Waiting. Tom Petty sang about it. The Bible encourages doing it patiently. And most of us complain about it.
Let’s face it. Americans want everything now. Computers become obsolete the moment we purchase them because a faster one is on the horizon. Microwaves, instant messaging, rapid tax refunds, and fast food—it seems nothing requires waiting anymore.
Except life itself.
We wait at the doctor’s office and in line at the grocery store. We wait for payday, the weekend, vacation, Christmas, job promotions or raises, or the perfect mate. We wait for babies to be born, 5:00 to come every day, and dinner to be served. In my household, we are waiting for school to end!
Let’s face it—life is all about waiting, but we don’t wait patiently.
The book of Lamentations in the Bible often gets a bad rap for being depressing. However, when I’m in a holding pattern, its verses are comforting.
Lamentations 3:17-26 states,
I have been deprived of peace; I have forgotten what prosperity is, So I say, “My splendor is gone and all that I had hoped from the LORD.” I remember my affliction and my wandering, the bitterness and the gall. I well remember them, and my soul is downcast within me. Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope:
Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, “The LORD is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.” The LORD is good to those who hope is in him, to the one who seeks him; it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the LORD.
Can I get an amen?
God wants us to learn how to wait. More importantly, He wants us to wait WITH Him. As a friend once told me—live in the “yet.” We spend a lot of time in transition, in trials, in the valleys, and while we're waiting on God, He is waiting WITH us.
My sister Teresa is a good example of a person who waits with God. Her plane has been circling the airport for years waiting for the “all clear” to land. She’s a modern day Job without the body sores. I’ve caught glimpses of despair but never lack of faith, on her part. I’m not with her all the time, so I don’t know if she shakes her fist at God in low moments, but if I were a betting person, I’d bet against it. However, God can take our frustration and despair. He can take the “why me?”
I’ve watched and prayed with Teresa as satan has launched one attack after another, and despite the attacks, she has experienced spiritual growth. Recently, in His grace and mercy, God has granted her respite with answered prayer. In the midst of her troubles, a Christian man walked into her life. After being widowed for six years, Teresa is now happily married again. It didn’t make her other problems go away, but now she has a helpmate. Waiting has its virtues.
One of my favorite contemporary Christians songs is While I’m Waiting, by John Waller. The lyrics seem to pop into my mind when I need them most.
“I’m waiting on you Lord, and I am peaceful, I’m waiting on you Lord, though it’s not easy…I will serve you while I’m waiting, I will worship while I’m waiting, I will wait.”
Christian growth comes during periods of waiting, not in fulfillment. God’s timetable and solutions are perfect. Are you waiting for God to answer a prayer? My prayer is that you’ll experience and rely on God’s grace while you wait.
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