There I was in the cell phone store, trying to switch carriers when a man walked in. Because I had the attention of the only employee in the store, the man was forced to wait his turn. About three minutes into his waiting, I was about to suggest that he could go ahead of me, but then he said, “What is up today? I’ve had to wait everywhere I’ve gone.”
Waiting exposes our impatience.
My daughter is leaving home for college this fall. The other day we were chatting about all the preparations when she said, “Sometimes I wish I could just go now.” That’s because there’s so much to accomplish before she leaves that it’d be nice for that to all be behind her.
Waiting exposes our restlessness.
About 16 years ago, I went to the doctor for a prenatal appointment. The doctor couldn’t hear the baby’s heartbeat so she scheduled an ultrasound appointment for that afternoon. About five hours later, the machine detected what the stethoscope couldn’t.
Waiting exposes our fears.
You probably have your own examples. Waiting for the results from the blood test, waiting to see if the infertility treatment worked, waiting for word on your job application, waiting for the other person to come around, waiting to see if the offer was accepted, waiting to graduate.
We’re so used to Amazon Prime shipping and quick answers from Google that we’ve lost many opportunities to build our waiting muscles. So when we’re called upon to wait, it reminds us that we really aren’t in control. The fears that come from those moments, from not knowing how things will turn out, expose that we still have room to grow in our trust for God’s good plan in our lives. It’s almost as if we know God’s promises but struggle to believe the promises that he is with us, that he loves us, that he cares for us, that we can trust him.
Even people who are considered “heroes of faith” had to wait. Abraham was promised that Sarah would have a baby. He waited 25 years for that to come true. Jacob worked a total of 14 years for the right to marry Rachel. (That’s a convoluted story. You can read about it in Genesis 29.) Moses was 80 years old when God called him to deliver his people. David spent 14 years waiting to become king of Israel.
Whatever you’re waiting for right now, maybe you just need to hear what God promised his people through a prophet named Habakkuk: “Look at the nations and watch—and be utterly amazed. For I am going to do something in your days that you would not believe, even if you were told” (1:5).
Waiting is a reminder that, while we often want to rush the ending, God is patient, working out the details of the plans he has for us, which are far better than what we can even ask for or imagine.
I’d love to hear about the times God has let you wait—and what lessons you’ve learned from those moments.
Linda Buxa is a writer and editor who ultimately let the guy in the cell phone store jump in and pay his bill—while she waited.
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