If there is one constant shared by the entire human race, I would have a guess that it would be our collective awareness of needs. We all need things—life is sustained by obtaining many of our needs. And needs exist on many different levels. For instance, I can say that I “need” to have my watch repaired because it is not keeping proper time. That is a far cry from another kind of need, say, the need to consume appropriate amounts of water to keep the body hydrated and alive. I “need” to email my friend. I “need” to make a trip to the grocery store. I “need” to know the answer to that problem. I “need” a break. Everyone, everywhere, lives in need.
So what does God need? Is there anything, on any kind of level, the creator of the universe needs? This question can be dismissed quickly if enough thought is not put to it. Obviously God is in control of everything; therefore, He cannot ever be in need. But when I begin to consider the many different kinds of needs we as humans can have, I come to see that there might just be at least one thing God needs.
God needs people. And more specifically, God needs people who will wait. If you were even to take but a fleeting glance into the Bible, you would see this reality woven like a thread throughout. God desires His children to obey Him, and in doing so, to wait on Him. It has been this way from the time of Adam until Jesus until to you and me. And looking around these days, it seems to me that God just might need the surfacing of an entire generation that is ready and willing to wait.
David, in a psalm describing one of his many deliverances, wrote, “I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry” (Psalm 40:1, italics mine). Jesus spoke to His disciples regarding the forthcoming gift of the Holy Spirit: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about” (Acts 1:4, italics mine).
I sometimes refer to God as “the great slowpoke.” Most of us can attest to the reality that God does take longer than we would like when it comes to answering prayers. And in the midst of pining for His purposes to come to happen—and happen fast—we almost always question Him. One of the main reasons for impatience is that our culture has adopted an attitude of instant gratification. It’s hard to wait on anything these days, and spiritual matters, unfortunately, are no different.
That is why so many of us struggle in our personal times with Him—prayer or study or meditation. We are unwilling to wait. We won’t put ourselves on our Lord’s timetable, but instead will go about as if we expect Him to mature us and reveal aspects of His great Truth in the 30-minute or hour block of time we delineate for Him daily. Then we wonder why we feel so empty despite our “quiet times.” We ache over our growing reluctance to spend time with Him. We are looking what we want to happen on our own time. We know nothing of patiently waiting for Him to hear what He wants for us (Psalm 37:4).
There is no mistaking the reality that every human lives in a state of need. The list of our needs could probably wrap around the earth a hundred times. And, for Christians, somewhere high on our list, I know, is the need to impact culture with faith. Therefore, the need to wait should be our highest priority. We must learn to wait on God to work in us.
David shared this sentiment in Psalm 27:13-14: “I am still confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.”
[Veron Bowen III is currently a missionary with the North American Mission Board, serving as a collegiate minister with the Worcester Collegiate Christian Network. This fall he will become a full-time student at George W. Truett Theological Seminary in Waco, Texas.]
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