Written by: Amy Dalke
I have a few watches. I’m sure you have a watch, or two (or several) yourself.
It’s just maddening sometimes that I can’t see God’s watch.
I want to know what time He’s got up there.
Okay, God, is it time…yet? Or how about now…? What time is it? Can I have it, do it, get it…now? When?
There are occasions when I find my own watches, clocks, and any other time-telling device to be exasperating. Like when a certain 8 year old boy has been told to “give me 5 minutes,” or that “…they will be here in 15 minutes.” He takes it very literally – and will show off dramatic displays of impatience when the allotted time is up…and he’s still waiting. Thankfully, God never unleashes a high-pitched, “Hold ON, already.” to me when I’m stomping my feet in ridiculous impatience. Not that I ever behave that way with Luke. (Okay, maybe not ever is stretching it.)
Luke comes by impatience honestly, so I can’t really blame him. He lives with two parents, neither of whom are Merriam-Webster’s prototypes for patience. (To be fair, his father does tend to tolerate delay in a more low-key manner than his mother.) I am more apt to be anxious and impulsive and restless and completely void of forbearance.
My view is that FedEx overnight just takes too long, and Amazon Prime’s free two-day shipping seems like an eternity to wait for my purchase to arrive. Modern day technology does not exactly groom us to live patiently, either.
We don’t have to wait until a show records in its entirety to start watching it, nor do we have to wait through endless commercials.
Why wait for pages and files to download? You should always make sure you have the fastest internet connection possible.
All those G-level descriptions for wireless speed on our mobile devices? Good grief. If I don’t have the latest 4G-speed-whatever, I am convinced my own version is SO SLOW.
These days, we don’t have to wait to sit at the computer before we can send, receive, or check our email. The recipients of our emails also have the ability to check their email remotely, so in a perfect world (or not) – we never have to wait longer than a few hot seconds, before we can communicate globally. Isn’t email itself just a faster way to get mail? Is there such thing as a post office anymore? (I’m exaggerating. I know post offices still exist. They’re just bankrupt.)
This has got to be one of the most annoying images I see in any given day:
For crying out loud, just LOAD already.
I think you get the picture. Waiting is not my favorite.
Wait: verb \ˈwāt\ :to stay in a place until an expected event happens, until it is your turn to do something, etc.; to stay in place, in expectation of…
Waiting is not my strong point. It is often grueling for me to Stay. In. One. Place. until an expected event happens. As if.
And SOMETIMES, oh…sometimes…instead of waiting – I just straight up decide that I will find a quicker route. Like reading directions. Who has time for that?
I would rather ignore the fact that reading patiently through the instructions saves significant time in the end. (Particularly when instructions are in the form of a recipe.) (For that matter, skipping steps really is not wise. That is, if you want something edible as a result. Not that I know this from experience. This is something a friend once told me.)
I am going through a hard core wait right now. The culmination of a long thought process is within eyesight…but I’m still viewing from a distance. The result of seven months’ worth of praying, planning, dreaming, and figuring is just within my grasp. Yet, I’m still waiting. In the midst of this interval – the gap between decision and ultimate fruition – I have been tempted to take detours, short-cuts, and all kinds of left turns, just to avoid the wait.
Here is a text I sent to friends last week – bemoaning the waiting game:
Check out their responses:
(I could write a book about the value of encouragement from friends…but…that’s another subject, another day.)
I will say this: their words were my fuel for enduring the wait. When the first texted reply dropped onto my screen, it had not even dawned on me that this was a patience issue. Quite frankly, I had already begun to doubt whether or not I had made the right decision in the first place. Maybe I had read all the signs wrong. Am I making a bad decision? Am I jumping off a ledge with no rope? Am I doing the most foolish thing ever? Is God giving me an emergency exit? (Oh, I’m so dramatic. Not just in writing. This is my real life, folks.)
These options for detour, these canyon-sized doubts, these strangling fears flooded my mind…until these sweet (timely) reminders from faithful friends gave me a new perspective. So then, I went digging for more:
“For the vision is yet for the appointed time; It hastens toward the goal and it will not fail. Though it tarries, wait for it; For it will certainly come, it will not delay.” (Habakkuk 2:3)
“Wait patiently for the LORD. Be brave and courageous. Yes, wait patiently for the LORD.” (Psalm 27:14)
“…but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.” Isaiah 40:31
It’s true: every human who has traversed this earth, through the pages of history, has had to wait at some point. A couple of “waits” particularly stood out to me, as I fussed about my own:
- If Abraham had not waited for God to provide a ram for the sacrifice, then Isaac would have had his head chopped off.
- If Christ’s followers had not listened – and then waited – in the upper room, then they would have missed the filling of the Holy Spirit…and thus, they would have missed experiencing the unprecedented and powerful days of the first church community.
These examples shed new light on my own wait – because, rest assured, no one’s life is at stake, neither is the church’s future. There are scores of other situations we could list, but the bottom line is like that old ketchup commercial: good things do come to those who wait. I would be a fool to claim that every single time we wait for something – our results are blissful. I will say with much conviction that I believe God will bring his glory out of every situation we commit to him. He’s always, always working for our good. His glory comes first…our good is just a result of that. That “good” may not initially look the way you or I would like it to look. (And go figure, everything really is by HIM, for HIM…so life never really is ALL about ME. This is reality…hard as that is for me to digest.)
Here is what I recorded in my journal on Friday evening – the things I have learned and re-learned in my own waiting room this week:
…that God does have the Perfect Timing.
If I choose to skirt the issue, and cut out a perceived delay, then I’m sacrificing the “best” that God has waiting on the other side.
…that there can be “much learning” in the waiting.
…that waiting…requires trusting.
…that even when there is stillness between a decision and anticipated action – it doesn’t mean that God got lost.
Or that God left.
Or that God changed his mind.
Perhaps he still has some “changing” for me to do…
Or a lesson he is encouraging me to learn.
Or maybe there is an endurance muscle he wants to build up in me.
Or, the wait may have nothing to do with me at all. (ouch. that is not my natural viewpoint, is it?)
This wait. Is. So hard.
Yet, I have seen…that in the middle of a wait, my mind can settle into God, believing He has it under control.
God is teaching me that Fear and Doubt are ushered out when his Strength fills up my soul.
…In this wait, I have already seen the glory of “aha!!” moments that I would have missed, if I didn’t wait for God to untie the bow.
(Suffice it to say, I’m a box destroyer, and it’s not my MO to graciously and delicately un-wrap packages.)
…I am learning that in the fullness of His timing, God will unfold, unveil, unwrap and unloose.
…I am learning that on God’s watch, the hands tick to His sync – and no moment will unfold ahead of His perfection.
Whatever you are waiting on – don’t give up hope that it’s coming. God does not change his mind. He doesn’t change. Period. Don’t miss out on the “best” he has for you on the other side of The Wait. It may seem like it’s taking For. Ever., but don’t lose heart. Don’t give up or give in…or take the shady detour.
So here I am. I am still waiting. But by the grace of God, I am settling into it. In other news, my hasty-like driving, my ability to stand calmly in any kind of line, and my desire for Faster-Than-FedEx-Overnight, have not been affected by this new stillness of heart. (Just saying. One step at a time, and all that. We can’t fix everything at once, you know.)
p.s. If you thought you pulled up the blog of a first-rate bible scholar…well, I think you clicked the wrong link. All the views stated here are my own personal interpretations and opinions. (Sorry, you’re welcome to stay, though!)