3 Truths for Waiting Well
I’m currently drinking tea and waiting for my homemade Italian braid to brown in the oven. The anticipation of warm bread slathered with butter makes my waiting easy. I’m also awaiting the imminent arrival of our fourth grandchild. These are happy anticipations.
But sometimes waiting is irritating and feels like a waste of life.
I recall the slowness of life when my children were younger. I felt like my full time job was trying to prod kids who preferred the allures of irresponsibility along towards their next necessary task. Waiting, waiting. “Finish your breakfast!” “Go ahead and tie up your shoes!” “Did you pick up your toys?” “Why are you playing with your pencil when your math is not done?”
When you are managing a home and have many young children, I suppose you have to be a bit of a circus ringleader or the show won’t go on at all.
But in those days, I forgot that slowness did not mean lack of progress or inefficiency. Sometimes slow paces meant they were learning and growing within their limits at their correct developmental stage. They didn’t have a coordinated master plan to drive mom crazy. They just moved slowly. Your babies are not adults. Your toddlers are not adults, and your children are not adults and should not be expected to perform with the wisdom and efficiency and speed of one. They are learning, ever so slowly, and learning takes time. Apparently, their mother was also a slow learner.
Children flourish in the realm of the slow. I’ve learned that women flourish there, too. When we slow down and learn to appreciate waiting, we can take notice of the real things of life: nature, friendship, God’s truth, feelings, emotions, creativity, struggles, humanity, bread rising, and oranges being peeled.
We miss so much in the rush of life that we should really thank God for the slow. No wonder we are reminded to be thankful over and over again in scripture or we really might rush past all the blessings right in front of us.
Having grandchildren has given me an appreciation for the slow pace of a child. I watch Annie’s eyes as she really studies and notices the smallest interests: a bug, a bird, a flower. Lizzy studies Annie’s responses, being the relational little dear that she is. Karina is happy to repeat over and over and over again until she knows you know. She wants you to see, too. Children are curious and relational without an agenda.
And, of course, we do have responsibilities and must get things done in life, but in those unwanted times of waiting ,where, by no choice of your own, you can’t do anything, maybe we should be more like children and submit ourselves in the moment to the timetable of the One who runs everything and gave everything to us.
Maybe we should give thanks for the things that are true and real right now: what we know of God and His heart for us.
Are you in a season of waiting? You can’t change outcomes, you know that. But you can talk to the One who can. You can pray that your will will be molded and your heart aligned to His will in this moment.
Can you determine that by God’s grace your waiting will be for a purpose? That you will bring glory to God in the good times and bad?
What if God was using you and your faithful testimony while you wait to guide others into the right practice for life? What if others followed your footsteps during the waiting game? Would they lead them closer to Christ or father away? What an awesome responsibility that is to think about.
Maybe you are waiting for: a diagnosis, financial help, a friend who can walk with you through loneliness, a loved one to recover from an illness, a break, a relationship to be restored, the courts to render a verdict which will impact your entire life, a prodigal to return to the Lord. In your waiting, whether happy anticipation or the dreaded unknown waiting, here are some truths to remember.
Three Truths for Waiting Well.
Friend, in your waiting, you are fully living. Our waiting moments are our real life, not just something to get past. How you wait is mission critical. You may wait for years. Don’t waste those years floundering. God holds you through it all and His will is that you grow in grace and in the knowledge of Him. His plan is that you’d be fully alive and know Him even as you wait.
I was reminded of this truth last week as I went to check the ice on one of our cranberry bogs. All the vines were under the ice, completely frozen. The farmers flood the bogs so they can drive sanding machines out to spread a layer of sand over the acreage, which then acts as a fertilizer. As the ice melts the sand gently descends into the bogs to do its job.
As you skate, you can see the frozen vines and berries entombed in the ice. Though nobody would say that the berries were living their best lives under there– and nobody would say this is the most exciting time of the growing year (we all know that the harvest season is the time we all anticipate!) –still there is a beauty in knowing that winter is necessary for growth, and without rest there would be no new fruit. It is part of the plan and the frozen terrain was all done on purpose for the health of the whole.
2. Waiting is on purpose. It’s a gift of God and it wasn’t give haphazardly or by chance. Nothing is by chance. Waiting is part of God’s tool kit for your sanctification. If it were good for you right now, He would have granted it. And if its not good for you, He will withhold it in mercy.
3. Waiting Exposes our Idols.
Waiting exposes our idols and the flimsy crutches we construct in this life. Where do you go for comfort when life seems out of control? We tend to run where we think we’ll find happiness. The object of that pursuit, whoever or whatever that is, shows who/what we believe will bring us hope, help, and comfort.
Also, while you wait, beware of quick fixes. Don’t do anything rash. Distrust yourself and seek wise counsel when you are discouraged by waiting. Scripture is full of people who wouldn’t wait or tried to take matters into their own hands because they didn’t like their circumstances. (Hello, Eve, Cain, Sarah, Abraham, Miriam, Moses, and the list goes on and on and never ends pretty. Enough said.)
If you are waiting and hurting through the wait, I want to give you some scripture to help strengthen your heart and mind:
Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!Ps. 27:14
I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his word I hope; my soul waits for the Lord more than watchmen for the morning, more than watchmen for the morning.Ps. 130:5-6
Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.1 Peter 5:6-7
Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way, over the man who carries out evil devices!Ps. 37:7
And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.Gal. 6:9
May we turn to God in our waiting to be sustained by His love, watchcare, friendship, and understanding. May we see clearly to abhor god-substitutes and save ourselves the heartache of living life apart from God.