How much time do you spend every day waiting?
If you have meetings with me, if you are married to me, if you are a child of mine, the answer is “a lot”. If you travel anywhere that has traffic signs or signals, the answer is, “a lot”. If you cook or eat, the answer is, “a lot”. If you ever come anywhere close to the behavior we call praying, asking God a question, the answer is, “a lot.”
What’s funny is that in almost every aspect of our lives we come to expect waiting. We get used to the traffic. We accept the reality that we cannot wish ourselves from one location to another but have to wait for the distance to be covered. We acknowledge that planning takes time, processes take time, everything takes time and entails waiting.
We want our answers now, our understanding now, our meaning now, the significance of the event now, the pain relieved now, the suffering done now, the ______ now. When the issue is our growth and God’s response, we have little patience.
And that is even when God says to us, “Wait.” It’s not like it is a surprise that he doesn’t function as a divine vending machine, as we drop in the coins of our request. “Be still and know that I am God,” he says in Psalm 46. “Wait for the Lord, be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.” Psalm 27.
Why should we wait? What will make it worth it?
Because the greater the perceived benefit, the longer the acceptable wait.
Loosely translated, if we know that a person always comes through eventually, we will wait for them. If we know that the uncle always has a five in his pocket, we will wait for him. If we know that those who wait for the Lord will find their strength renewed, we will wait.
I am a pretty patient person. But I find it really hard to wait for God, to not let my thoughts run ahead of his responses. And maybe that’s why he is teaching me to…
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