Waiting is always the key to success. No surprise then, that the masters of waiting are the richest people in the world. People who have discovered the potent delights of waiting enjoy what evades most. Waiters have found that far more is achieved when they wait than if they rush. They have learned that there is often a dire difference between taking the best available option and waiting for the best option. If you wait a moment, I'll explain what they know.
Indeed, none who wait for you shall be put to shame;
About seven years ago I started a project I thought would take a few months to complete. As I undertook this, it soon became apparent to me that this Boreham Project - to make a documentary series of one of the greatest preachers and essayists of all time - would take a little longer than three months. After six years, four parts are completed (but still have to be re-edited and closed-captioned) and there remains one more concluding part to make. I have travelled to Victoria, New South Wales, New Zealand, and Canada to research, film and interview for this project.
¶ Be patient, therefore, brothers, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient about it, until it receives the early and the late rains.
Along the way to assembling this project, I have had to deal with several crises and other unexpected issues. These included taking on the leadership of one of Australia's premier regional Christian Radio Stations (WayFM), the increased demands of leading ICI Theological College (which has quadrupled in student population over the last few years), and an invitation to be a founding National Leadership Team member of the Acts 2 Alliance. None of these are diversions from my God ordained mission - they are an expression of it. Added to this has been increased number of weddings I've been invited to do over the past few years (even though as these couples discover I don't do good weddings because my focus with them is about their marriage not so much about just the first day of their marriage) and each couple requires around 9 months of preparation involving monthly, fortnightly and weekly meetings as we approach their wedding dates. And lately I've been involved in a city-wide effort to hold a majorfestival at Easter. My Boreham Project has had to wait. In the midst of this waiting I discovered an ancient secret.
So Jacob served seven years for Rachel, and they seemed to him but a few days because of the love he had for her. Genesis 29:20
Waiting is proportional to value. I must confess that I do not know if this was ever intended to be a secret. But it must be a secret because so few people know it. We live an instant-messaging, fast-food, microwave world. This impatience and tendency to rush has even impacted relationships. Such bizarre practices as "speed dating" may be amongst the most innocent expressions of this impatience while domestic violence and forced divorce are undoubtedly among the most damaging effects. It seems that the world is not prepared to wait anymore.
The modern reader is shocked by such Old Testament statements as Jacob waiting and serving seven years for the opportunity to marry the woman he loved. The secret to waiting is that the more valuable the prize the more prepared one is to wait for it. Jacob prized Rachel. His waiting seven years "seemed to him but a few days" - because to him, the prize was great. Impatience always diminishes something's value. Always. In a rare moment of Ecclesiatical correctness, Solomon shares the secret this way-
Better is the end of a thing than its beginning,
and the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit.
What are you waiting for? This is often the world's summons to not wait. But I wonder if we shouldn't have a short list ready to answer the question? What are you waiting for? Knowing that the greater the wait the greater the value of the prize, I think more of us should wait up. This year marks our twentieth anniversary at Legana. Before I commenced as the pastor of Legana, the Lord spoke softly into my heart about His plans for our church. Even though we only had 17 members when we started, thousands of dollars of debt, and no facilities, the Lord showed me a church of over 300 worshipers making a "significant" difference in our State. I honestly thought the Lord would do this in just a few months or maybe, at the outside, a few years. I have too long been impatient about most things. Now, twenty years later we are beginning to see the fulfilment of this softly spoken word. The wait will have been worth it.
The ancient secret is: the greater the wait, the greater the value of the prize. This is why the people who wait best are the wealthiest people in the world - and in a far lesser way, but not too infrequently, they also become wealthy financially. F.W. Boreham tells the story of travellers who stayed some nights in a English manor. They had heard that the surrounding forests was home to some of the most exotic English wildlife. Despite their best efforts, they had seen none. As they told of their disappointment over the manor's grand breakfast table, the son of the laird quietly interjected that he had seen several very rare species of this wildlife not far from where these travellers had been shortly before they had been there. They asked him how this possible. He said that it was important to sit very still and wait. They assured him that this is indeed what they had done. He then said, "Well after the fourth or fifth hour you should have seen some of these rare animals." Their problem was never a lack of the prized animals but of their relative impatience to see them. The greater the value of the prize, the greater the wait to possess it. In light of this waiting secret, Scriptures profoundly tell the worshiper of God to-
Be strong, and let your heart take courage,
all you who wait for the LORD!
Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him;
Psalm 31:24; 37:7a
Scripture tells the worshiper to wait for (on) God more than anything else. Because the value of the prize is so limitlessly great, the wait through delay, adversity, trial, obstacle, or disappointment is insignificant in comparison - it seems "but a few days". The apostle Paul called these kind of circumstances during our worship wait for God, "momentary light affliction" (2Cor. 4:17 "For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison"). God is infinitely worth the wait.
"but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength;
they shall mount up with wings like eagles;
they shall run and not be weary;
they shall walk and not faint."
If you're impatient, learn to wait. Of course, while waiting certainly requires patience, it doesn't idleness (just ask any professional waiter at a restaurant). While we wait, we are trusting. While we wait, we are resting. While we wait we are serving. We do this for a prize. For me, I'm waiting to complete my Boreham project. I'm waiting to see all that God has for our church in the time that He has us here. I'm waiting to see how my children blossom. I'm waiting to see our State turn to Christ. What are you waiting for? Please wait.