“Wait for the LORD; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the LORD (Psalm 27:14)!”
Let’s return for a moment to the story of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11 ff.). We have seen that the waywardness of the younger son (the prodigal) is rooted in impatience. He demands his share of the estate, leaves home and goes to a distant land and there squanders his wealth in wild living. Every detail of this story suggests that he wants what he wants and he wants it now. Surely this is descriptive of our age, as well! The opportunities for the quick fix to whatever ails us abound. This impatience, this reliance on the quick fix, stands in stunning contrast with the spirituality of the Psalms. Again and again we hear the Psalmist declare, “Wait for the Lord.”
What does it mean to wait on the Lord? We could say many things here, of course, but let’s not overlook the obvious: to wait on the Lord is to be on a journey of transformation; and an authentic journey of transformation takes time. There are two important things we’re trying to say here: First, authentic spirituality is a journey of transformation. It certainly was so for the first disciples who left all to follow the Lord and who came increasingly to reflect the light of his glory in their lives. And still today, the goal of our religion is that we will progressively become more like Christ. Second, this journey takes time. If our intent throughout is to surrender to the will and work of God, it shall be done—but in God’s time, not our own. The journey of transformation will involve many pitfalls and may include seasons of discouragement. It may feel at times as though the journey is headed nowhere. It will be tempting at times to draw back to the quick fix. But don’t do it! As you learn to surrender to the will and power of God at work in your life, you will be changed—even if you don’t see it day by day. The real difference may be measured in terms of decades, not days. What you can be sure of, so long as you remain patient and surrendered, is that he is faithful and he will bring to completion what he has started in us!