Society doesn’t cater to being of no use. The art of being useless isn’t new. It has been a labor of love throughout the centuries.
Ask Noah. A man who builds a boat for a flood no one else saw coming because his God told him too. How much wood did he waste? Time? Effort? According to the local environmentalist he was breaking the law; chopping down trees for nothing. (Genesis 6:15)
Ask Abraham and Sarai. God tells them they will have a child even though she is barren. Did they have any idea 20 years would go by before God kept his promise? What were they doing all that time? (Genesis 17:17)
Joseph. Stuck in an Egyptian prison for 13 years for crimes he never committed. What good could he have possibly done? (Genesis 39:20)
David who would be King chased after by Saul spent months at a time hiding out in mountain caves to stay alive. Wonder what grungy bugs and creatures he had to fight off while living on the run. (1 Samuel 22:1)
The Prophetess Anna lived her entire life awaiting the birth of the Messiah. Her focus was prayer in the Temple daily since she had been given the gift of prophecy. She knew she would live to see the Savior. Luke 2 speaks of her age as 84 before she held Jesus in her arms. (Luke 2:36)
The Apostle Paul spent much time in prisons, starved, wrecked or injured. Yet somehow between each crisis he wrote many books in the New Testament. But how much time did he waste singing in the dungeon or recovering from his Gospel antics? (Philippians 4:13)
How long do we wait for God to answer our prayers?
While we wait, how useful are we?
Noah had the last laugh.
Abraham and Sarah learned how to trust God completely.
Joseph may have twiddled his thumbs a lot but his course in prison taught him forgiveness.
David may have been hidden but he learned how to be a “warrior.”
Anna spent most of her time in the Temple and became an example of utter loyalty and faithfulness to God.
Paul was an educated Pharisee who learned the ultimate in humility.
In our modern day what are we doing while we wait?
Are we only useful if we are physically preaching, teaching, collecting for the poor and homeless? Are we only useful if we are busy??????
Isolation is part of the lesson plan. Without it one who follows Jesus can’t get to know him. Granted the Biblical characters mentioned above had no technological communication advances like we do to spread the Gospel from a prison or cave. Forget a signal, David probably just wanted a decent lunch.
If God allowed these men and women to suffer through years or decades of waiting did he consider that time useless?
Maybe it depends on how we spend the time waiting.
Do we complain about the grungy bugs and creatures we have to fight?
Do we lament our plight as a punishment thereby giving us the right to a pity party?
Are the injuries and pains too hard to sustain justifying getting angry and holding a grudge against those who threw rocks and laughed at us for building a boat for a God no one can see?
Or do we observe and learn from their examples of total reliance on God? That God wastes nothing not even our isolated uselessness?
Do we subject ourselves to His word and grace by living in a misery where we learn what we couldn’t have learned elsewhere?
Do we spend time getting to know the God of the universe as the Almighty I am or do we scratch our heads while crying out to Him,
“What in the world are you waiting for God! “