I don’t know about you, but I’m not a very good waiter. I’m not talking about a restaurant server. . . I’m talking about one who practices patience. Sure, my level of patience seems to be improving somewhat as I mature, but I seriously don’t enjoy waiting.
Our society seems to condition us to be impatient. With instant coffee, instant soup — even peanut butter and jelly already together in the same jar. And the grocery store is not the only place where our need for instant gratification shows up.
Think about it. As recently as five or six years ago, e-mail was the way to go. I remember being so excited to find out someone else in my family or circle of friends had an e-mail address because our frequency of communication would somehow increase dramatically. For some, that was true — for a while. However, now even the speed of e-mail is outdated, replaced by instant messaging, SMS voice-mail, and other means of communication.
In many ways, our society’s obsession with instant results has spoiled us beyond compare. I now get most of my news from online sources because I don’t want to take the time to watch a news program on television. I also sometimes feel frustrated if I have to actually wait in a “waiting room” at the doctor’s office — as if the location is somehow misnamed.
How is your patience — or lack thereof — influencing others? I got one answer to that question just the other night — from my two-year-old daughter. We went on an outing to get ice cream through the Braum’s drive-through. There were four cars ahead of us, and the line simply did not seem to be moving at all. After nearly ten minutes of sitting still (and with my own patience beginning to wear thin), my daughter exclaimed, “C’mon, cars, c’mon.” I couldn’t help but think that I bear some responsibility for teaching her impatience — not exactly the kind of influence I want to have on my children.
While that account may be a bit funny, for many people, waiting is a terribly exhausting and frustrating thing indeed. Consider these examples:
A young man waiting for a better job situation
A middle-aged woman waiting on her husband to stop beating her
A little girl waiting to see if her daddy really will show up for his scheduled visit
A little boy waiting to find out if his cancer is back
A woman waiting to find out if she is pregnant, after a third round of in vitro
A military mom waiting to hear if her son was among those killed in Iraq
An old man waiting on God to help his life make sense
Yes, there are some things that just do not lend themselves to our need for instant gratification. Most people do not find waiting fun. It is trying . . . unnerving . . . sometimes disturbing.
However, waiting can provide an opportunity to grow your faith. I’ve found that is often the case in my own life. It is a good thing to be still and know that He is God. As much as I think I’d like answers now, I realize that waiting is one way that God reminds me of my place in this world. His ways are not my ways.
One of my favorite Bible passages gives me encouragement and hope when I become weary in waiting. Isaiah 40:28-31 says this:
“Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” (NIV)
We’re all waiting for something. Whatever you’re waiting for, wait in Him. That one thing will make a world of difference.