Waiting for God – Femi Aribisala
My grand-daughter, Tatianna, asks me a question repeatedly. She says: “Grandpa, how old are you?” When I tell her I am 25 years old, she insists it is not possible. “You are my grandpa; you cannot be younger than my daddy.”
But the truth of the matter is that I am only 25. I was born again 25 years ago. As far as I am concerned, the first birth is of little consequence. The second birth is what really matters. I only came to the true knowledge of God 25 years ago. That makes me younger than many who say I am older than they are; and it makes me older than some who think I am younger than they are.
One of the things I have learnt in my 25 years of intimacy with God is that it is good to wait for God. Over the years, I have had cause to wait for God, and he has amazed me. I have waited for the Lord and he has dazed me. Jeremiah says: “The LORD is 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.” (Lamentations 3:25-26).
Life’s Traffic Lights
This is the jet age where waiting is avoided at all cost. We want what we want and we want it now. We do many things by the keystroke of a cell-phone or computer with instant high-speed access to the internet. We contract quick shot-gun marriages and end up with even quicker divorces. We eat microwaved fast foods, instead of solid home-cooked meals. We jump on okadas and break a leg trying to get as fast as possible from A to B.
Nevertheless, life often tells us to wait. It says we must wait to become adults. We must wait to get educated, to get a job, to buy or build a house. But we must not spend our life waiting at life’s many traffic-lights. We must spend our life waiting for God. Life is unreliable and frustrating. You can wait for life for a lifetime and still not get what you want. But God never frustrates.
David acknowledges that our times are in God’s hand. (Psalm 31:15). The psalmist says: “Delight yourself also in the Lord, and he shall give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord, trust also in him, and he shall bring it to pass.” (Psalm 37:4-5). God himself makes one of his unfailing promises: “They shall not be ashamed who wait for me.” (Isaiah 49:23).
Wait a Minute
God is never in a hurry. His wristwatch reads differently from ours, therefore he often seems to forget what time it is. God told Noah there would be a flood, but it only came after 120 years. He promised Abraham a child, but took 25 years to bring it to pass. He told him his descendants would inherit the Promised Land, but they had to wait for 430 years.
Nevertheless, God is never late and he is never early: he is always just on time. Since the righteous live by our faith in God, then the righteous must wait for God. So, don’t be in a hurry. When you commit something into the hands of God, wait for him to bring it to pass. Remember this: “He has made everything beautiful in its time.” (Ecclesiastes 3:11).
Waiting for God requires the patience of faith. Isaiah says: “In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and confidence shall be your strength.” (Isaiah 30:15). “Thus says the Lord GOD: ‘Behold, I lay in Zion a stone for a foundation, a tried stone, a precious cornerstone, a sure foundation; whoever believes will not act hastily.’” (Isaiah 28:16).
Saul lost a kingdom because he could not wait. Moses did not enter the Promised Land because he became impatient with the murmuring of Israel. These things were written so we might learn from the mistakes of the pioneers of our faith.
Be Still and Know
David says: “Truly my soul silently waits for God; from him comes my salvation. He only is my rock and my salvation; he is my defense; I shall not be greatly moved.” (Psalm 62:1-2). To wait silently for God does not mean we are physically silent: it means we are spiritually silent. We can wait “silently” while praising God. We can wait “silently” while: “making melody in (our) heart to the Lord.” (Ephesians 5:19).
Waiting silently means we are not moved by contradictory situations and circumstances. We are not murmuring and complaining. David counsels: “Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for him; do not fret because of him who prospers in his way, because of the man who brings wicked schemes to pass.” (Psalm 37:7). We wait, confident that God will help us, just at the break of dawn. (Psalm 46:5).
Accordingly, we must be: “anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let (our) requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard (our) hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7).
Don’t Help God
The date was June 11, 1994. There was a prayer-meeting in my house because we wanted to avert trouble the next day. The next day, June 12, was the anniversary of the annulment of perhaps the only election ever in the history of Nigeria that was free and fair.
Suddenly, Margaret Vogt came in. As I looked at her, the Lord said to me: “Femi, tell Margaret I am going to promote her.” I did. We gathered around her and prayed: “Father, thy will be done.”
A few weeks later, the Lord sent me back to Margaret with a very strange message. “Thus says the Lord, I said I will promote you. So why are you running around. Are you the one going to do it, or am I?”
It was as if I had poured ice-cold water on Margaret. “I thought I had to do something,” she responded with contrition. “So I went to see General Diya.” But God does not need our help in order to help us. A god that needs help is no God.
Soon afterwards, Margaret was invited to a conference by the International Peace Academy in New York. The Lord said to me: “Femi, buy her a ticket, she will pay you back the money. But tell her she is not going for a conference; she is going for a job.”
So I bought Margaret a ticket and she went to New York. A few days later, she phoned her husband and told him to give me the news. She had been offered a job by the Peace Academy. She spent the next several years there and was then transferred to the United Nations.
God says: “These things I plan won’t happen right away. Slowly, steadily, surely, the time approaches when the vision will be fulfilled. If it seems slow, do not despair, for these things will surely come to pass. Just be patient! They will not be overdue a single day!” (Habakkuk 2:3)