Last 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."
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?