To strength in waiting…
This is one question that took me a while to accept the meaning of either of its responses. I mean someone asks:
‘Do you mind a sandwich?’ (Meaning – do you want a sandwich?). Your answer is YES, so you say:
‘I don’t mind’ (meaning – I want a sandwich). Someone else asks:
‘Do you mind pepper soup?’ (Meaning – do you want pepper soup?). Like me who likes good food, you are about to say yes when you remember you started to stool that morning and respectfully decline by saying a polite NO, which translates as:
‘I mind’ (meaning – I don’t want pepper soup though you curse under your breath wondering what luck you have to have chosen that morning to lose control of your bowels).
Anyway, it never did make any sense to me – why I have to say NO when I mean YES, and vice versa. Well na so oyibo want am and I learnt the hard way. Imagine this scenario:
At a party with some friends…
Waiter: Do you mind Chapman? (Which is the only non-alcoholic drink, I do not take alcohol and I am very thirsty)
Me: yes please
So, waiter turns around and walks away while I almost die of thirst as shame won’t let me admit I made a mistake in spoken English!
What foolishness you say? Yes, I know, that was over a decade ago; I am wiser now, not as wise as Solomon but wise enough to say with a smile ‘excuse me, I changed my mind, I’ll have the Chapman’. Back then, the way I thought was ‘I’d rather die of thirst than be humiliated for 2minutes’ – my reputation (my nickname was professor as I read the dictionary like it was a novel) was more important than my health, with all the words I learnt, I guess I never came across the word dehydration!
Now, this is not a note on grammar rather it’s one on the ‘confused’ state of believers; how we say YES but actually mean No and vice versa.
Let’s take Abraham and Sarah for example Gen 17:15-19 & Gen 18:9-15, today they would be one of the world’s ‘sexiest’ couples! They were beautiful, rich, powerful, influential but childless. As believers, they waited on the Lord from their 20’s right up to when Abraham was 85! Then Sarah said, ‘enough is enough! Every fertility treatment has failed; even God has sealed my fate. I am 75 now and way past menopause. Take my maid Hagar, she has been with us since she was a girl and is part of the family; lay with her and have a son to inherit all that is ours’. Months after, Ishmael was born. Thirteen years later, Abraham has forgotten all about God’s covenant with him and Sarah is definitely not praying for a child at 89 but God shows up all the same to fulfill His covenant and promise. Guess what? Abraham and Sarah are not excited, instead, they laughed! Isn’t that ridicule? Over the years of waiting they have ‘adjusted’ their faith and embraced their circumstance, actually, believed it was God’s will and promise. God was merciful and fulfilled His word Gen 21:1-7.
How about Gideon Judges 6:11-7:18? The Israelites had been praying for deliverance yet when God sent deliverance, Gideon chickened. In the years of waiting, they had accepted oppression as normal so much so that Gideon was beating wheat in a winepress. God was merciful and still delivered Israel even though He had to convince Gideon over and over again.
Even the Shunammite woman, as sensitive as she was in meeting the needs of a prophet 2nd Kings 4:8-17, she too had conformed to her circumstance and could not understand nor accept her blessing.
Zechariah Luke 1:5-24 unlike others was not so fortunate, I guess at this time heaven was exasperated at our ‘unbelief’ and mind imprisonment or maybe it was because Zechariah was a serving priest of God and Angel Gabriel expected more belief from him. Whatever the reason, Zechariah was punished for his unbelief though his prayer was still answered – God is still merciful.
True, waiting is hard especially when there are no signs of the expected as you wait. It’s easy for us to judge the saints of old and preach a sermon on their unbelief but are we any different? Our generation is referred to as the microwave generation meaning patience is not one of our virtues. Like Abraham and Sarah, haven’t we all helped God with answers to our prayers when it seems like He is too slow? And when we do decide wait, the reality is that we do not wait at all because when God comes along He does not find us in position, we have drifted with the tides of our problems. Just as it is when one stands at the bank of a beach, the waves come and wash up your feet on the sand. As they recede back to the ocean, we glide along with the sand and unassumingly, unknowingly, slowly but surely, we are knee deep in the ocean and are soon carried away if we do not realize on time to run or cry out!
It is not like some of us do not wait but we drift because we are idle while waiting. In reality, when we do nothing in waiting, we are only waiting for the waves to come pick us up from the shore. Waiting is a process and like most processes, is an essential ingredient for the product without which the product cannot be formed. It is not like God desires to withhold our desires; it is just that to become the product, we require essential ingredients in the process of waiting. So in waiting, do not be idle. Learning is a requirement so learn all you can in the period of waiting and if you learn nothing at all, learn patience. While you wait, form a character. Be like Hannah 1st Sam 1:1-20, she didn’t focus on her problems (her barrenness or her rival – Peninnah, some of us would have beat Peninnah silly!) instead she focused on the solution – God, and she was ready when He was. As difficult as it may seem, see yourself in your desire and rejoice! Meditate on God’s word, remind yourself of His promises, move with the right association, keep yourself in perspective!
God is tired of not finding us in position, He’s broken when we are bewildered that He blesses and delivers us. So as we pray for God to deliver Nigeria, God is asking ‘do you mind being Nigeria’s deliverance?’ Eight years after graduation, a bus driver barely surviving; God is asking ‘do you mind being a billionaire?’ Childless and vexed; God is asking ‘do you mind being a first mother?’ Successful and distressed; God is asking ‘do you mind having peace?’ Young, beautiful and confused; God is asking ‘do you mind wisdom?’
At the beginning of 2014, you rejoiced at a new year, a fresh start, new opportunities! You made your heart believe and expect again; now almost three months gone you struggle to hold on to the threads of your expectations – hold on! Whatever your prayers and desires, God is asking ‘do you mind answers?’, ‘will I find you in position?’