Waiting. Not fun for anyone. Whether it is waiting for something great, or something less than ideal, or something that you have no idea on which side of the line it will fall…waiting is hard.
My most recent waiting game was at a football game. With 32 seconds left in the second quarter, just before the half, a lightening delay was implemented. All 75,000 of us were told to leave the seating area and take cover for at least 30 minutes, but we were instructed to stay tuned. We ended up waiting almost two hours to come back into the stadium to watch the rest of the game. During that time, we waited. We did get periodic updates about the extension of the delay, and how they would handle half-time. (They melded the 32 seconds into the 3rd quarter.) An already long day extended into 12 hours where we had fun, friends, heat, humidity, rain, anxiety (score was CLOSE), laughter and now we have something to talk about! But while we were waiting, we had no idea what to expect. Isn’t that they way it often is with our prayers?
We pray for things, then we must wait for the answers. I am always reminded that when my prayers are praise, or thanks to the Lord, there is no waiting! Those are my immediate reminders that I serve a Sovereign God who is Able to do anything and everything. But the requests….. Those require PATIENCE.
A friend, in a genius moment, told her son who asked her what patience was that it was “happy waiting.” People joke about not praying for patience because God sends us things to help us exercise that muscle so that it builds up and becomes stronger. Truthfully, however, we all wait for many things each day. We wait for our morning coffee to brew, we wait to hear from loved ones, or colleagues, or clients. We wait for test scores, or test results. We wait for red lights to turn green or for someone in front of us to move so that we can proceed. Sometimes the things we wait for are much larger. We wait for an addicted loved one to find sobriety; we wait for a proposal; we wait for a bride to come down the aisle; we wait to hear if a loved one survived something terrible. We wait to hear if we got the job, or if we have lost a job. We wait on a house or a car. We wait to see if the treatment worked. And so on.
Waiting at a football game is nothing compared to some of life’s waits, but it is part of the sum. In all of the waits, God is sovereign. He knows the outcomes. He wastes nothing. The waiting makes us stronger, in our relationship with, and in our reliance on, Him.
But those who wait on 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
As Christians, our ultimate “wait” is for Jesus to return to gather His followers and to take us to be with Him. It could come at any day and at any time. Because of the length of time it has been since Jesus walked the earth, it is easy to get lax about anticipating Him. Much like our leaning into the things we wait for each day, we should eagerly look for the 2nd coming of our King!
For the Lord himself will come down from heaven with a commanding shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet call of God. First, the believers who have died will rise from their graves. Then, together with them, we who are still alive and remain on the earth will be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. Then we will be with the Lord forever.
So encourage each other with these words. I Thessalonians 4:16-18
The wait will be worth it! And all the other waits will lose their hold on us.