The Waiting Place... …for people just waiting. Waiting for a train to go or a bus to come, or a plane to go or the mail to come, or the rain to go or the phone to ring, or the snow to snow or waiting around for a Yes or a No or waiting for their hair to grow. Everyone is just waiting. -Dr. Seuss
Haven’t we all been to the Waiting Place a few times? Recently, I’ve been spending some time there, waiting on something much more important than my hair to grow or the snow to snow (I live in the Midwest, so we never have to wait for that!). And you know what? I hate it. I hate waiting.
Saying that I lack patience would be an understatement. Waiting makes me fidgety, nervous, and grouchy. I get annoyed if my email takes more than 3 seconds to load, and I’m notorious for burning my tongue because I just can’t let my food cool. As a type-A person, I tend to live life in a hurry.
Becoming a mom has given me daily opportunities to practice patience. It takes twice as long to get ready to go somewhere (at least!). As my daughter is learning to perform small tasks around the house, I’m learning to practice stepping back and taking a deep breath to allow her to accomplish something on her own that I could do much faster myself.
I find that those little daily exercises in waiting are useful in bigger things, too. As Joni Eareckson Tada says, “The times we find ourselves having to wait on others may be the perfect opportunities to train ourselves to wait on the Lord.” Life always involves waiting. Maybe you’re waiting to hear about a job, waiting to find out if this is the month you’re finally pregnant, waiting for your husband to become a Christian, or waiting until the day your children can finally go an afternoon without fighting. Maybe you’re like me and a stoplight feels like hours to you, so weeks or months of waiting feel like eternity.
It is tempting to feel that waiting is an in-between season of life, a place to get through as quickly as possible. But let me encourage you not to waste your waiting. When we wait, the Lord often teaches us more than when we arrive at whatever it was we were waiting for. It is in the Waiting Place that God stretches our faith, refines our character, and often does His most sanctifying work. Waiting is not an in-between stage. It is a season all its own, and one that can be a blessing or a drudgery, depending on how we respond.
We can tap our feet and look at our watches and sigh, but we will miss out on what the Lord may have in store for us now. Or, we can live here, in this moment that God has given, with joy and thanksgiving.
God is a God of patience. He is patient with us, as Psalm 145:8 reminds us: “The Lord is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.”
He is also patient to accomplish His purposes: “The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9)
God is not in a hurry. Whatever your circumstances, whatever the reason for your waiting, remember that He is not panicked about them. He knows the outcome, and He can be trusted with it.