I’m becoming a waiting pro. I’ve had much experience, especially in the last 3 years of my life: waiting on answers to prayers, waiting on direction, waiting to become more like Jesus (I’m pretty sure that’s gonna last my whole life), waiting to see the plans God has for my daughters. Waiting is a big part of everyday life anyway: waiting at the doctor’s office, standing in line at the grocery, in traffic, on friends who are meeting us for lunch or coffee, for fun holiday family get-togethers, for vacations, on test results, for news from a job interview, for a newborn baby to arrive…it goes on and on.
Since it is such a part of life why do I become irritated when I have to wait? I think partly because it is a time when I have no control over the situation or the outcome. I feel I should be doing something to help the process along, whatever that may be. There are many things I can’t make happen any quicker than they are already happening. It is out of my hands.
I got to see first-hand the beginnings of a house being built on Extreme Makeover Home Edition this week. Scads of workers were busy night and day to build that house. In reality, most houses take weeks or months to build. The owners must wait for everything to be completed and done well if they want a house that will last, one they can enjoy living in. Impatiently moving in before the roof was complete or windows installed would be silly. Even worse, deciding to take over because the builders are taking too long and do it yourself, when you are not skilled, would probably end in a shoddy mess of a place to live.
The smell of baking bread when I’m hungry is just about enough to do me in. I can’t wait to taste the crispy crust and soft inside of a thick slice when it’s done. Pulling it out of the oven before it’s finished baking would make all the waiting I’d done to that point useless. The dough would be gooey and wasted. I’d have to start all over again.
I remember how excited I was when I became pregnant for the first time. The thought of nine months of waiting for my baby seemed like it would take forever to pass. There’s no rushing that little baby, though. If it comes too early it will have problems and may even die. My job was to eat well, get rest, and stay healthy and just wait while my little one developed and grew at the pace God determined. When Kimmi finally showed her sweet, little face the joy was indescribable. How completely worth the wait!
I can find things to do while I wait to make myself ready for whatever is ahead. God does the rest. I tend to want to “help” God with His part but that only leads to unnecessary stress and frustration. He reminds me that sometimes there is simply nothing I can do but pray and wait. I can’t solve the problem at hand, I can’t fix everything for everyone I love, I can’t heal people, I can’t orchestrate the interaction of many lives the way God does to bring about amazing, beautiful results. He’s the Savior and CEO of the Universe, not me.
This actually has brought me relief lately. My heart becomes weighed down when I think I’m not doing enough to help hurting people around me find answers. In those moments I realize I’ve taken that mantle of responsibility and foolishly draped it across my own shoulders. I want to wrap my arms around so many, draw them in, heal their hearts, give them hope, sustain them, build them up, and more…but that’s what God will do in His way and time. I can help, I can pray, I can listen, I can encourage but then I am choosing to keep my hands off and wait on God.
He ALONE has the answers. He alone will make a way, not me. He will sustain people who call on Him with his grace and love. He can give them peace that is beyond their understanding. He is there for them 24/7, no matter where they are or what they’re doing. He is the one that can forgive and restore. He alone. Only God.
Whew. Thank you, God. I’m so, so thankful that You are God and I am not. I’m so thankful that oftentimes all you expect of me is to patiently wait on You. I thank you for it and won’t complain. If there’s anything you want me to do in the meantime just say it. Otherwise, I’ll be over here waiting.
I love You. I trust You. YOU are God.
Listen to my voice in the morning, Lord.
Each morning I bring my requests to you and wait expectantly. Psalm 5:3 NLT
…be strong and take heart
and wait for the LORD. Psalm 27:14 NIV
Have you never heard?
Have you never understood?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
the Creator of all the earth.
He never grows weak or weary.
No one can measure the depths of his understanding.
He gives power to the weak
and strength to the powerless.
Even youths will become weak and tired,
and young men will fall in exhaustion.
But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength.
They will soar high on wings like eagles.
They will run and not grow weary.
They will walk and not faint. Isaiah 40:28-31 NLT