Waiting

coffee_cup_2.jpgLast Thursday, Charlotte and I were in Oklahoma City to meet our younger daughter as she returned from her overseas study this semester.  Four months of travel.  China.  Japan.  New Zealand.  Australia.  (Japan alone would have been fascinating, as she lived with a Japanese family for a month.)  Anyway, while we were in Oklahoma City, we went to a Wal-Mart to pick up a few items that she needed.  While we were there, Charlotte suggested that we get an ice scraper for her.  We did.  Then I saw a spray bottle of windshield de-icer and decided to get that as well.  It was cold outside, but there was no ice or snow — yet.  (I know — this sounds like a parent thing.)  We put these two items in the basket along with the other things she needed.

 
Sunday evening, Oklahoma City was covered with ice.  Suddenly the ice scraper and the de-icer were very important.  

 
You sort of learn that don’t you?  No, there is no ice outside right now.  But just wait.

Yesterday, I read the new issue of Richard Foster’s  periodic letter "Heart-to-Heart."  He writes the following about "waiting."

 
"Waiting!  It is among the most universal of human experiences.
 

  • Waiting to begin school.
  • Waiting to get our braces off.
  • Waiting for our first date.
  • Waiting to graduate.
  • Waiting to marry.
  • Waiting for our first job.
  • Waiting for our first baby.
  • Waiting for our first house.
  • Waiting to retire.
  • Waiting . . . waiting to die.

Waiting is among the most common venture in human life, and the more Christian spirituality touches common life redemptively the more it deepens in meaning."

 
Foster goes on to speak of various people in the Bible who waited.  "Waiting is right at the heart of Christian spirituality.  Think of Moses waiting in the desert for silent year after year.  Think of Elijah, sequestered in his cave, keeping a lonely vigil over earthquake, wind, and fire.  Think of Mary waiting patiently for the fulfillment of the word of the Angel Gabriel.  Think of Saul — Saul who became Paul — being instructed by the Spirit in the deserts of Arabia for three solitary years."

 
Waiting.

 
Can you relate?  Are there things you have learned in waiting that you probably would not have learned any other way?  I know.  Waiting is not exactly the most pleasant experience.  As Foster later suggests, for many of us waiting is something to be avoided at all costs.

 
I would enjoy hearing some of you reflect on this one.  In fact, I suspect that some of you have learned much through waiting.  I am not sure that I have always appreciated what God has done in my life during periods of time in which I have waited.  Anyway, I look forward to hearing from you on this. 

 
What have you learned in waiting?  Can you think of things you have learned that have proven to be valuable?  Are there things you have learned in waiting that you probably could not have learned any other way?  

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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15 thoughts on “Waiting

  1. I’ll be the first to admit that I am not a very patient waiter. God has certainly taught me many, many things through the process of waiting on Him…but truth be told, if given a choice I’d probably still choose to have what I want when I want rather than wait for it!
    One thing that waiting reminds me of is that the world does not revolve around me and my needs and wants. Although what I pray for may come from the best of intentions, I have to realize that usually there are more people involved in whatever I’m asking for than just me. I may be ready to receive whatever it is I’m waiting for, but the timing may not be right, or the other people that God is using in whatever situation I’m in may not be ready to be used by Him.
    I have certainly learned that God’s timing is always perfect…of course, that’s a lesson learned much in hindsight, and one that I have to remind myself of often when I feel a sense of impatience and urgency rising up within me.
     

  2. If there is one thing that I can relate to, it is waiting.  I graduated from LCU in 2004 with the goal of becoming a dentist.  The dental application period is long and you can only apply once a year.  After attempting 5 times and working at Baylor College of Dentistry for 1 1/2 years, I still did not get in.  Now, I have turned my efforts to physical therapy and I am currently waiting in high anticipation to hear from them.  All that to say that God has taught me so much and my faith has been solidified through this waiting period.  I have learned that things happen on God’s time, not mine.  He has a plan for me and more importantly He is in control.  The faster we figure out how to depend on God, the better.  It doesn’t make the waiting any easier, but it does give you a sense of peace, that God has not forgotten about you.  I like reading Psalms 13 quite often.

