Many of us know what it is like to be on pause. Your foot is on the brake paddle and you have received no directions for moving forward. There are signs that something is happening behind the curtain, you can see a flicker of light every now and then, but it seems like it is taking forever. Despite the discomfort, you know deep within you that your God can be trusted. He has proven it before, not once, not twice, but many times. But no matter your history, it is still difficult to wait.
The good news is there are strategies we can learn that would help us to exercise patience in waiting through-out our lives. If you are able to wait and be joyful and content while doing so, you have accomplished something significant.
Look at your rear view mirror at a time when you planned a date with your girlfriend or a family member. You both agreed to meet at the coffee shop for 8:00 a.m. You arrived 8:55 a.m., it is now 9:20 a.m. and you are still waiting. You are waiting outside of the coffee shop which faces the east, so about that time the sun is hitting you head-on and it is blazing hot. You considered entering the small coffee shop, but it is crowded. On your shoulder is a bag which contains a number of books you are returning to your friend; the bag is quite heavy. In your left hand is your phone and in your right a cold bottle of water. Your hands are getting numb so you are switching both items between your left and right hand. In addition to that, the slippers you are wearing are uncomfortably tight.
You decide to call your friend or family to find out how much longer your wait may be. Your friend/family says to you “I will be there in five minutes”. You waited for an additional twenty minutes before they arrived. The most important aspect of this scenario is that you did not prepare to wait and this made it more difficult for you.
This scenaro allows us to reflect a bit on our behaviour while waiting on God to answer our prayers or to show us what’s next in our lives. We need to be more prepared to wait and we need to utilise our time well, while waiting and while making every effort not to complain or become grumpy. As we experience the waiting periods, we can choose to worship, to reach out to others, to build relationships, read a good book, get involved in “do it yourself projects”, get therapy, work on a healthier you and more, but we must never just sit and wait. It is in the joyful waiting that we grow, learn and are able to influence others positively when we least expect it. Joyful living even through difficult times helps us to cope during the times when we do not have answers or directions.
Let’s make that effort to wait joyfully and never let go of the promise that He (God) will never leave us.
(In part two we would talk more about practical ways to wait joyfully – Please feel free to share tips we can all practice while waiting).