Ever been in a waiting room for more than 15 minutes….waiting…. with kids? As a parent, I try not to be in such situations (even though I have great kids) because I know that when they get impatient, I get impatient with them. So, we try to occupy their time waiting with handheld video games or a book or something to get their minds off of, well….waiting. Why? Because waiting is boring, right? There’s no excitement in it (though if you’re waiting for the dentist, there probably is anxiety!). “When are we going to go in?” “How much longer?” These questions are almost as annoying as “Are we there yet?“, but as much as I try to tell my kids to be patient, I’m often thinking the same things.
In Exodus 32, The Israelites were tired of waiting for Moses. He was up on the mountain and they had to wait for him to come down. They were waiting so long they weren’t sure he was ever going to come down. The Israelites lost all contact with Moses and therefore lost all contact with God. They became spiritually bored. So,while they waited, they decided to get busy doing things that were familiar to them. They had Aaron make a golden calf and began to worship it and celebrate, dancing the night away. That didn’t work out too well.
Have you ever become spiritually bored? Have you ever asked God questions which have never been answered? Have you waited on him without answer for a time and then decided to just go about your life as if you were no longer waiting with purpose on God? Have you ever wondered why you aren’t getting that excited feeling you once felt when you first came to know Christ…that mountaintop experience? I know I’ve felt that way.
Spiritual boredom often comes when we lose contact with God. Perhaps we are waiting for unanswered questions or we are disconnected because we have become distracted by…well, life. Perhaps there is a sin issue that you are asking God to take away, but He has decided to allow you to work through it rather than deliver you from it. Often times we are waiting for God to act or answer, but He does not seem to do either.
Scriptures repeatedly point out that our faith is not necessarily a faith of waiting, but of action. “Seek first the Kingdom of God” (action), “Follow me” (action), “faith without deeds is dead”, etc, etc. At the same time, Scripture also states that we are to wait upon the Lord. We are to wait in expectation (Ps 5:3), wait in hope (Ps 33:20), and wait patiently (Ps 37:7) for the Lord to do His will. In these passages (and many others), our waiting for the Lord is based on a trust that He will do as promised. This waiting has a focus on Him, His character, and His love. When we wait for the Lord to answer our prayers, our eagerness and focus may lead to the action of preparing for an answer. For example, take the two farmers who prayed for rain. One prayed and waited (and became bored), the other prayed and prepared the fields as he waited.
What about you? Are you waiting for an answer to prayer or for the Lord to act? Are you simply waiting or are you waiting with anticipation, preparing your own fields (heart) for His answer? I have one prayer that I have been asking God for for many, many years. He has not answered this prayer…yet. At times, it has been easy to give up hope, believing that God will not answer my prayer. But this is not faith. This is not waiting with hope. This is not me preparing my heart for His answer. Friends, do not give up hope. Do not wait without anticipation, growth, or preparedness for how He will answer.
I’ve recently read that our faith has to be so strong to pray for something and believe we’ll get it, while having a faith so strong that even when the answer is not given or is a “no”, that our faith will still remain unwavering. That type of faith can only come as we wait upon the Lord, and at the same time actively seek Him (through reading, prayer, and applying our lives to His Word)….This is how we can prevent spiritual boredom and not become distracted by the familiar idols of our past.