Waiting. It’s a part of life. It’s a big part of life. Would we be shocked to discover how much time we spend waiting? I think so. We wait in line at the grocery store, we wait in line for movie tickets, we wait for documents to download onto our computers, and we wait for the interminable long red light to change to green. We wait at the airport when there’s a long flight delay. We wait for a dear friend who’s always late to show for a lunch date. We wait for the phone to ring with good news about a job. We wait on hold to resolve a billing issue. We wait nine months for our babies to be born. We wait with our kids to catch the bus and we wait for them to return safely into our arms. As they grow into teenagers, we wait up for them to come home from being out with their friends. We wait in hospital waiting rooms searching for a sign of the doctor to tell us our loved one made it out of surgery. The list is endless, is it not?
The question is, “How do you handle waiting?” Do you pace the floor, or do you find yourself getting angry? Do you keep your eye on the clock or the calendar wondering when the waited object will come? Do you worry until you feel sick? Do you smoke feverishly or drink a beer or glass of wine to ease the anxiety? Do you grab the chips and salsa to calm those nerves? Do you complain to whomever will listen to your rants? I’ve been know to do all of the above at one time or another. But if we spend a good chunk of our lives waiting, then wouldn’t it be wonderful to have a less negative, a less destructive way of dealing with it? And could it be possible that waiting is a good thing?
Waiting involves that special virtue of patience. Have you ever heard the little expression that says, “Lord, give me patience, but hurry!”? Today’s world is a fast-paced one. We have become used to instant gratification. Whatever we need is at our fingertips. But our loving God gives us many opportunities to grow in the fruits of the spirit, one of which is patience. Therefore, we must learn to wait, not only in the physical realm for our many needs, but we must also wait on God to answer our prayers. We pray and then we wait. Where is God? What is taking Him so long? Doesn’t He hear us? Of course you know He does, but whatever we need, we need it NOW!
Years ago, someone I knew treated me very badly. She was in my life for good but it was very unsettling and upsetting to be around her. One day I was ready to write her off, to make a decision to let go of her insults and rude behavior. When I discussed this action with a priest friend, he asked, “If you don’t love her, who will?” I wasn’t expecting this insight and was taken aback by the truth of his question. He said, “You don’t have to be with her all the time, but send her notes and little gifts to let her know you are thinking of her.” I took this advice to heart and did as he said. Twenty years later, this person has finally come to love me and has been so grateful for all that I have done for her over the years. She has grown into a most pleasant and agreeable woman and is absolutely delightful to be around. She is nearing the end of her days and is at peace. I shudder to think what might have happened if I had abandoned her because I felt unappreciated and hurt. The wait was definitely worth it! God’s timing was perfect. He not only gave this person time to become more accepting and grateful, but He gave me many opportunities to die to myself and rely on His grace and strength to love someone who was unlovable. The waiting involved stillness, times of prayer, a daily turning to God for help, trusting that He would give me all I needed to endure. But it also involved actions of love on my part.
Waiting is a big part of our lives. It always will be. But we have a choice on how we choose to wait. Will we curse those precious seconds that fly by? Will we fret and worry about why things aren’t going our way? Or will we quiet ourselves, whisper a prayer to our Heavenly Father, and trust that He will give us exactly what we need at exactly the right time?
<< Isaiah 40:31 >>
New American Standard Bible (©1995)
Yet those who wait for the LORD will gain new strength; They will mount up with wings like eagles, They will run and not get tired, They will walk and not become weary.