How Do You Approach Waiting?
Have you ever drawn the proverbial line in the sand and said,
“I’m done waiting. No more!”
We wait in lines at the grocery store. We wait on hold for customer service reps to take our call. And we wait for trains and buses to take us to our destinations. Then there’s the cumulative total of thousands of hours in a lifetime waiting at traffic lights!
Depending on the source of various studies, it’s estimated that people spend anywhere from six months to ten years of their life just waiting.
And our willingness to wait is directly linked to the perceived reward. Retailers know customers who have to wait in line more than ten minutes have a greater probability of leaving the store without completing their purchase. On the other hand, iPhone users have willingly waited in line a day or more to be the first to purchase the newest upgrade.
Disney has become an expert at managing wait times, or as they call it, queueing. Interactive diversions combined with the promise of excellent entertainment motivate theme park guests to be patient in their waiting.
When waiting gets personal
A recent study of the book of Genesis has forced me to confront my perceptions of waiting. For example:
- Abraham waited twenty-five years for the son God promised him.
- Jacob waited—and worked—seven years to marry the woman he loved.
- Joseph spent thirteen years as a slave and a prisoner before God fulfilled his prophetic dreams.
What about you and me? Do we place time limits on God? How long is long enough when you’re waiting for a promise to be fulfilled? Or how long is too long when you’re waiting for suffering to end?
We say God is sovereign—in control—yet we grow impatient when His timetable doesn’t match ours. We call Him Lord, then push ahead of Him when waiting postpones or denies our desires. And we question God’s goodness during times of extended suffering or inconvenience.
Waiting is active, not passive
Are you waiting for God to fulfill His promises in your life and in the life of your family? What suffering or difficulty are you pleading with God to remove? And what are you doing in the wait?
All too often, we associate waiting with being relegated to the sidelines, twiddling our thumbs until God decides to act. But biblical waiting is active, not passive. While we wait, we:
- Cry out to Him:
“I waited patiently for the Lord; he inclined to me and heard my cry” (Psalm 40:1 ESV).
- Learn and study His Word to know His promises:
“I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his word I hope” (Psalm 130:5 ESV).
- Draw strength from Him:
“But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint” (Isaiah 40:31 ESV).
- Rest in the knowledge that He hears us:
“But as for me, I will look to the Lord; I will wait for the God of my salvation; my God will hear me” (Micah 7:7 ESV).
- Pursue character development:
“More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope” (Romans 5:3-4 ESV).
- Cultivate patience:
“But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience” (Romans 8:25 ESV).
- Cultivate perseverance:
“And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up” (Galatians 6:9 ESV).
How are you approaching your own time of waiting?