I used to really hate waiting. I’m generally impatient – with plans, people, moving vehicles, or rather unmoving vehicles, small dogs, what have yous. The phrase “it makes me crazy” seems to escape my lips way more often than it probably should. You would think I would have high blood pressure, but I in fact do not.
Patience, as we know, is a virtue, but what I really have grown to learn is that waiting can be fun. Remember back as a kid and you went to camp. (Maybe you didn’t in which case you can skip to the next paragraph. Well maybe the next blog.) Your counselor, if she was worth her salt, had a slew of games to play while sitting at the table in the mess hall, or while waiting for the rain to stop, or while waiting to be let into the mess hall, or waiting on line for the canteen to open, (you wait a lot for food at camp) etc etc. There was always something to DO or sing or laugh about, and waiting became a game.
For me throughout my adult life, the waiting game almost became the norm. I felt like I was always in a holding pattern, circling the air, waiting for clearance from The Tower and even waiting at the gate to be let off the plane. I don’t think it’s any mistake that the verb “wait” is used soooo often in the Psalms. David had to wait a lot. One of the elders at my church recently used David’s anointing as the next King of Israel as an example of us as a church waiting for a pastor. David had to wait a long time between getting the call from God via Nathan and the time he gets to sit on the throne. (That’s the original Game of Thrones – take that, George R R!)
But what does it LOOK LIKE to wait? Therein lies the rub! And like Hamlet, we often get bogged down with the moment and not being able to see beyond our personal pain, struggle, fear, mortality, anger, disenchantment, betrayals, jealousies. We let those things consume us and take over our minds and hearts fueling our impatience and turning what is sometimes righteous anger and the need for swift justice into blind rage and persistent demanding. We deeply believe “someone” owes us “something” and we allow the frustration of not having it eat away at us.
Ok, so I’m going to get a teensy graphic here in an example, so if you are weak of heart and stomach, you might want to go ahead and skip down a few paragraphs again.
*Insert gross analogy here: So I learned from a really disturbing movie called Se7en that when you are strapped down to a bed and can’t get up for oh say a year or so that you will not only starve, but you might could eat your own tongue. This is icky. Thing is that when your body doesn’t get what it needs, it cannibalizes itself. This is also called Weight Watchers. But seriously, in a very real physical sense, when we are craving something and don’t get it we will turn to what is available, even against logic and good sound dietary practice.
*End of gross analogy.
So when we aren’t having a steady diet of things that we really need – i.e. God, in a word – we are going to grow impatient. We are going to reach for anything and everything within our grasp and we are going to become a big giant gross gigantic mess of ickiness to be found a year later by Morgan Freeman and Brad Pitt. oh wait sorry, I said I ended the gross analogy. ok NOW I’ll stop…
We so often chase after all the things that do not have the capacity to last and we wonder why we feel so empty after. It’s like the joke about Chinese food which I have never understood but I guess I’ll give in to the pathetic, rampant racism that exists and repeat it here. You can eat Chinese food and be hungry 20 minutes later – or whatever. The point is that whatever we eat, we are (another fun cliche) and when we let our impatience rule the day, we are going to fail miserably.
And what is impatience at its root? A lack of trust. We sit behind a slow moving vehicle and we think that for one thing wherever I have to go is more important than where that driver has to go, and secondly that we are just in general better drivers. What is letting our guard and our values down in order to go ahead and date someone we KNOW is wrong for us long term just “for fun?” It’s a fundamental lack of trust in a Father who is working it all out behind the scenes. We don’t really believe He’s doing what’s best for us or really anything at all because we don’t see the results yet.
If you’ve ever had people work for you, you know how important it is to trust they are doing something. But instead of just trusting they are, you might have status meetings or require staff reports. (Oh shoot I forgot to do my staff report… terrible!!) Or you ask them daily, repeatedly, what and how they are doing. It’s how we often interact with God. He isn’t our star player (no disrespect intended) who we have full faith in and can do no wrong. He is on probation and has let us down – not met expectations – lost the company money – destroyed our lives. Right? Isn’t that your experience, which naturally leads to your distrust of Him?
I’m the kind of person who can make things happen and when I set my mind and heart on something, it’s bull in a china shop time. (Korea shop doesn’t have the same ring to it.) But at times, when I am required to wait and see, I call upon every experience I’ve had so far to remind myself how much more God has in store than I ever dreamed, and I say aloud and often, I believe. Help me in my unbelief. And I go eat some Sweet Frog Frozen Yogurt.
‘Tis so sweet 😉