I visited HopePark Church this past week and listened to Pastor David Perez teach about ‘waiting in the wilderness’. How do we handle the ‘in between time’ of God’s promise and fruition? He even showed a clip of The Marshmallow Test, which illustrated young children’s ability to either eat one marshmallow immediately or wait 20 minutes for two. They apparently followed these children through college into adulthood and discovered that those who waited were more successful in school and in their careers and felt more fulfilled. It caused me to reflect on my own life and the areas where I patiently waited for the right thing vs. settling quickly for the wrong thing. I then thought about the times I wasn’t patient…yeah…pretty humbling. I think about how badly most of us wait in traffic, in line at the store, the line at the DMV, waiting for test results (both school and medical test results), etc. Think about it. We live in a fast paced world where food, data…just about anything is available in seconds. Have you ever forgotten your cell phone at home and noticed how impatient people are waiting for you to return a call or text? We are training ourselves to wait for very little today. We think we are good ‘waiters’ when a few days, weeks or months go by before a promise is fulfilled. But the Old Testament is filled with those who waited years…decades…before God’s promises were realized.
At Hope Clinic we teach young adults about abstinence until marriage; which is immediately followed by the word: wait. Ah waiting. That thing we are no longer training ourselves or modeling to young people how to do. And we wonder why waiting is so hard for them with something as big and difficult as sex. Especially when you consider the average age of marriage is no longer 18 or 22, but well into 20’s and 30’s. And I wonder…what other area of our lives have we successfully modeled to wait 10 or 15 years before fulfillment?
Do I think we should teach young people to wait on sex? Absolutely. But after this teaching at church, I am asking myself how well I model “waiting” in all areas of my life. How am I really teaching them to wait? Am I willing to wait for the things I want too? Young adults are watching us more than they are listening to us. If we want them to wait, let’s remember to show them how to wait and the positive results of waiting…in all areas of our life. If we teach them to wait for the little things, they will learn how to wait for the big things.