There are many types of ‘lockdown’ but in all of them there is no escaping the time of waiting. Even before you are born, your mum and other people were waiting for you! The young can’t wait to grow up and gain their independence. The old find they have to wait for everyone else to do things for them as they progressively lose their independence and sense of value. We usually wait for something that matters to us and in doing so give that ‘something’ meaning. It might be waiting for the bus, the answer to a proposal, the job offer, the operation ... or even the exam to start, to stop or to get the result! There’s lots of waiting in every part of life and we can do it with expectation or dread, with patience or impatience and with trust or in fear. How do you wait? What are you waiting for in this phase of your life? Some are waiting for rescue and others to die. We always seem to be waiting – even gardeners wait!
- ‘We must be willing to let go of the life we have planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us’ – E M Forster
- ‘The world is all gates, all opportunities, strings of tension waiting to be struck’ – Ralph Waldo Emerson
- ‘Waiting is a period of learning. The longer we wait, the more we hear about him for whom we are waiting’ – Henri Nouwen
- ‘If your spend the whole of your life waiting for the storm, you’ll never enjoy the sunshine’ – Morris West
- ‘You usually have to wait for that which is worth waiting for’ – Craig Bruce
Do you regard waiting times that you’ve had or are having in your life as positive or negative? It’s not just the glass half empty or half full concept, it’s more to do with what happens in the process within you.
- ‘God hasn't given up on you. He can still do great things for you, in you, and through you. God is ready and waiting and able’ – Peter Marshall
- ‘Each life is made up of mistakes and learning, waiting and growing, practicing patience and being persistent’ – Billy Graham
- ‘Patience is not simply the ability to wait - it's how we behave while we're waiting’ – Joyce Meyer
- ‘Waiting can be the most intense and poignant of all human experiences – the experience which, above all others, strips us of affectations and self-deception and reveals to us the reality of our needs, our values and ourselves’ – W H Vanstone
It seems that God takes his children through many waiting times and even desert places. When you think about it, Jesus stepped into humanity to journey with us in waiting – it is not an abstract concept to him. There was a long waiting time from the prophecies in Isaiah about his birth and redeeming role. Then 30 years had to pass followed by the intense 40 days waiting and testing in the wilderness before Jesus began his public ministry. The culmination of this in his death and resurrection took a further 3 years. Even now, there is the waiting period before the Lord comes for his Bride. Amazing as it may seem, God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit wait for us even as we wait for them.
As you reflect on Bible characters who went through times of waiting, who springs to mind? It’s pretty well all of them – Moses in the desert, Simeon and Anna waiting for the Messiah, Noah isolating with a zoo for 40 days, Job grappling with suffering for 42 epic chapters, two men in prison feeling abandoned (Joseph and Daniel), three women waiting to become pregnant (Hannah, Sarah and Elizabeth) and so on. None of these were in a safe warm waiting room with magazines to read – the waiting was all part of their preparation, their ministry and their life story which has been passed on to us.
- ‘Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord’ – Psalm 27:14
- ‘But he knows the way that I take; when he has tested me, I shall come forth as gold’ – Job 23:10
- ‘Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us’ – Romans 5:3-5
- ‘Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus’ – 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
- ‘The Spirit and the bride say, ‘Come!’ And let the one who hears say, ‘Come!’ Let the one who is thirsty come; and let the one who wishes take the free gift of the water of life’ – Revelation 22:17
- ‘But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: with the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance’ – 2 Peter 3: 8-9
- ‘He who testifies to these things says, “Yes, I am coming soon.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus. The grace of the Lord Jesus be with God’s people. Amen’ – Revelation 22:20-21
As you wait even now, ponder what God may be doing in you through the time of waiting! Consider too how people see you in the current time of waiting and what the life story that you will pass on to others will tell them about how you waited. The time will come when a gate opens, water comes in and your boat will float through for the waiting will be over and you can move on.
TAGS – patience, grace, forbearance, faith, rest, learning, growing, maturity