I hate to wait. I hate waiting in lines, I hate waiting for information, I hate waiting in traffic. I like to do things on my own time and when things don’t happen the way I think they should (or how I want them to), I get frustrated. Over the years, I have gotten better at waiting but there are still times when I walk into the post office or bank, look around, and walk straight back out because of the incredibly long line.
The world tends to encourage us to not practice waiting. We are obsessed developing ways to not have to wait. We have become dangerously accustomed to having our food, information, and entertainment whenever and however we want it. Over time, we have gotten worse at waiting. And, unfortunately, we think it’s a good thing. We’ve adapted to our impatience and we think that it is doing more. We can get more done if we get to wait less. But we achieve so much more when we learn to wait.
Jesus has so much in store for the process of waiting. It is a hard thing to do, especially when we are called to have patience in suffering but we must know that God has a purpose for our waiting and gives us the tools to help us do it.
All throughout the Bible God tells us that we must learn patience, steadfastness, and self-control. In a world where we can have anything we want and when we want it, it is extremely difficult to apply these virtues to our lives.
I want to point out that the act of waiting, or lack thereof, has the ability to reveal to us things about God and our spiritual well-being. In waiting, the depths of our hearts may be searched and a multitude of truths about ourselves revealed. When we refuse to grow in patience and self-control and refuse to wait, we are really exhibiting our lack of trust in God. Everything seems better when we take things into our own hands. It also reveals our pride, in that we refuse to humble ourselves to God’s plans.
However, when we do wait and exercise patience and self-control, we are able to have God revealed to us.
“For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God.”
“Behold, we consider those blessed who remained steadfast. You have heard of the steadfastness of Job, and you have seen the purpose of the Lord, how the Lord is compassionate and merciful.”
Waiting is excruciatingly painful but it is not meaningless. What makes waiting worthwhile is what we are waiting for. All of life is waiting and when we do not see the end of our wait or a worthwhile end, then our suffering seems to be in vain. But there is a meaning in our waiting and we find it in what we are desperately waiting for.
When I stand in line at the bank, post-office, or grocery store, I find it unbearable to wait unless there is something that I am willing to wait for. If I stand in line not knowing why, I have no reason to remain there. But if I know what I am waiting for, what I am hoping for, then the wait is worthwhile.
The problem is that most of us do not know what we are waiting for. Sure, there’s that promotion coming up, a vacation, retirement. But then what?
The Bible encourages us that there is much more to wait for: We are to wait on the Lord. Jesus is what is worthwhile in our waiting. Even more so, God is with us in the wait. He is our strength in weakness, patience in suffering, and light in the darkness. Waiting is not a time of doing nothing. It is a time of preparation. It is a developing of trust in God and deepening of love and relationship. What do the things we are waiting on reveal about our hearts? Are we waiting for things that will leave us unsatisfied? Are we impatiently refusing to seek God in every situation because our pride tells us that we know better? Or do we see the glory awaiting us and the satisfaction we can only find in Christ?
“Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!”