Hi this is pastor Ken and these are my thoughts on a Thursday…But I want it now!
Have you ever stopped to look at how hooked we are on immediate gratification? I must admit there are times I get frustrated because my laptop takes 30 seconds to boot up so I can use it. When I think about that, I realize how insane it is. I am allowing myself to experience negative emotions because the device that I think makes my life more efficient requires 1/2 of one of the 2,440 minutes I am allotted each day. That’s nuts! Additionally, this past week my wife and I have been experiencing interruptions with our internet provider’s service. Seemingly with regularity we have been right in the middle of working online when the service would drop off for no apparent reason. Most of the time it would be back on within a few minutes but then drop off twenty minutes later. Sometimes it would do that two or three times in an hour. You wouldn’t believe the frustration level that caused in our home. After all, while it was down we were unable to access the internet where we could look up or find any information necessary with literally hundreds of results to a search within a fraction of a second! I have had to remind myself more than once lately that I used to have to wait for the library to open the next day to have access to a miniscule portion of the same information.
Have you ever been upset because a traffic light took too long to change? How about when you had to pull over and wait for a drive-thru order to be completed? Ever get frustrated…or even angry because people in a store got in your way and kept you from getting to what you wanted quickly enough? Or what about those times when your ire was raised because the store didn’t have enough people to get you checked out fast enough for your liking? Yes, we almost have to admit that instant gratification has not made our lives better in many ways at all. Sure we can access things much faster than ever before, but if it doesn’t work exactly like we expect it to…we are not happy! I don’t think it has been good for us on a spiritual level either.
Wanting things immediately has taught us some wrong lessons. First among them is that it should only take a second (or less) for us to decide what we want. We are so used to having what we would formerly call whims be treated like needs, that almost no desire can cross our minds without us thinking we need to have it satisfied. Say that last sentence slowly, thinking about the words and you’ll be able to see instantly where that could go wrong. As a marriage counselor I have often noted that my office would be empty most days if people took the time to ask of any and every decision they were about to make; “How is this going to affect my spouse?” However, even if we don’t look at it through the lens of “What do I want in a particular moment that is wrong or sinful?”, we still have to deal with the question; “Is what I want right now really the best for me?”
There is an old saying; “Good things come to those who wait.” This is true for several reasons. Things we have to wait for are afforded more value. If it takes longer to produce it is likely higher quality. You only have to taste a roast beef dinner that comes from a crock pot opposed to a microwave to know the truth of this concept. Additionally, there is the thought process that says; “Waiting reduces the risk of remorse that only time would reveal.” In other words, if I take a little more time to get something, I may see the problem with having it. All of these are wise, but none of them are possible if our every whim must be gratified immediately.
On the best days, what I would choose in any given moment is what I think is best for me in that moment. The problem is that I can only see the present and the past, the future is dark to me. That is why waiting can be valuable, it allows for the future to illuminate the present. My Heavenly Father on the other hand has a crystal clear bird’s eye view of eternity. Past, no problem…present, check…the future, right there in His hands. If I let Him be the one to decide what is best for me, I will be ready to receive the blessing so long as my choices aren’t getting in the way. This is otherwise known as trust, having faith…waiting on the Lord. Lamentations 3:25-26 say; The Lordis good to those who wait for Him, to the soul who seeks Him. It is good that one should hope and wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord. God is a good, good Father and He is always being so very good to us. When we do not experience good it is not because we waited on Him and He did not bring us what is good, it is because we were not waiting on Him. You might argue with me and say don’t bad things happen that we don’t choose? Yes, they do, but He promises that He is so good that even those things He will use for ultimate good in our lives if we will allow Him to. He says that even those things that are meant for harm and evil toward us, He wants to use to make us more like His Son Jesus. (Romans 8:28-29)
I love the way the New Living Translation states Isaiah 64:4; For since the world began, no ear has heard and no eye has seen a God like you, who works for those who wait for him! Essentially this verse confirms the truth that God places His efforts in the direction of those who wait on Him. In other words, when we wait for God to reveal to us what is best for us, He will move heaven and earth to make it happen. Further evidence that God does not withhold from us what is best, we do that ourselves by trying to enact what we think best. Psalm 25:4-5 speak further of waiting on the Lord, right into the best there is for us. Show me Your ways, O Lord; Teach me Your paths. Lead me in Your truth and teach me, for You are the God of my salvation; on You I wait all the day. Learning to wait on Him not only guides us into His very best but teaches us wisdom in the process. Wisdom begins to eliminate many of the problems brought on by a “But I want it now” attitude.
Trusting in ourselves to know what is best…well, we have all seen the results of that far too often. Learning to trust that God really does have our best in mind, makes waiting on Him to bring it at just the right time a little bit easier. The more we learn to trust the easier it gets. We can either go-it-alone and get the best the moment has to offer, or we can put our full confidence in God to give us far more that we would or even could choose for ourselves. Ephesians 3:20-21 say it this way; Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.
So now, learning to really live in the moment…and use it to trust Him to bring the very best there is for you…Go be Awesome!