Waiting is hard. Yet we spend a lot of our time waiting. It is a very common and unavoidable part of life. Most of us probably start off our days waiting for our turn to use the shared bathroom or for our coffee to percolate or tea to steep. We wait for the bus or we wait at the lights in traffic. We wait in grocery store lines or in drive throughs. We wait at restaurants to be seated and served and we wait at appointments. We wait for the phone to ring. We wait for answers. We wait for almost everything. I feel that the Lord uses our very real-life examples to remind us that waiting is the norm. We should get used to it. We should learn to do it well.
The Lord takes his time doing what He knows is best. Ecclesiastes 3:11 reminds us that “He has made everything beautiful in its time…” God takes his time. I have been thinking about all the things for which I have been waiting, reflecting on if I am waiting well and how I can do it better. Do you wait well? I don’t always wait well. I am learning a few ways to make the waiting easier. It doesn’t always make it faster but it does help me pass the time in a productive way.
I know that God is going to bring an answer and it is of no use or help to me to feed my expectation with anxiety. I need to feed it with peace.
The first part of the verse in Isaiah 40:31 says “they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength…” The most important “wait” that we experience is on God. This scripture tells us that waiting on God renews strength in us. The verse in Nehemiah 8:10 tells us that it is the joy of the Lord that is our strength. I can conclude that in order for me to have my strength renewed while waiting on God, that I need to tap into his joy. I need to choose joy and find ways to tangibly express and experience it. It makes me think of the people waiting at the bus stop. Sometimes you see the frustration on a face as someone constantly looks at a watch or cell phone, pacing back and forth while looking up the street hoping that this activity will make the bus magically appear. Another person is seen with headphones on, singing and dancing. One might think the person is in another world-which is true- by choice- and the person barely even notices when the bus has pulled up. I am sure you know which is the person that has tapped into joy, recognizing that the bus was going to come no matter what, so it made more sense to feed positive energy rather than impatience. The person was in a chosen mental and emotional world of contentment.
James 5:7 reminds us to be patient like a farmer. The farmer waits to yield valuable crop. The example here is to help us understand that being patient means to be calm. The farmer knows that when he has planted the seed that growth takes time. The crop has to go through a process. The return is not coming the next day. The farmer continues to do what is to be done like watering and pulling weeds and giving enough sun, all the while looking forward to the timing of autumn and spring. There is an expectation. I am encouraged that my waiting is leading to receiving. I know that what I plant in prayer needs me to keep doing what needs to be done while I wait in expectation for my answer. Like the farmer, I need to have expectation that is carried by calmness. I know that God is going to bring an answer and it is of no use or help to me to feed my expectation with anxiety. I need to feed it with peace. Calmness only comes by a quiet trust. I read a quote by an unknown author that is so good. “Patience is not the ability to wait, but the ability to keep a good attitude while waiting.”
Psalms 37:7 encourages us to “rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him; Do not fret because of him who prospers in his way…” Waiting well requires resting and avoiding complaining and grumbling. What do people do when they rest? They relax. They clear their schedules or are intentional about keeping them decluttered. They do things they enjoy. While waiting we are being encouraged to do and think about things that put us at ease. We are encouraged to continue doing the things we enjoy while we wait for the “something else” we want to enjoy. We are encouraged to remove the thoughts that clutter and confuse us- the thoughts that stop us from seeing God at work. The opposite of grumbling and complaining is gratitude and thanksgiving. In the waiting we can miss out on so much of what we already have or the new things that come our way, if we carry negativity. Grumbling only causes us to diminish the value of what we have and even what we are waiting for. By the time our answer comes, we are not even looking forward to it or excited about it, because we have stolen that opportunity from ourselves.
Waiting can be uncomfortable. Yet in the process of waiting, if we are able to express joy, grow in patience and rest, while giving thanksgiving, the best lessons are waiting for us. The best things we experience in life are usually waiting for us at the end of our waiting. There is no escaping this reality. “Waiting well looks forward to the future while staying present in the present. Waiting well means I remain open to God and allow Him to move me toward the future He has planned, in His time.” -Wendy Pope. God is worth the wait and anything God has for us is worth waiting for! Let’s wait well.