For most of my life, I thought waiting was about killing time. A passive way to spend the interim between here and there. Twiddling thumbs in the line at the post office. Rocking in a chair on the porch ‘til a waitress calls your name for a table at Cracker Barrel. Those things frustrate me, though. It’s just delaying my preferred outcome.
I read a book for a sociology class once in college called the McDonaldization of Society. It was about how our culture has basically trained us to expect efficiency to the point that it robs us of experience. The emergence of fast-food restaurants has taught us to replace tradition, values, and emotions. We sacrifice interaction with calculated outcomes for behavior. In the midst of all of this, we have trained ourselves to operate impatiently.
Over time, we have taught ourselves that waiting is bad.
But as it turns out, waiting with God is something else entirely.
Waiting is courageous. Waiting is brave. Waiting is active. Waiting is full of experience along the way. It’s not a void that we’re stuck in until something new happens. It doesn’t make us victims of circumstances we can’t change. Waiting is growing, and is pursuit. Waiting cultivates strength and rich experience.
Waiting can be hard but waiting can be joyful.
And waiting can only be joyful when my heart is filled with thanks.
And thankfulness multiplies when I chronicle the goodness of the Father in my life. When I notice it. When I write it down. When I look for all the blessings all around me.
Time can feel so slow when I’m waiting for answers and outcomes. When all I can see is a certain end in mind, will I trust that what God has for me in between is good? Will I believe that He really does desire to bring me a hope and a future?
Can we look outside of our plans enough to find thankfulness and gratitude in the wait? That thankfulness will produce a new joy, which converts to strength that we are going to need if we are to be courageous and wait. To wait on the Lord is to renew it all. Soak in His goodness, and know that the hope I carry is rooted in the truth of heaven, not the fruition of earthly hopes. Are we willing to be curious enough while we wait to wonder what God may be up to? Curious enough to wonder what He may be preparing us for?
Waiting is not a delay of the thing we have in our mind’s eye. It is about being present in the now, and placing a longing hope in God. It is the space in which we root ourselves in truth and learn to want God more than our own desires.