Man Finally Finds Calling At Age 80

We live in the age of the instant. Our information is delivered to us in real-time, nugget sized bites. An earthquake rumbles in Virginia and the information arrives in Washington D.C. before the tremors do. The birth of a child is instantly blasted onto Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for all to see and rejoice. When I have a bad customer experience I can do an instant cathartic venting session to all my online friends. If a YouTube video takes more than six seconds to load I stop watching it. I mean, seriously, who’s got that kind of time to spare?

I. Hate. Waiting. With a zealous passion that probably borders on the psychopathic.

I would rather drive the long way to get somewhere than sit in stand-still traffic, even if sitting in traffic will get me to my destination faster. I would rather have a sharp stick to the eye than wait in the DMV. Don’t tell me the video needs to buffer. Don’t tell it’s going to be an hour until we can get a table. Don’t tell me my item is back-ordered and will be shipped in six weeks. Waiting grates against every high-speed, now, now, now fiber in my body. And this is a problem.

Why is it a problem? Because God does some of his deepest, most profound, most heart-changing work in times of waiting.

Moses was approximately eighty years old when he met God at the burning bush (Acts 7:30). Eighty! By the time most people hit eighty they are getting ready to sink the last putt on the last hole. Their life is winding down, literally and figuratively. They’ve accomplished just about everything they’re going to accomplish. They’re not going through an end of life crisis. And yet God saved Moses’ greatest public work for the last third of his life.

For the first forty years of his life Moses was a big man about town. He was a Prince of Egypt. He was a public figure doing important things. Then Moses killed a man and was forced into hiding. Moses spent the next forty years in the desert doing nothing. Well, not nothing. He was a shepherd. But he certainly wasn’t doing public ministry of any sort. He wasn’t writing books or going on a speaking tour or leading people. He didn’t have a popular blog or podcast. He was shearing sheep and fighting off predators and cleaning up sheep poop. Not too glamorous.

What was God doing in Moses during those forty desert years? He was doing heart work. 

As Moses tended the sheep God tended Moses’ heart. He taught Moses to lead the people of Israel by first teaching him to tend sheep. As Moses worked with sheep God was preparing his heart to work with people. Faithful in little, faithful in much. Faithful in waiting, faithful in moving.

Forty years is such a long time! I haven’t even been alive for forty years. And yet that’s how long it took God to get Moses ready. God seems to be like that. His time frame is so much longer than ours and he works so much slower than we would like. Which I guess is appropriate given the fact that he’s God and he has the appropriate perspective. It’s just that most of the time I wish God could move a little quicker. My time frame is usually in hours, days, and if it’s a really long wait, months. God’s time frame is millenia.

Slowness seems to be God’s preferred method of operation. It was years between God’s promise of a son to Abraham and the birth of that son. During those waiting years God pressed and shaped and molded Abraham’s faith. It was years between David’s annointing as king and his ascension to the throne. As David was hiding in caves and dodging spears God was doing heart work on David. He was making David into a man after his own heart.

We tend to chafe when it comes to waiting. We want God to move and we want him to move now. We want him to save our child right now. We want him to provide financially right now. We want him to 0pen a barren womb right now. We want him to deliver us from illness right now. We want him to provide a spouse right now. When God doesn’t come through quickly we start to complain and challenge God.

I’m not trying to minimize the pain or challenge of waiting in any way. Waiting is really hard and emotionally taxing. But as we wait let’s embrace the heart work God is doing in us. What is God teaching you as you wait? Is he teaching you to trust his promises more fully? Is he teaching you to rely on provision more heavily? Is he teaching you to rest in care more completely?

As we wait let’s remember the words of Peter regarding the coming of Christ:

The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. (2 Peter 3:9)

God may move slowly but he knows what he’s doing.

+original photo by robstephaustralia

  • David

    Amen! But, does God adjust for average lifespan changes? 30 is the new 80. ;)

    • Mercy

      hear hear!

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  • http://speakingtothesoul.blogspot.com Nicole McLernon

    So good. Thanks for the reminder.

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  • http://whisperings-peggy.blogspot.com/ Peggy

    I love this reminder, and yet hate it. I have only begun to wait on God. Everything I thought I was doing right, good things like serving in youth ministry, encouraging the kids and the sponsors, mentoring my girls, good things that proclaimed my deepening faith in Christ my Savior, have been removed. I'm not sure why. I can't see the next step. Like standing at the end of the rim of light from a street light. Seeing that the next step is into darkness. Unsure what the darkness holds. And yet, He keeps nudging me, "Am I not enought?" Thanks to Ann Voskamp for sharing this.

    • Beth

      My son has reminded me several times that Ps. 119:105 says that God's word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. It is a lamp right where we are, but doesn't necessarily show the end of the story. So he reminds me that as long as I have light for today, I have what is promised. Act in the light you have (obey what you know) and He will continue to guide along the path.

  • Susan G.

    We all know (admit it) that God has His own time…and it's always perfect! ALWAYS! Now what I want to know is why these two guys (father and son I assume) are living "in a van down by the river"… or is this just a joke. :)

    • Cella

      Yes, Susan, it's a joke! Haha. It's a SNL reference. Go to Youtube and search "van down by the river"

  • Becki

    Isaiah 30:15. In repentance and rest is your salvation; in quietness and trust is your strength.
    This verse has surfaced several times in the recent past… And now this.
    Teach me Lord, yes, teach me Lord, to wait.

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  • http://www.bluebirdsalwaysfly.wordpress.com Laure Covert

    Thank you! This is a confirmation of what the Lord has been saying over and over that my age doesn't matter, as long as I am doing what He asks me to. I started writing when I turned 50, went on a missions trip with my family, and started a job as a Spanish interpreter!

  • Steven Hood

    I’m a better man for reading this. Today was the first day I’ve been back to church in a while. Ive been out of work for two months now. I’m chomping at the bit to get back to work, back to providing for my family. My wife is a strong women. She’s tring not to let the kids know how bad things are. It wouldn’t have gotten so bad if my former employer hadn’t bounced my last 3 months worth of payroll checks. But that’s how business is sometimes. Good things come to those who wait. They never tell you how long the wait will be. Hopefully not much longer.

  • http://pursuingone.com Gisele

    Thank you for the post Stephen. It was good to read this post. And reading it from another perspective. I’d written something about waiting as well here “http://www.pursuingone.com/stay-and-wait/” but loved your insight on waiting. God bless and thank you.