Wait is not my favorite word, but on this day a four-year-old taught me a life lesson. My grandson was coming for a visit, and before we got on the road, I stopped at a drive-through for a coke. I know it’s not healthy and yes, I’m addicted to sugar. We’ll tackle that problem in a different blog post.
I grew impatient as a sat in line and told my grandson (who sensibly didn’t want anything to eat or drink) “I’m not waiting in this long line.” As I drove away from McDonald’s my four-year-old grandson shared some wisdom: “You should be patient. Sometimes you have to wait.” Don’t you hate it when a child throws life lessons in your face?
Of course, my grandson was right. Waiting is a part of life and we should learn to do so with patience and grace.
DEFINITION OF WAIT:
To stay in place while expecting something to happen, delay action.
SYNONYMS FOR WAIT:
Abide, Delay, Expect, Anticipate
Do you remember anticipating your next birthday during your childhood? Of course, that was when you were young enough to want to be a year older. Of course, time stood still until our summer vacation started. Oh, and the agony of waiting to get the coveted driver’s license. As a child or young person waiting was hard.
However, do we wait more patiently now? Let’s take a look at our “wait” behavior as mature adults. Have you ever run from one grocery line to the next to find the shortest one? The light turns green, and the person behind you honks immediately – or is that you beeping? This one is the best; we pay more for priority boarding on a plane.
Of course, this is understandable; after all, we arrive sooner than all the other passengers!
WAITING DURING DIFFICULT TIMES
Nonetheless, there are times when waiting is tough.
The wait for:
- Medical test results.
- A child’s fever to drop.
- Agonizing pain to subside.
- A check to buy food or pay the utility bill.
- Your prodigal to return or the bully to stop.
- The military deployment to end.
- A jury’s verdict.
Then there is the wait during Covid 19:
- Waiting for the drug that will restrain the virus
- Praying for a cure
- Hoping for a vaccine
- Keeping watch over our family for signs of the disease
- Awaiting that call to return to work
- Anticipating the check that will buy food or pay the rent
- Sitting tight praying that our church building will open so we may worship together
On the lighter side we wait to:
- Get our hair styled and/or colored!
- Go to a movie
- Attend a concert, sporting event, or birthday party
- Eat out with friends
Yes, waiting is frustrating, difficult, and sometimes even painful.
Tempting to place blame on our frustration to cell phones which allow 24/7 communication, the texts that come fast and furious, and instant mail through our email accounts. Overnight delivery, streaming music, and digital books develop an expectation of instant gratification. Waiting is obsolete and old fashioned.
Yet, even in biblical times when the world moved at a much slower pace, travel was laborious, and the only way to connect was face-to-face, the word wait was not a favorite then either.
Therefore, as we reflect on God’s Word, I want to examine two women who waited. One did so with grace and trust in God and the other not so much!
Surely this woman’s life didn’t meet expectations. She married young in a culture that valued women for the children they produced. Doubtlessly, every month she waited only to find out she was not to be a mother. Then the unthinkable happened – after seven years of marriage, her husband died, leaving her childless and without protection.
Did she shake her fist at God?
No, instead she lived at the Temple worshiping God through fasting and prayer. Her wait continued to see what God planned for her life.
Then it happened. Mary and Joseph brought Jesus to the Temple for the required purification offering. (Leviticus 12: 1-8) Eventually, God rewarded her wait with a magnificent honor. Mary and Joseph brought Jesus to the Temple for the required purification offering, (Leviticus 12: 1-8) and God blessed Anna with the insight to know she was a witness to the most significant event to occur on earth. You can read her story in Luke 2: 36-38.
Sarai is Abraham’s wife. When called to Canaan, God promised this land to Abraham’s descendants several times. See Genesis 12:7 and 15:4-5.
Nevertheless, God took to long and this couple decided to take action and help God keep His promise. Sarai gave Abram her maidservant, Hagar, hence Ishmael was born and considered Sarai’s child .(Genesis 16: 1-4, 15)
Despite their disobedient actions, God was still working out His plan. First He changed Sarai and Abram’s names to Sarah and Abraham, which meant mother of many nations and father of many. Despite the assurance, Sarah laughed when God told Abraham the promised child was coming in one year.
Most of us know the outcome; Sarah gave birth to Isaac, and the Israelites became a great nation. The Jewish people still play a pivotal role in the world today – and will for all future generations.
ARE YOU ANNA OR SARAH?
It’s easy to criticize Sarah; after all, when God speaks directly, the wait is easy – NOT! When the wait is long and God doesn’t act in our time frame, it is easy to convince ourselves that God wants us to intervene, which is what Sarah did.
Therefore, when tempted to act like Sarah realize her sin caused problems for generations to come – causing trouble even today. Even though Isaac and Ishmael came together to bury their father Abraham, the descendants of Isaac and Ishmael are still enemies today and the cause of much unrest in the world.
LEARN TO WAIT
Learning to wait is difficult, but a discipline we need to cultivate. We’ve learned this during the pandemic. Waiting for this plague to subside is not easy.
Of course, our most crucial wait is watching for our Lord and Savior to return. James 5: 7-8 reminds us that farmers wait patiently for the rains as they eagerly look for the harvest to ripen. We too must wait for the end result – eternity with God.
“But they who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength” (Isaiah 40:31a NKJV).
Isaiah is reminding us that waiting does not have to be a waste of time. Life is short, and there are benefits to waiting well. Click here for an article that explains what it means to wait on the Lord.
Take time to meditate on the
Psalm 33: 2-22 Psalm 130: 5-6 Isaiah 30:18
As always, comments are welcome. Share your waiting successes or disasters, or tell us how you are surviving this pandemic. We always benefit from others’ life stories.
Blessings until next time.