It’s that time of the year again!
Going to renew my visa every year and wasting pretty much the entire day hanging around is something I simply dread. The office is also quite out of the way, so once you go there, you are just stuck inside. There is also the security check on your way in. It’s too noisy and over-crowded, so you really can’t get any reading done while hanging around either. Then immigration decided to ‘improve’ their system. You need to go in, get the approval for the visa from the controller (which takes a matter of minutes) and then submit the necessary documents along with your passport at the counter. THREE long working days later is when you can pick up your visa. However, it’s yet again a wait pretty much the whole day still. The last time I went, it was like going to a market. It was loud and chaotic. No one (including the officials) seemed to know what was going on in this ‘improved system’. I was sent on a wild goose chase back and forth between all the counters there. (This week will unravel what is in store for me on my annual visit to the visa office to stay here in Sri Lanka.)
Whatever said and done, waiting is an inevitable part of life. It’s there from the visa office to the doctors’ office (even with an appointment) to pretty much every part of life. For us, in this ‘instant’ world, even a minute seems to be a lonnnnnng waiting period. Fact is EVERYTHING even in God’s creation involves waiting. To see a precious fragile newborn there is a waiting period. To enjoy the fruit of a tree – from the seed to a plant to the flower to the fruit there is yet another waiting period.
Waiting could be for various reasons but it is mainly for preparation…
At times, promises aren’t fulfilled so that our faith is developed and we learn to be dependent on Him. We ask or even demand for His blessings INSTANTLY without deeds on our part. People often confuse the word ‘deeds’. We think it implies that we need to help God to help us fulfill the promise or answer the prayer. How often have you heard people say, “You do your part and let God do the rest!”? Where is that said in the Bible??? No, it’s NOT about us being go-getters. God wants us to seek FIRST His Kingdom and righteousness, and promises us that all these (needs) will be added to us.
Another reason God delays a fulfilment of our prayers or His promises, is because our MOTIVES could be misplaced. Why are we asking?
When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures. (James 4:3)
Another reason for delay is TESTING, to test whether we really want what God wants for us, or are we pretending to Him and ourselves. When the Canaanite woman wanted Jesus to cure her daughter, “Jesus did not answer a word”! In fact the disciples urged Jesus to “send her away, for she keeps crying out after us” (Matthew 15:23). However, Jesus did eventually answer her as she passed the test of faith with flying colours.
Often times, we crave for something or long for something. Once we get it, we savour it for a bit and then put it aside to collect dust on the shelf. God’s delay at other times is to prepare us to learn to VALUE the blessing and to continue to cherish it. He knows what’s best for us as He knows us more than we know ourselves. His wisdom is way higher than ours! Preparation is discipline…
“God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in His holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.” (Hebrews 12:10,11).
The delays have their purpose… just like every part of creation has a waiting period for preparation. A cake that is under baked as a result of the lack of the right proportion of ingredients has no use but to be dumped into the garbage. Any fruit plucked ahead of time will not ripen properly and lose out on giving out the perfect flavour ordained for it.
“God does not discipline us to subdue us,
but to condition us for a life of usefulness and blessedness” – Billy Graham.
“If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask Him! So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you….” (Matthew 7:11)
Are we able to not just merely wait for the fulfilment, but instead wait with an attitude of praise and thanksgiving – knowing that our Heavenly Father knows best?
It could be the choice, the way or the timing – but He knows best in all!