Monday, October 19, 2009

I don’t wait well. After all, WAIT is a four-letter word. Whether I’m waiting for the traffic light to change or to see the doctor for an appointment or ….., I just don’t wait well. Last week I was tired of waiting for the rain to stop and my son’s schedule to change so that he could mow my lawn. Friday morning I decided to stop waiting and I mowed it myself. Then I began to look at the overgrown shrubs and was tired of waiting for someone else to trim them. Now I have never in my life used an electric hedge clipper. I have used the old fashioned manual clippers many times but never an electric one. I’m not the handiest gal, but I was one determined female who was tired of waiting. I fired those cutters up and went at it. Before long I had the hang of it. I glided over the first bush in one direction and then went back across in the other. Then I moved on to the next shrub and the next until all nine shrubs had been sheared. Mind you the final creation had sort of the asymmetrical look. Hey, who wants a set of perfectly matched evenly trimmed shrubs anyway? I had taken action instead of waiting for someone else to act.

I was tired of waiting last week after the Tennessee vs. Georgia game too. Larry and I had parked on the seventh level of the garage and needed to descend to level five to exit. We waited 45 minutes before moving an inch! I read the newspaper, chatted with Larry, listened to the radio, watched some fans doze in their cars and saw others commence to have another tailgate party. We all waited and waited. Then we began to creep down the ramp and finally entered the street. The 10th car in line, we waited for the traffic cop at the next corner to let our lane proceed. We watched as the lanes in all other directions took turn after turn. Our lane didn’t move. By this time, I had listened to all of Vol Talk on the radio I cared to hear, had tired of watching orange Volunteer shirts whiz by the car running to their apartments or cars, and my stomach was crying out for a burger. Then I heard the traffic cop at the corner behind us say, “I wish the cop at the next light would help me out here and get this traffic moving.” I was propelled into action. I unfastened my seat belt and leapt up through the sunroof and shouted in the direction of the misguided cop, “Hey, how about us! It’s time to let us go!” The only one more surprised than I was at my outburst was Larry. I shrugged my shoulders, gave him a sheepish grin, and recoiled in my seat. I had let waiting get the best of me.

These are two silly examples of waiting but they illustrate how we often react to waiting. Sometimes we act wisely and sometimes we don’t. Are you in a waiting period in your life? Are you waiting for a child to be born? Waiting for a new job to begin? Waiting for a medical report? Waiting to meet Mr. or Miss Right? Waiting to be healed? Waiting for a loved one to be saved? Are you trusting God in your wait?

The Bible tells of many people who had to wait. The Israelites waited 40 years in the wilderness before God allowed them into the Promised Land. The Israelites had strayed so far from their faith that God put them in a wilderness “classroom” to re-educate them in the ways of God. They were cut off from everything familiar to them and were to learn again to rely only on God. The Israelites didn’t wait well either. They complained, worshipped idols, built a golden calf, and were impatient with their leaders and with God. It took the period of an entire generation to teach the wayward Israelites to obey and to trust God. The 40 years were filled with freedom, choices, and consequences until finally, they learned to rely on God and obey his rules. When at last they chose to accept the love and forgiveness of a generous God and to commit to serving him, they were set free. The wilderness experience tested their patience, faith, and strength. Wouldn’t their time in the wilderness have been much more productive if they had reflected on what God was doing in their lives and on the promises he had made?

Like the Israelites, we also can build our patience, faith, and strength while we wait.

Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord. Psalm 27:14
Those who wait for the Lord will gain new strength. Isaiah 40:31
I waited patiently for the Lord; and He inclined to me and heard my cry. Psalm 40:1

When we are in our own spiritual wilderness we would do well to become more intimate with God and learn to thank, worship, praise, and honor him. Biblical waiting should not be a passive time. We should be active in our study and in our service. God is at work in our wait. We suffer when we wait, but Paul says that suffering produces perseverance, and perseverance produces character, and character produces hope. Hope based on Jesus never disappoints! (Romans 5:3-5) We must trust God’s timing in our wait. He’s always just in time!

God, my circumstances are not what I want them to be, but I will trust and obey you in my wait. Amen.


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