’s don’t like to wait. They want what they want… yesterday!
If we are honest, however, we adults are as impatient as our little children, or worse. We feel like we have the power to choose. We have the money or a credit card that feels like money, and that makes us think we don’t need to wait. Impulse spending. Split second decision-making. Peer pressure purchasing. Newest release of the iPhone must-have-it-now-disease or Samsung gotta-have-it-soon-syndrome. Some of us “have to have” the latest kicks or lids or rides to keep up with our buds, peeps, and rivals. Some of us are even impatient when we have to wait for 2 days for an Amazon delivery to get the newest book, gizmo, or fashion. Waiting is not our greatest skill.
So, when we “like” the next graphic image of Isaiah 40:31 that we see on Facebook®, Instagram®, or Twitter®, let’s admit that we don’t have a clue how to wait on anything in our instant world. As disciples, let’s also admit that we need to grow in the spiritual grace of waiting, especially waiting on the LORD’s timing!
How do we wait on the LORD to open the door of opportunity in answer to our prayers? Can we be ready when God opens the door of opportunity to share our faith, make a move, change jobs, commit to marriage, become a missionary, go into ministry, have a baby, or a million other things that we wait on happening? Wouldn’t it be nice if we had a clear biblical set of directions on how to wait?
What if I told you that we do! Granted, this spiritual direction on how to wait spiritually isn’t in one of those often studied books of the Bible. This passage isn’t in the top twenty favorite verses on the web. This passage is, if we allow it to be, a sort of holy checklist or plan that we can follow with the help of the Holy Spirit and a few spiritual friends. Peter gave it to followers of Jesus as persecution was looming, hard times were crashing down on them, and suffering was not an option but an occasion for displaying faith, character, and love. Here’s the plan from Jesus’ lead apostle put into list form:
- Prepare your minds for action.
- Exercise self-control.
- Put all your hope in the gracious salvation that will come to you when Jesus Christ is revealed to the world.
- Live as God’s obedient children.
- Don’t slip back into your old ways of living to satisfy your own desires. You didn’t know any better then.
- You must be holy in everything you do, just as God who chose you is holy.
- Live in reverent fear of [your heavenly Father] during your time here [on earth] as “temporary residents.” (1 Peter 1:13-17 NLT)
I could pretend that explaining these seven principles and expounding on them with good, true, and holy words would make them better. The truth is, it wouldn’t. These are inspired words for Jesus’ brothers and sisters in trying times.
They are spot on the mark.
They are true.
They are for us.
Each of us can work through these principles with the help of the Holy Spirit and a few close friends. Each of these seven list items will be done a little differently when applied to our lives. We can use Peter’s key ideas as starting points for work with a concordance, a study Bible, and some Jesus’ followers willing to help us determine what each principle means in our individual lives. We can commit to pray for each other to be able to hear the Spirit’s voice. We can join our voices and our hearts together asking the Spirit to lead us and bring us closer into conformity to Jesus. The Spirit will do this if we invite him to join us in this journey (Romans 8:26; 2 Corinthians 3:18). And most importantly, we can be ready by making our wait something far more significant than wasting time.
We can help each other learn to wait and grow toward Jesus so that when God’s door of opportunity swings open, we are ready! So, what are you waiting for? Let’s get started on our spiritual preparation and waiting to be ready!