I stood in lines this past summer. Lines to get into venues. Lines to try to leave the same locations. Lines queued up to visit the loo. Queues of people waiting to have their bags checked. Hordes of tourists hoping to see the sights. A hastily snapped, crowd-filled picture providing a moment frozen in time.
Each line was similar. It moved slowly, really slowly. Forward progress was claimed an inch at a time. It didn’t always feel like progress. Queues were barged into by others hoping to get ahead. But with all the people ahead, and the masses streaming in behind, there was no getting ahead. It was a matter of wait, bide your time, and hold on. There was no point in being in a rush.
Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord. Psalm 27:14 (NIV)
Stay with God! Take heart. Don’t quit. I’ll say it again: Stay with God. Psalm 27:14 (MSG)
To be honest, I don’t wait well. I’m an anxious waiter. Did I make it in time? Am I late? Surely this is the location where we said we’d meet? What did I miss? I check and double check. It isn’t so much a fear of missing out as it is a desire to be early so that I haven’t left something to chance.
But I am asked to wait!
Waiting can’t be hurried along. Trust me, I’ve tried. Foot tapping, finger thumping, cell phone checking – none of those things make the waiting period hurry up and get finished. Waiting is something to be endured. Something to be sat through. The end of it will come when it is good and ready and not a moment before that.
Biblical waiting takes strength and heart.
When I am in the midst of a wait, I want it to be over. I want to head to the next destination. I want to arrive. However, in the arriving, I will have most likely rushed past the very lesson I was meant to learn. There are lessons of life and heart that can only be learned in the places of uncertainty. Those moments cause me to wonder and question. I look for answers in many places. But my faithful Saviour is always looking for me to point my gaze to Him. He wants me to fix my eyes on Him because that is the only place where true certainty can be found. He wants me to fix my eyes on Him because He is the author and perfecter of my faith. He calls me to a life of perseverance. (Hebrews 12:1, 2)
A life of perseverance is one where there are bumps, hiccups, and even detours in the road. Some of them come with a little bit of advance warning. Others blindside me as they come into view. But as I make my way through each of them, the Lord works with compassion and graciousness on my heart. He builds my character in these periods of waiting in ways that I could not grow if everything moved along easily. He forms me with His strength and endurance in the midst of those experiences. His shaping sometimes hurts. Corners are lopped off. The precious things I have held onto are stripped away. I often question what He is up to. But He has never asked me for my approval. He really isn’t interested in my opinion about his “develop strength and take heart” mission. My God is the One who walks with me on these journeys and asks me to hold onto His hand and keep my eyes on Him.
And wait for the Lord.
I’m not surprised that there is the use of repetition here. If waiting was easy, waiting rooms would have a different air to them. If waiting was easy, there would be no stomach churning fluttering of butterflies. If waiting was easy, there would be no sweaty palms and nervous laughs. But all of the waiting comes back to God. He may not answer in the way that I want Him too but that does not change His goodness. He may not speak as quickly as I would like but that does not change His faithfulness. He may not give me the results I have been pining for but that does not change His sovereignty. My Father’s character is never in doubt. I am meant to wait for Him and stay with Him and continue on the path where He is leading me.