I Hate Waiting

waitingI hate waiting.

Like last week when I sat at a light. I was in a hurry to get home before the Florida skies open up like they do on most warm, sunny days. The light turned green but there was no movement. Too quickly it turned yellow, then red again. Humph. Huge raindrops started pelting my windshield. Then I noticed flashing lights on a car ahead. I waited some more, hoping the driver in front of me would try to inch around next time the light turned green. But no. Then a young woman dragged herself out of the car with a cell phone on her ear. As I slowly followed the car in front of me past her, I noticed a baby in a car seat crying….

Since then I’ve been thinking about how many times I misinterpret waiting. Rush to a wrong conclusion about why something isn’t happening on my timetable. Get flustered or downright angry when my plans are delayed because someone did or didn’t do something unexpected.

Or miss the hurting people around me because I’m just in too much of a hurry.

Waiting exposes things in my heart like nothing else can. When I’m in a long line at the grocery store I see my temptation to judge others as incompetent when it’s clear they needed a little more training on the cash register. Sitting for an hour before seeing my doctor exposes my ingratitude at having access to excellent healthcare. (After all, it is called a “waiting room” so why should I be surprised?) Standing in line at Disney for 45 minutes so I can spend 20 seconds taking pictures of my grandkids with Mickey shows me that waiting is okay -- as long as it’s for something important to me.

But the hardest kind of waiting involves waiting on God. I’m in a waiting season for God to move on the heart of someone I love. I’ve been waiting for a couple of years and there’s no end in sight. In fact, circumstances are indicating I may be waiting for even more years unless God surprises me with a miracle. This waiting tugs on my heart and exposes my fears. It ignites fires of sorrow and quenches embers of faith. It forces me to admit I’m out of control and sometimes I simply throw up my hands in frustrated unbelief that God really cares.

What are you waiting for today?

Is your marriage in a tough place where it seems God is taking His time to change you or your spouse? Do you find it challenging to listen to complaints from married friends when at least they have a spouse? Are long standing health or financial concerns about which you’ve prayed a lot causing your heart to be weighed down with anxieties about a future that looks just like the present? Or, like me, is there someone in your life whose foolish choices have put them on a path that creates nagging concerns about where this road could end?

God’s waiting room can sometimes stretch from hours to months to years. But I’m learning something wonderful. There’s a difference between waiting on God and waiting with God. Unlike my doctor who is caring for other patients while I read magazines until my name is called, God is with me while I wait. The Great Physician is right there with me. As one song says, “He is working in our waiting/Sanctifying us/When beyond our understanding/He’s teaching us to trust.” His presence makes the wait worthwhile because I to talk with and listen to Him. Share my anxieties and experience His comfort. Pour out my complaints and know He’s listening.

Scripture tells of two times of excruciating waiting. First, the enslaved Israelites waited for God to set them free from bondage to the Egyptians. Second, the people of God waited in deafening silence for 400 years, wondering if God had abandoned and left them to their rebellion and disobedience. Both times God was faithful to deliver His people from their time of waiting: first with Moses’s cry to “Let my people go!” and then with Christ’s cry of “It is finished!.” The first cry delivered His people from their enslavement to harsh rulers…and the second to deliver us from bondage to damning sin. We serve the same faithful God who has promised to never leave nor forsake us and to sanctify us while we wait.

Because ultimately my waiting will continue until The Day my name is finally called. Only then will the wait be over; only then will I see from His view.

Will I see then that today – as I sit here typing this post – He was working in my loved one’s heart in ways my feeble eyes simply can’t detect? Will a day come when I’ll hear how much our conversation at the dinner table last night meant, even though it seemed my words were falling on deaf ears? Can I trust God to use the treacherous path that wrong choices have paved as the way to Him?

While I’m waiting I want to have eyes to look ahead and see what is not readily apparent: a young mother with a screaming baby in the back seat, anxious to know what to do when her car dies and impatient drivers are piling up behind her. I want to work through my complaints and fears and stabbing sorrows to believe that God is working in those I love even when it seems He’s uninvolved. I want to learn how to wait with God.

Because His presence is where I want to be.

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