Not too many folks like to wait and we do not generally block out time in our calendar for it. It just seems to happen doesn’t it? And, at times, it turns into waaaaaaaaaaaaaiting! It can seem interminable when trying to figure out how to navigate a twosome world as a onesome.
My friend Noah Webster defines “wait” like this:
- * To watch, observe, take notice.
- * to stay or rest in expectation and patience.
- * To stop or remain stationary until the arrival of some person or event.
Aren’t those great ways to change our perspective from time wasted to actively participating in life’s timetable? We tend to think of waiting as being forced to do nothing when we could be productively involved in some more enjoyable activity. Most often, we do not choose waiting with joy and patience and self-control – three of those fruit of the Spirit we read about in Galatians 5;22-23. We do not see it as “resting in expectation and patience.”
In terms of unwanted singleness, so much energy can be used up looking at the object of our wait that we miss out on the goodness waiting can uncover. Unfortunately, we are surrounded with messages of instant gratification. Lyrics to songs tell us things like, “if it feels so good, how can it be wrong?” We are groomed to rely on feelings and emotions as accurate and adequate guides for decision-making.
There once was a man who was enjoying a pleasant spring evening on his balcony. Across the courtyard he saw a beautiful woman who was also out enjoying the evening, totally unaware of an admirer who couldn’t keep his eyes off her. “I must meet her,” he told himself, and asked around until he found out who she was. He was married. She was married. But that didn’t seem to matter as his emotions and body worked in tandem to put an affair into action. This was not a man unaware of what life history lessons said about faithfulness between husband and wife, and the terrible consequences of adultery – unfaithfulness of a physical nature which starts in the mind and heart, acting itself out in the body. The choice was his to keep watching or to use concepts of self-control and obedience he knew well as a skillful leader. He wrote in his journal often about the steadfast character of his God and his deep desire to delight in God’s ways. At this moment, however, all that dimmed as he chose to follow his cascading feelings, even going so far as to carry out a plan to kill the woman’s husband so he could have her all to himself.
Sounds like the plot of a good movie, right? Well, it comes straight out of II Samuel 11 as a vivid illustration of a king named David who let his feelings override his good judgment and knowledge of righteousness. He took advantage of Bathsheba who was probably flattered at the attentions of such a renowned king. Later on, she because the mother of Solomon, another renowned king who followed God in wisdom and faithfulness – until his eyes, mind, and feelings began to wander and he ended up with 700 wives and hundreds of other playmates. Wow! (I Kings 11:3)
So, if these two men, used mightily by God in the foundation of our faith, could not keep temptation from overwhelming them, how in the world can we? Psalm 119 is a good place to start:
How can a young person live a clean life? By carefully reading the map of your [God’s] word. (Psalm 119:9 – MSG**)
I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you. (Psalm 119:11 – ESV**)
These verses are the start of what Paul calls “fleeing immorality. He writes:
Run from sexual sin! No other sin so clearly affects the body as this one does. For sexual immorality is a sin against your own body. Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body. (I Corinthians 6:18-20 – NLT**)