We hate to wait. Long lines at the grocery store… I find myself thnking, “Three’s a crowd, dude! Time to open another lane!” Like it’s my right. I’m entitled to quick service no matter how crowded the store is. Or when I get put on hold and have to listen to the same terrible canned music over and over again, getting more an more frustrated as the minutes tick by. Where do they get that stuff anyway?
I know I’m not in this alone. Our culture is one of instant gratification. You see it every time we’re asked to wait and we automatically pull out our phone to see what interesting cat video or baby photo we may have missed i the past three minutes. We can’t stand to have idle time. We have to fill it up.
You see it in the amount of credit card debt our country is plagued by. In my parent’s day, they saved up for things. “90 days same as cash” was instead “save up until you have the cash… and then buy it.”
I waited a long time to finally get married. I didn’t think it would ever happen. I hoped it would. I cried, I complained, I begged and pleaded with God. For a long time I thought He wasn’t listening or that He refused to answer. But all along He was answering. It just wasn’t an answer I liked.
I’ve heard it said that God answers prayers in one of three ways: yes, no, and not right now. In other words, wait. But when we’re in the middle of it, it feels like a no. Or maybe I’m not doing something right. It feels like there’s got to be a way around it, so we go about thrying to make it happen ourselves. That usually doesn’t turn out well. There’s almost always some heartbreak and we don’t end up with the thing we wanted anyway. We’re left waiting once again.
I kinda hate the phrase “hindsight is 20/20”. I also hate “think outside the box” but that’s a totally different topic. But as much as I hate the words, they’re true. Looking back, I can see that there was a reason I was being asked to wait. His name is Tony. And he was worth the wait.
The day Tony and I got married, I promised that when things didn’t make sense and it seemed like God was far away or silent, I would look into his brilliant blue eyes and remember that God really does have a plan and knows what he’s doing. Because, of course, and answered prayer this big would change my lack of faith forever, right?
Until the next thing I want really bad. Like a job. Or a baby. Then the process starts all over again. Begging and pleading, or if you’re like me, pouting and angry and close to a tantrum. I might as well throw myself on the floor like the kid in Target who’s parent won’t buy him that new toy.
Last night I read a poem that’s been going around lately called “Wait” by Russell Kelfer. And when I did, I was reminded of the value of waiting. If we got what we wanted when we wanted it, we would miss out on so much. We would have the thing we wanted, but we would lose the chance to see the transformation happening in us. We wouldn’t get to learn to be content with what we have or to walk in faith in the darkness. The waiting brings about a depth that goes way beyond what we’re asking for.
So how will I wait? Will it be different this time? Will I beg and plead and assume God isn’t listening? Or will I remember His faithfulness to me in the past and rest in the knowledge that His timing is perfect. That He is indeed listening. That He is answering.
The answer just might be… “wait”.
What are you “in waiting” for?