It’s important to be willing to wait for God when you are looking to connect with Him. Remember, strength does not come upon us in a moment as we beckon the Lord, but as we wait upon Him (Is 40:31). The image of a loading bar popped into my head one day while reflecting on this passage. Having grown up in the days of dial-up internet, I was quite familiar with very slow loading bars. In those days it took a lot of time just to download a song.
When my family moved from a village to the suburbs, I was introduced to super fast internet and I could download anything in a matter of seconds! But then a few years later, we moved again—this time out into the middle of nowhere where we could only get dial-up internet. A piece of me died inside. I would hardly be able to download anything ever again. And on top of that, if someone called our house phone while I was downloading a file, I might get kicked off the internet and have to start all over again!
Loading bars. That’s what the psalms call us to. “For you I wait all the day long” (Ps 25:5); “Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord” (Ps 27:14); “Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him” (Ps 37:7); “Wait for the Lord and keep his way, and he will exalt you to inherit the land” (Ps 37:34); “I waited patiently for the Lord; he inclined to me and heard my cry” (Ps 40:1).
God often seems to operate on dial-up, so it’s no wonder that we have a hard time finding Him. Everything we know is about speed. And therefore, we get frustrated when we can’t hear God. We sit down and pray for two to five minutes (which felt like an hour) and don’t hear anything, so we give up.
But I’m not convinced that the biblical prophets went from not hearing God to suddenly hearing His voice full-blown on a regular basis. I doubt many of the prophet’s “thus sayeth the Lord’s” were audibly communicated to them. I think they spent their life practicing the art of waiting and listening until they were finally able to distinguish God’s gentle blowing—His soft whisper.
Want God to show up? Then wait. Once you learn what He sounds like and the way in which He likes to communicate with you specifically, He’ll become easier to find. You’ll join with the prophets who sought Him out. They weren’t just able to hear what He had to say at all times, they had to look for Him. They probably had to learn from the sons of the prophets and grow with each other to understand God’s voice more fully.
Speed is one of the faults the 21st century church suffers from. We’ve adapted our services to be as quick as everything else in our life. In and out in an hour with the songs, message and even the announcements timed out to an exact second. Yes, God can be found in these services because we work with the Spirit to create them ahead of time, but when everything is so timed out, we certainly don’t give Him the space, flexibility and spontaneity that He loves to disrupt us with.
It should be a conviction for us to play any songs about waiting on God if we’re not willing to actually wait. And if we’re not willing to wait, then we are not joining ourselves with the Psalmists of old.