When I was a child, waiting had many shades of meaning. When I was four years old, my mother wanted to discipline me…I ran away and would not submit. She gave me the dire warning that children have heard through the ages, “Then I will let your Dad give you the spanking…” I spent the rest of the day waiting in dread and fear. Even then I knew Dad’s punishment would involve more pain than Mother would be able to administer. I retired to the bathroom and took my Dad’s Razor Strap and began spanking myself, and begging Mother to reconsider….to no avail. I don’t recall the extent of Dad’s punishment now, but the waiting had extracted dread and penitence.
Waiting with dread replicates itself over and over through life — the dire diagnosis from the doctor, an impending separation in the family through death, divorce or distance.
Then there is the waiting that is accompanied by butterfly flutters in the pit of the stomach and tingles up and down one’s spine. Those times are exciting for there is the anticipation of “Something Good is About to Happen“.
Every day we wait — and waiting seems the cessation of productivity and we become impatient. We wait for the traffic light, in the checkout lane, we stand in line at the ticket office or in a long line at school. (I remember having to line up 11 year old children to walk quietly down the hall – an almost impossible task – was this training for life?) This waiting can be productive – Be still and know that I am God….(Psalm 46:10) The Message puts a different layer of thought – Take a long, loving look at me, your High God, above politics, above everything.”
Time spent in waiting can seem ‘forever’. The clock stands still and doesn’t move. With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.…II Peter 3:8. Recently I read that God is not locked into our time – our life’s compartments – and He is always ‘on time’ for each of us!
Recently a friend gave me a birthday present. It represented creation, waiting, and the awesome Hand of God. One part of the gift is simply the ‘skin’, the covering of a rock, the kind we would kick out of the way. When the rock is broken, it reveals a glorious, splenderific array of crystals and lilac light reflections that can only be expressed with an ‘ohhhhh’. Upon searching, I learned that Amethyst is mined using underground mining. It is not found in veins, but in chunks attached to granite. It is found with igneous, metamorphic and sedimentary rocks.
Are we like this rock, so nondescript on the outside, hiding the treasures of God our earthly eyes cannot see? How long did the rock wait before being discovered? It was formed in the center of the earth under a great deal of pressure and heat…and waiting. God amazes me continually with his facets of ability to create beauty. When I wait, feeling the heat of the moment or the pressures of every day life, I am reminded of this amethyst and thank my friend for the reminder of God’s greatness.
One more example of waiting as I read Carolyn Zeisset’s A Mennonite heritage – A Genealogy of the Suderman and Wien Families – 1800 – 1975. Farmers all, I picture them watching the weather, waiting for crops to come into existence to feed their families while living in Russia. And then between the lines, I see waiting – always with hope.
- 1918, February, John Suderman and his wife were driven from the land. John A. Suderman, son of Abram writes, “The Bolsheviks had taken over completely and we were beginning to feel the storng influence of communism. The The curriculum in scool changed drastically. No religion was allowed to be taught. Men began to disappear overnight – as they had owned their own farms. To add to the chaos that the war had brought….
- 1920-21 – A great famine set in. There was no crop worth mentining. Yet the government kept on demanding new quotas for grain delivery…..Robing bands of soldiers and other Russian people continuously raid our houses, barns granaries and take along anything they could find. If they found nothing, they still demanded food at gun-point. I still recall eating crows and bread made out of buckwheat – bitter as gall.
- 1924, John Suderman was imprisoned for three months for not teaching communism in school. Upon his return, I recall him telling my mother that now it was high time to get out of this country.
These ancestors moved to this country — waiting expectantly for deliverance from hunger – physical and spiritual. Just in those three comments, we see so much waiting and patience.
We wait expectantly. God is busy bringing about his full plan for the world and for us. In his perfect timing he will birth that plan that He has for our lives. Jeremiah 29:11 – I’ll show up and take care of you as I promised and bring you back home. I know what I’m doing. I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for.
Ultimately patience is waiting, not passively waiting. But to keep going when the going is hard and slow and we see no way out of our current dilemma. Patience is one of the fruit of the Spirit, a characteristics that enables us to see as God sees, with hope and joy amidst temporary setbacks and concerns.
In Charles Swindoll’s Esther, we read about the work of waiting. What happens between the 4th and 5th chapters of the Book of Esther? The white space of waiting. Not the absence of activity, but a time of fasting and prayer, as God is at work. He is giving added strength, get a better perspective, store up extra energy and determine our determination to persevere. At this point the author quotes isaiah 40:31, the beautiful scripture: But those who wait upon God get fresh strength. They spread their wings and soar like eagles, They run and don’t get tired, they walk and don’t lag behind.
I waited and waited and waited for God. At last he looked; finally he listened. He lifted me out of the ditch, pulled me from deep mud. He stood me up on a solid rock to make sure I wouldn’t slip. He taught me how to sing the latest God-song, a praise-song to our God. More and more people are seeing this: they enter the mystery, abandoning themselves to God. Psalm 40:1-3
God, the one and only— I’ll wait as long as he says. Everything I hope for comes from him, so why not? He’s solid rock under my feet, breathing room for my soul, An impregnable castle: I’m set for life. Psalm 62:5
No ear heard, no eye seen, a God like you who works for those who wait for him. You meet those who happily do what is right, who keep a good memory of the way you work. Isaiah 64:2
Wait, Israel, for God. Wait with hope. Hope now; hope always! Psalm 131:3
Anna Daisy Siemens wrote about Waiting……
Waiting? Redeem the time by weeding, watering; turn mundane work to proactive Patience