Plan to pack good measures of patience and flexibility, if you intend to someday travel overseas, especially to a third-world country.
If I have learned anything in the last three years, it is that there is very little I am in control of, and therefore, I must lean heavily on the timing and sovereignty of my Heavenly Father in all things - big and little. If I get worked up and impatient over things not happening just as I want them to, I only waste emotional energy and endanger my testimony to those around me.
After 10 months of waiting, this week I finally received the renewal of my work permit, which allows me to live and work in Uganda for another three years. Initially I was told my renewal would take only two weeks. And I could go into all of the details of why it took 10 months, but that would consume the rest of this post. Needless to say there were a number of disappointments and equal amounts of frustration, as well as too much time and money spent.
|Me with my long-awaited work permit.|
But it was 10 long, grueling and tortuous years that David endured before ascending the throne. And most of that time was spent running and hiding from his jealous and nearly-insane predecessor, King Saul. The Psalms give us a glimpse of what David endured and how he responded during those long years.
This morning I read Psalm 35 and in verse 17, David asks, "How long, O Lord, will you look on and do nothing?" A decade of waiting for a promise to be fulfilled, for a position to be assumed, for an enemy to be put down.Why so long, Lord?
Yet, despite his questions, David always returned to a stance of patient waiting upon His God.
While David's life reflected longsuffering, King Saul's did not. In one of his first acts as king, Saul impatiently sacrificed offerings instead of waiting for the prophet Samuel to arrive and perform the act. Saul's ungodly haste led to the removal of God's hand and blessing upon him and his reign.
Samuel's rebuke sums up the gravity and consequences of Saul's impatience.
"'How foolish!' Samuel exclaimed. 'You have not kept the command the Lord your God gave you. Had you kept it, the Lord would have established your kingdom over Israel forever. But now your kingdom must end, for the Lord has sought out a man after his own heart. The Lord has already appointed him to be the leader of his people, because you have not kept the Lord's command.'" (I Samuel 13:13-14)
Even if Saul was performing a "righteous" act by offering sacrifices, his impulsiveness greatly displeased God as Saul worked against the Divine order. It seems Saul tried to wrestle the pen out of the Author's hand and write his own story.
However, David was indeed the man God had chosen - a man after His own heart. A man who humbly and consistently sought the presence of his God and submitted willingly to the Divine Author, who was penning his story. As he waited, David frequently exhorted himself and his readers/listeners to "wait."
"In the morning, O LORD, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait in expectation." - Psalm 5:3
"Indeed, none who wait for you shall be put to shame; they shall be ashamed who are wantonly treacherous." - Psalm 25:3
"Lead me in your truth and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all the day long." - Psalm 25:5
"I waited patiently for the Lord to help me, and He turned to me and heard my cry." - Psalm 40:1
"Wait patiently for the Lord. Be brave and courageous. Yes, wait patiently for the Lord." - Psalm 27:14
"Let all that I am wait quietly before my God, for my hope is in Him." - Psalm 62:5
It is obvious David understood and knew the value of waiting on His God. He recognized that God saw and foreknew each and every detail of his life and that what transpired was not random, but fell under a Divine order and purpose. David saw that there were other factors out of his sight and control that God was also orchestrating to proclaim His glory and praise in the events that unfolded in David's life and in the lives of those around him.
I do not know and may never understand why I endured the "delay" on my work permit this past year, or why I am being asked to wait for other desires and dreams to be fulfilled. But I want to strive for the attitude and heart of David, wholeheartedly trusting in God's awesome sovereignty, His divine omniscience, and His amazing love and care for me.
Indeed, I am part of a much larger story and thankfully I know I can trust the Author with all of my heart.
Image Source: Microsoft Office