I feel like the three main lessons of my life have been learning who I am, who God is and how to be patient.
Learning to wait. A lesson in which you need to have patience in order to learn it. I'm sure you all have had the experience of waiting for something. As a child, waiting an hour seemed like an eternity. Thankfully, I have learned a little patience so that an hour is no longer a challenge. But days, weeks, months, years?! Still hard. And the more you focus on the thing you're waiting for, the longer it seems to take. Like the watched pot that never boils.
I was thinking today about all the people in the Bible and that surely they had experience in waiting too. So I did a search for the word "years". Here are some verses I found...
Abram was eighty-six years old when Hagar bore Ishmael to Abram. Genesis 16:16
Eighty-six years old! That is an unheard of amount of time to wait to have a child. And here Abram and Sarai had thought their waiting was over, but this was not the promised offspring.
Abraham was a hundred years old when his son Isaac was born to him. Genesis 21:5
14 years later, the son of the promise was born to them; 25 years after God had called Abraham and promised him offspring.
Now the LORD said to Abram, "Go from your country and your kindred and your father's house to the land that I will show you. And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed." So Abram went, as the LORD had told him, and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he departed from Haran. Genesis 12:1-4
Can you imagine how many nights Abram and Sarai cried out to the Lord, asking Him to give what He had promised?
Here's another example that's so easy to miss:
and Isaac was forty years old when he took Rebekah, the daughter of Bethuel the Aramean of Paddan-aram, the sister of Laban the Aramean, to be his wife. Genesis 25:20
He was forty when he married Rebekah. Even now that is a long time to wait to marry. And then his wife, Rebekah, was barren and they prayed to have children.
Afterward his brother came out with his hand holding Esau's heel, so his name was called Jacob. Isaac was sixty years old when she bore them. Genesis 25:26
Finally, 20 years later, Esau and Jacob are born to them. 20 years! Think about it!
And, finally, here's my favorite example:
Jacob loved Rachel. And he said, "I will serve you seven years for your younger daughter Rachel." Genesis 29:18
I really like that the Scripture says that Jacob loved her. He really must have to commit to 7 years of hard labor to 'earn' her. Think back 7 years in your life...that's a while, isn't it?!
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
So, in just the first few chapters of the Bible, we have 3 examples of long years of waiting and it was all according to God's plan. You can't rush Him and you can't delay Him; His timing is perfect. The best thing we can do is learn to trust Him and wait with Him.
Puts things in perspective a little, doesn't it?