Why We Should Wait!

Are there any among the idols of the nations that can cause rain?
Or can the heavens give showers?
Are You not He, O LORD our God?
Therefore we will wait for You,
Since You have made all these. (Jeremiah 14:22)

We’ve all heard versions of the prayer that goes, “Lord, help me to be patient, and please hurry up about it.”  In my life the lesson on being patient has been probably the hardest one to learn.  In fact, I must confess that I have not learned the lesson very well, and have constantly to relearn it.  If I were to put my finger on the problem it would have to land on the truths brought out in the verse above.

Jeremiah knew a lot about having to wait.  During his ministry he had to preach for God to a people who had set themselves against the truth.  His words often seemed to bounce off the surface of the ears of his listeners.  Moreover, he had to contend with false prophets who would tell the eager hearers what they wanted to hear; the bad times were coming to an end; the Babylonians would be beaten back; God would come to the rescue of Israel.  These were not the messages that Jeremiah was given to proclaim.

Given that Jeremiah had an unpopular message to preach, he had to be a man of patience to continue, day in, day out, to be a herald of, this verse gets to the heart of why we can wait on the Lord, giving over to Him our propensity to rush things or to see matters change overnight. 

The prophet poses two questions about the way the world works. 

In the first he asks about the idols of the heathen nations.  Can any of them cause rain?  That is, are any of the false gods powerful enough to effect the the weather, especially in that all-important matter of rainfall and showers?  The obvious answer is No!

The second question is directed to God: Is not the answer to such fundamental questions as who provides the rain showers that the Lord is responsible?  What does this mean?  It means that God is very much active in providing rain for the plants and for man.  He is the Maker of the world (and its weather patterns) and He can be approached to affect what He has made. 

Therefore (and this is the main lesson), when we go to Him in prayer and petition Him for something, and we have to wait for it, we should be content to wait, knowing that we have been heard.  “Since You have made all these,” You Lord should not be constantly prodded as it were, by our impatience.  Rather we (not to say “I”) ought to be content now to wait, and in that spirit, waiting is worship!

Photo by Michael Podger on Unsplash

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There are 4 Comments

josh p's picture

Good one Paul. How does the idea of importunity come in to play though? I’m thinking contentedness is the key. We can wait for the Lord by being patient for His will to be done while still imploring Him no?

Ed Vasicek's picture

Thanks, Paul, for this devotional thought about patience.  We need to remind ourselves of its importance time and time again.  Like you, I do not consider myself a top student in the school of patience!

"The Midrash Detective"

Paul Henebury's picture

Good question Josh,

I think the importunity mentioned by Christ in Lk. 11 & 18 is for specific and important (even at the level of culture).  You know what you want and that it is right.  But even then God may "bear long" with us.  In Jeremiah's case there is an acknowledgement of God's sovereignty and a resting in it, knowing that God had not called him to die of starvation.  

This is one of the paradoxes of prayer, which I find fascinating and frustrating.  I wish I knew more, but prayer has a real mystery to it.  What are your thoughts/  

Dr. Paul Henebury

I am Founder of Telos Ministries, and Senior Pastor at Agape Bible Church in N. Ca.

josh p's picture

Yes thank you. All I can really come up with is that I plead much more fervently when I am praying for something that God’s word commands “this is the will of God, your sanctification” than what I hope is His will “please allow me this new job”. When my wife and I were dating, we prayed everyday that God would either allow us to marry or break off our relationship immediately. Sometimes it’s just hard to know what to even ask. Throughout my Christian life I have been slowly learning not to try and force things but to just pray for them and be content with God’s will. Thanks for the article and discussion brother.

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