  3. I have learned that I’d much rather teach and blog about waiting than actually experience waiting! It’s very much like patience … better to exegete than to have to learn through experience.

  4. Chris,I sighed when I read your comment.  You have attempted to get into dental school five times.  Wow!  You must have felt so much frustration and disappointment through all of that.Thanks for this comment.  I appreciate you very much and miss getting to be around you. 

  5. Lisa,I suspect there are a number of people who are reading your comment who can relate to what you are saying.You said it well, at times we feel this sense of urgancy and impatience rising up within us (or at least I have felt this way).  Yet, in all of this we are challenged to trust God. Thanks so much for what you expressed.

  6. One nice thing about being over 50 is that I’ve lived long enough to see that God’s promises are really true.  He really does work things out for our good.  It may not be immediately apparent, but if you wait long enough, He will work it all out.  And it will be good.  If things don’t seem good, it’s just that I don’t understand or haven’t waited long enough!  🙂

  7. Connie–Thanks.  As you said, God’s work is not always immediately apparent or even apparent after some years.  Yet, as you say, he keeps his promise.

  8. I was just talking with my students today about waiting in the context of discernment.  I love Proverbs’ description of the discerning person as someone who waits, not making impulsive decisions.  At Wheaton, I have had many conversations in the last week with folks who would choose a food item that they didn’t really like due to a shorter wait in line.  It reminded me of Richard Foster’s encouragement to intentionally choose the longer lines wherever we are to cultivate patience and a spirit that is okay with waiting.  I soooo need this lesson, and find that I typically find more of my Lord in the waiting.  Not just that I usually find better "food", but that I am closer with him than I am when I don’t wait.   

  9. I’ve been waiting for 6 long weeks. Waiting to begin our work in church planting. Waiting to get a job so that we can afford to throw ourselves into spreading the kingdom with only a handful of others. More than that, I’ve been waiting to simply get an interview.
    At times this has been the most rugged, raw, and painful experience of my life. The hardest part has been the wait. I finally had an interview with a local bookstore as store manager yesterday. I don’t think I’ll get that job. Recieved a phone call today and I interview tomorrow for a good but low paying job. And after the wait, I’m as content as I can possibly be. Along the way I’ve learned to just trust Jesus’ promises regarding the kingdom. I could have had these interviews weeks ago, but they weren’t there. And now I’m thanking God, as I have several times even in the midst of the darkest unknown, because all of this has driven me closer to him. I find Him to be totally dependable. I love Him. I really do. The wait has taught me that.
    Ben

  10. Ben,What a wonderful post!  It sounds that even though you have been in the middle of an incredibly long wait (probably trying you at times on a number of levels), you have had your faith strengthened and affirmed.I look forward to hearing what God does with you in this new ministry.I always appreciate your comments.

  11. Jen,I love your line, "…I typically find more of my Lord in the waiting."  That is so true.  I also like what you said regarding your students and shorter lines.  It reminds me that in our impatience (I’m including myself here) we sometimes settle for less than what God intended. 

  12. I have been praying that God gives me a new job (for 9 years) … I have prayed, filled out lots of applicaitons, submitted lots of resumes for this 9 years..
    I have only been called for just one interview last year, as you see I did not get that  position.  3 years ago I was given the postion as supervisor. I was recently demoted because of lies from fellow coworkers
    I am now serving in the same position that I started with (9 years later). I know that GOD has a plan, I pray that he give me faith to endure.
    AT THIS PRESENT TIME I AM WAITING ON A NEW JOB, TO BE MARRIED, APPROVAL ON A MORTAGE LOAN, MY HOUSE TO SELL…
    I AM A LADY IN WAITING, PRAY FOR ME.