I don’t do waiting very well. I hate to have to be on pause. It would appear that many of my fellow humans don’t like it much either. Depending on the day and my humanness I can be just like so many others:
- Give me a line at Starbucks and I get antsy.
- Let the person at the head of the line at the grocery market need a price check and I’m almost beside myself!
- The store is out of the CD I want NOW … and I get frustrated.
- The internet runs slow today … I’m fuming.
- We have to wait for our parents to stop talking after church and we are storming … (actually that one probably doesn’t apply to me anymore).
I actually did a message on the topic a couple years ago after re-reading Ben Patterson’s book appropriately entitled Waiting.
I think that some of the problem comes from our society and culture – not always bad. We Americans have become used to excellent service, efficiency, and speed. And sometimes when we have to wait the “demanding bug” hits us and we, far too often, ungraciously let everyone know how it is – eye-rolls, shrugged shoulders, harrumphs, bah-humbugs, all the way up to temper tantrums and anger displayed at everyone around us, or turned inside where we churn up the stomach acid.
There are other times of waiting that might be far more serious. Times when we wait for God to fix things, to make things right.
- A childless couple waiting for a child
- A single person waiting for “the one”, or at least a meaningful “next”.
- The waiting of the chronically ill, those chronically in pain, for health, or something to take away the pain.
- The waiting of the lonely for a place where they belong, a friend who is truly a friend.
- The waiting of students, the young, to get on with life and be done with education and training.
- Men and women who long for the breakthrough that will take them out of seemingly dead end careers.
- Those in unhappy and unfulfilling marriages for relief, for redemption, or even escape.
Even as Christians we don’t always handle these well; we don’t always handle them with grace. We know that the Scriptures say that God will make all things new, that he will work together for all things for our good, but so often we grouse and complain, roll our eyes heaven-ward, with a huge sigh and (at least a few of us) wonder “why”?” Why is life not working the way we thought? Why is it taking so long for ______? Why does life seem so dead, empty and why do we have to wait for God to fill it? Why does evil seem to reign in my life, in the world ; in so many places – why do we have to keep waiting for God to set things right.
Why is it, as C.S. Lewis writes in Narnia, “Always winter, but never Christmas?” Why do we have to wait?
And when we have to wait longer than we think is right, we might just get angry, demanding, bitter. Maybe we yell at God, or others that represent him, or maybe we just get cold to God, or maybe we turn our back, or maybe we put on some mask of being content when inside we are seething.
Some however, seem to have learned to be gracious. Feeling the pain of their wait for God to do something, for God to bring justice, for God to make wrong things right, for the world’s hurts to be salved … somehow these people, by their attitude actually make the waiting of others seem easier, they seem to be people of blessing … people who actually seem to enjoy the wait!
I really want to be one of those people.