I Can’t Wait…

I can’t wait….

I don’t like to wait… in line to pay…to get on the plane…to get off the plane…for the repair person who promised to be here an hour ago…for my child to do what I asked him/her to do…in the waiting room for the doctor or dentist…for that person to call me back…for my test results to come back…for school to start…for school to get out…

One of my favorite writers, Paul Tripp, says, “Waiting is a reminder that we are not in charge of how we experience life.” If approached rightly, waiting can serve us well. It can remind us of our dependence as creatures and perhaps waiting can slow down our tendency to try to replace the Creator as the one controlling all other people, events, time, and even the weather.

Waiting for “someday”…

Our tendency is to assume that the “good” will occur when the waiting is over. When whatever desirable circumstance, condition, relationship, or event finally takes place, then and only then will life be good again. Our life is on “hold” while we wait. We slip into the “someday slide” where any hope of joy, peace and fulfillment awaits the “someday” when our awaited expectation is realized, or we face the grim reality that it may not come to pass.

But what if we can realize a benefit while we wait? What if we can discipline our minds to reflect upon our blessings, on the hard things that we are not dealing with, on the opportunity for quiet, unhurried reflection while we are waiting. Perhaps we invest some quiet moments in prayer for someone in need or even a brief respite where we give thanks to the Lord for His grace and redemption rather than present another list of requests or expressions of exasperations because He hasn’t done what we’ve asked yet and we are still…..waiting! Or maybe I would be well served to mentally rehearse examples of times when it proved best that I had to wait, times when things did not happen on my timeline and it proved to be best.

Waiting “on purpose”

What if one purpose of waiting is to give us an opportunity to grow in grace and in sanctification to be more like Christ as we experience the wait. The Lord is not in as big a hurry as we are because He has a wider view of the situation than we do. Perhaps the wait that is inconveniencing us is a great blessing to someone else. Our finite, often myopic, perspective keeps us from seeing the whole picture.

As an educator, I am intrigued by the research that indicates that a child’s capacity for delayed gratification has a more powerful effect on academic achievement than intelligence. We’d all like to be high achievers in our jobs, in our parenting, in life in general. It is not unreasonable to assume that time waiting, if invested wisely, can lead to a more settled, peaceful, and mature pattern of living. It might even make us easier to live with!

King David waits…

Psalm 27 expresses the feelings of King David while he is under severe attack from his enemies. They want him dead. He begins the Psalm reminding himself that the Lord is his stronghold. He anticipates the Lord’s deliverance, but it hasn’t happened yet. He is waiting. He ends the psalm with confidence by reminding himself,

“I am confident of this; I will see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living. Wait for the LORD, be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD.”

Psalm 27: 13, 14

David’s call is for courageous waiting. God is at work. He has purposes for us while we wait, not just for after the wait is over. His ways are not my ways, they are better. Far better. In fact, they are worth waiting for!