Then the LORD said to Moses, “Come up to Me on the mountain and stay here, so that I may give you the tablets of stone, with the law and commandments I have written for their instruction.” Moses set out with Joshua his attendant and went up on the mountain of God. And he said to the elders, “Wait here for us until we return to you…” When Moses went up on the mountain, the cloud covered it, and the glory of the LORD settled on Mount Sinai. For six days the cloud covered it, and on the seventh day the LORD called to Moses from within the cloud… Exodus 24:12-16
How many times have I read that portion of scripture and never saw it? My son pointed out how Moses knew what God was telling him to do and obeyed, but then he had to wait six days for God. Six days! God said meet me at the top of the mountain, Moses obeyed, and sat up there for six days. I wonder what he thought about and did during that time.
And then David, anointed as king as a teen. Moved to the palace not long after, not to be king but to work for the king. It would be about 15 years working for the king, taking care of sheep, being chased by the king until the Word of the Lord was fulfilled. (1 Samuel)
And then there’s Saul who upon his conversion became Paul (Acts 9). He was told of his mission and purpose by Jesus at that moment, but then he stops in with the disciples for a bit and then goes back to his hometown for about 14 years. According to the book of Acts there is about 14 years between Paul’s call and his first missions trip. Somehow I had missed that detail until a preacher mentioned it. 14 years of quieter living. I wonder if Paul doubted his call or his conversion. Did he try to make things happen ahead of time? The author of Acts does not mention much of Paul’s first 14 years as a Christian but spends the rest of the book describing the rest of Paul’s ministry.
Wow! Really?! The Bible is full of people being told their purpose, and then a pretty long duration of waiting. Joseph knew something special was up for him when he had his dreams (Genesis 37-44), but instead of his brothers getting with God’s plans, they sold him into slavery. It would be many years before the fulfillment of the dreams that God had planted in Joseph’s heart and mind. Even Mary and Joseph, knew of Jesus’ purpose or at least an idea of it, but had to wait 30 years to see the beginning of it. We don’t know if Joseph ever got to see the plans and purposes come to fruition.
Hebrews 11 describes the great faith of many, some by name, others not, but ends with “These were all commended for their faith, yet they did not receive what was promised. God had planned something better for us, so that together with us they would be made perfect.” The purposes are perfect and good, but would not be fulfilled in their time. We needed to come along and the church after us to join together in the fullness of time, but they had faith and hope because they trusted God to do what He said He would do even when they did not see it.
Waiting is not one of my strengths, especially when I know what’s next, or have an idea of what is next. I want to move and go or at least get a plan and time table, but God wants to form and equip. He wants to develop trust and vision. He wants to help me grow in relationship with Him to have a better understanding of His heart and purposes.
I want resolution and evidence of the plans given. God wants my heart to be fully settled in Him so that timing and results are no longer the focus. He wants to grow my heart and mind to see and hear as He does, to get my heart in sync with His. This takes time and waiting. Active waiting, there are good works He has planned for me to be part of in the meantime, but waiting all the same.
Trusting His heart is what I see when I look at these saints in Scripture. Their eyes were on Him as they waited. There were times they wandered off course, but God was always faithful to help them back on the path. God is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow so He can still be trusted to lead us through the valley of waiting, or the mountaintop of waiting. He promises to meet us there, and He is not a liar. (Numbers 23:19) So as we wait for the short and the long term visions to come to pass, may we ask God to help us to hear His heartbeat and allow us to wait patiently and joyfully with all the saints who expectantly watch for the coming days when we will all be made perfect.