The Waiting

I’m sitting in a Waiting Room.

I’d rather be in a boot camp.  Or a dentist’s chair.  Or at my accountant’s having a tax meeting.  Or cleaning a toilet somewhere.  With a toothbrush.

Or just about anywhere else.  At least I’d feel like something was being accomplished.

Waiting is smug and satisfied.  Amorphous and untouchable.  It’s a tease.  It’s a judge imposing a sentence of time with your fate at it’s whim.  It’s a staircase you can’t see the top of.  It’s wasted space you can’t fit anything in.  It’s an itch you can’t scratch.  It’s a pebble in your shoe while your arms are full.  It’s a broken water fountain when you’re really thirsty.

Problem is, God likes it.

Loves it, in fact, if the Bible is any indication.

God promised Abraham a miraculous heir.  He only had to wait 25 years for the promise to be fulfilled.  

And he was lucky.

Jesus had to wait 30 years before he could even start to fulfill His purpose here.  And he’s God.  How bored do you think He was during that time?

Moses had to wait 40 years in Midian before he could get back to Egypt to deliver Israel.  Then he wandered around in the desert with the Israelites he liberated for another 40 eating nothing but Manna Frosted Flakes and drinking dew.  

To be fair, they were being punished by that last 40.

Still, God’s weird.

But since He’s God and I’m not, maybe there’s something I’m missing.

Maybe the process of creation and evolution in a universe of time and space requires…well, time and space.

Maybe a situation in which I moved seamlessly from one action to another would leave no room for God.  Maybe I’d be too busy to notice Him.  Maybe I’d be so caught up in what I was doing I’d forget to reflect on what He wanted to do.  Maybe if I fooled myself into thinking that I was accomplishing something on my own I would begin to idolize my own capabilities.  Maybe I’d turn to myself for answers and vision.

Maybe the helplessness inherent in waiting is exactly the sort of ingredient that turns our eyes toward the One who is really in control.

Because that dovetails pretty nicely with another of God’s dominant patterns—that of revealing His strength through our weakness.

Maybe God knows exactly what He’s doing.

Maybe waiting isn’t a passive and irritating interruption of the great stuff we want to be doing.  

Maybe it’s an active abiding in God in order to receive the Real Plan.

Maybe it is the Great Stuff.

Maybe we as a gathering are a little like Israel.  Maybe we’ve been missing the point and wandering instead of abiding.  That’s why I was so happy to see us engage in the recent prayer exercise.  

‘Cause that’s abiding.

Maybe God has a plan for us that’s bigger than our desires.  I kind of have a hunch that He does.  Maybe to the degree that we’re still invested in those desires, we’re limiting what He can do with us.  Maybe, like the Israelites, we’re prolonging our own wandering in the wilderness.

Or maybe not.  Maybe it’s just not time yet.

But while I’m in this waiting room today, maybe I’ll pray.  Maybe I’ll look around and see if there’s a stranger I can comfort in some small way.  Maybe I’ll put on headphones and listen to some art that glorifies God and marinate in that for a little bit.

And I’ll bet that time will fly right on by…