I Want What I Want Right Now
The LORD visited Sarah as he had said, and the LORD did to Sarah as he had promised. And Sarah conceived and bore Abraham a son in his old age at the time of which God had spoken to him. Genesis 21:1-2
I’m not a very patient person. I’m impulsive, wanting what I want right now. When I’m hungry, I prefer the buffet where I can eat immediately, whereas my family often prefers the order-and-wait restaurant. When I first met my wife, I wanted things to move along quickly, but it took seven long years before we developed a mutually romantic relationship. Much later, when I got out of treatment for my opioid addiction, I thought my entire life, marriage, and career should be restored immediately, but it took years of recovery to accomplish this. I want it right now, is a life problem for me. My demand for immediate gratification is what created my drug addiction in the first place. Recovery then, has meant that I must learn to rely on God’s timing, and I’ve found that his timing is not the same as mine.
That reality – God’s timing isn’t the same as man’s timing – is apparent in today’s passage. In the story, Abraham and Sarah finally received their long-promised son, Isaac. Guaranteed to them years earlier by God, Abraham and Sarah had moments of doubt and faithlessness. They even tried to speed up God’s plan by conceiving a son through Sarah’s servant, Hagar. When God promised them 25 years earlier that they’d have a child, I bet they never imagined it would take that long. They probably began planning for a son that very year. But year after year, when nothing happened, they grew impatient and disillusioned. Why did God make them wait so long?
Why does God make us wait? For me, it’s had everything to do with learning faith and obedience. I still have a self-destructive, impulsive nature. Those things that I want right now are often unhealthy for me. In having to wait, I’ve learned to rely on God, following his will, instead of my own. My way has been disaster. His way has been life. Getting what I want right now, simply isn’t healthy. Waiting on God, doing what I know to be right – no matter how long it takes – is always the path to life, joy, and peace.
God’s timing isn’t our timing. Often, when we pray, we don’t find immediate gratification and maybe we never get exactly what we thought we desired. We imagine that life is found in getting what we want, right now. God knows however, that authentic life is found only when we exercise faith in his plan for our lives.