I’m holding out a treat out for our six-month old puppy who sits with great expectation. (Did you know there are “high stakes treats”? For Lena, it’s a morsel of smoked chicken.) But then comes the challenge. “STAAAAY!!” I back away and stare her down while counting slowly. Our goal is five. But Lena loses her patience at three and bounds in my direction, the smoked chicken a nibble too far.
Waiting is hard for us as well. In the Psalms, David counsels himself to wait on God – “For God alone, o my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from him.” Sometimes we pray for something, and there is an immediate response; more often it seems, we wait. Some requests are years if not decades in the praying.
But take heart. The Bible tells us that God not only hears us but treasures the prayers of the saints. They are as a pleasing aroma. (Revelation 5:8)
And the prophet Isaiah says that waiting brings blessing. Those who wait on the Lord will experience renewed strength. They will “mount up with wings of eagles.” (Isaiah 40:31)
What are you waiting for? And what can you focus on during the waiting?
For the reality is that life IS waiting. We wait for a relationship. A baby. A job. A diagnosis. A phone call. A loved one’s passing into the next life. We wait in traffic, in grocery store lines, and in doctor’s offices.
So let’s learn to wait well. We can use waiting as a time to memorize Scripture, pray for family and friends, praise the Lord, or give our souls a Ted Talk. We can think of five things to be grateful for. We can practice our breathing techniques. We can smile at a stranger who looks lonely or stressed and then ask God to bless that stranger. My favorite is – we can conjure up something that made us giggle and then relive it. And maybe laugh out loud as we unload our groceries.
Waiting well means that we acknowledge how little we control. The Lord holds that drone-like perspective while we are but ants. It is God who is in the business of working all things out for our good, should we choose to follow him – according to Romans 8:28.
Lena is still not a fan of waiting, but she is learning that in the waiting, there are smoked chicken treats to be had.