Reading Plan Devotional: Week 3
Note: While we follow the Read Scripture reading plan and use the app this year as a church I’ll occasionally post reflections to help people along the way.
I hate waiting.
I am by nature an impatient person. I fidget when my coffee order takes longer than a minute to come out, when traffic slows down inexplicably, when I have to wait in line at the UPS store behind someone who appears to be shipping their entire home in cardboard boxes. And waiting for big things is even harder. We wait for friendships to form, we wait for medical test results, we wait to hear whether our baby is healthy, we wait to hear about whether our company will have layoffs.
Often in Scripture as we read through it seems like everything is moving quickly, but really, there’s a whole lot of waiting. Between the end of Genesis and the beginning of the action in Exodus we find that 400 years have passed. Despite all the promises made in Genesis about God blessing his people and giving them their own land and using them to bless the world we instead find them stuck in a foreign land and oppressed by evil rulers.
Now, there’s a tension that isn’t completely resolved in every period of waiting in Scripture. We’re not told exactly how every part of the 400 year wait advanced God’s plan, just as in our own life we don’t know exactly what’s behind periods of waiting. We need to be comfortable in this tension because God is God and we are not.
But there are also two truths that are beautifully clear in periods of waiting: First, God is not absent in the time of waiting. He’s not out to lunch. He’s not uncaring. We read this in Exodus 2:
During those many days the king of Egypt died, and the people of Israel groaned because of their slavery and cried out for help. Their cry for rescue from slavery came up to God. And God heard their groaning, and God remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob. God saw the people of Israel—and God knew. (Ex 2:23-25)
I love this language. God heard and God saw and God knew. He’s not far off he’s close. He’s not absent, he’s very present with his people. And today, in whatever circumstance you find yourself, he is present with you too.
Second, God is at work during times of waiting. It may seem to us that nothing is happening but that’s only because we don’t see what God is doing behind the scenes. For the long centuries in Egypt God’s people went from 70 people to hundreds of thousands. They grew into a great nation, which was necessary if they were to take their own land later. And for the first decades of Moses’ life it may have seemed God was not doing much of anything but in reality he was preparing a redeemer named Moses who would be educated in Egypt, able to write the foundational documents for a new nation.
In our own lives as well God does not waste our times of waiting. God is always at work to make us look more like Jesus through patience and perseverance and character. Pastor John Piper says, “God is always doing 10,000 things in your life and you may be aware of three of them.”
Do you find yourself in a time of waiting in some area of your life? Take heart. God is present with you. God is at work.
Further Reading: God Is Always Doing 10,000 Things In Your Life by John Piper