November 1, 2022
While We Wait: A Simmering of Soup and Suggestions
February 1, 2022 | Jaci Miller
Right now, I’m making a pot of carrot soup. Layered with hints of garlic and onion, warmed with fresh ginger and sweetened by lots of bright carrots. Sounds delicious. Smells great too. Trouble is, it’s not ready. I have to wait for it to simmer for half an hour.
Now, 30 minutes may not seem long, especially when compared with, say, Julia Child’s Beef Bourguignon. Hello, four hours plus prep time. I’ve heard tales of waiting up to 18 hours for a brisket. And don’t even get me started on cheese making! But when you’re hungry and waiting, the minutes tick by as fast as steak through a sieve.
Cooking calls for patience.
In the same way, I’m waiting on the soup, I’m waiting on the Lord. Only with Him, I have less patience. Probably because He’s more of a cheese maker than a soup stirrer. His answers often take considerably longer and with less certainty of a “yes” than my pot o’ carrots.
I want my answers immediately, and the bigger the request, the longer the Lord seems to take. At least, I know I’m in good company:
- Jacob waited 14 years to marry the woman he loved (Genesis 29).
- Joseph was about 17-years-old (Genesis 37) when God gave him the dream that he would rule over others and 30-years-old when it finally happened — and he suffered some of those in-between years in prison.
- Abraham was 75 when the Lord promised he would produce offspring and waited 25 years for the arrival of that child (Genesis 12:4-7, 21:5).
- Noah built a huge ark without power tools. The Ark Encounter website suggests that it may have taken Noah about 70 years to complete his structure.
- God’s people, the Israelites, waited around 400 years to hear from Him in the silence after the book of Malachi. That’s a long time to trust that God will make good on His promises.
So, what do we do in the waiting? Let me offer some suggestions:
- Be productive during the downtime. Continue in prayer but work for the Lord in some way. Jacob tended sheep while he waited to marry his beloved. Joseph served in the house of Potiphar, and served so well that the Lord blessed the whole household (Genesis 39:5). Noah had his hands full building the ark. We don’t stand at the stove and “pot stare.” While the soup simmers, we fold a load of laundry or tidy the kitchen.
- Don’t run ahead of God. Abraham, while waiting on God’s answers, went rogue. When Sarah failed to have a child in what they felt was a reasonable amount of time, Abe slept with a slave to produce an heir. This was outside of God’s plan and created a rivalry that still haunts the Middle East today. There’s a consequence to premature soup sampling — singed taste buds may be a penance for our impatience. It’s better to wait on the Lord’s answers than to rush the process.
- Look to the Savior. When God is quiet, when we must wait like the children of Israel, we put our hope in the Messiah. We focus, not on the slowness of answers to our prayers, but on living in the present with Him. We focus on the big picture, rejoicing in who Jesus is and in knowing that He’s returning for us. Instead of pining for soup in the waiting time, we anticipate how delicious it will taste when we receive the goodness into our bowls.
As much as a simple pot of soup requires patience, so I need to be even more patient with the Lord. How much greater are the rewards of waiting on Him? Proverbs 14:29 tells us, “Patience leads to abundant understanding … ”
If God takes His time in answering me, perhaps He has good reason.