Wednesdays with Jillene: wait

Eating “family style” at camp during the summer provides many opportunities for waiting. Some meals it doesn’t matter too much as the food is passed around quickly or when the meals have finger foods you could start eating a few things while waiting on the rest. Taco day is a different story. Especially if you are 2.

It is really hard to wait you know. Why does it take soooooooooo long for all the ingredients to make it around to my spot? I’m hungry now!

Poor Iris, learning to wait is tough.

Watching her that day tugged at my heart, maybe not for the reasons you’d expect. I knew patience and waiting was a lesson she needed to learn. But as I watched her try to eat the empty taco shell… then again when shredded cheese was added and she grabbed for it right quick… when she started getting demanding… finally as the completed taco was rolled up and she took a glorious bite of her long-awaited dinner… well it hit me:

That’s my life.

I mean, that is my life in many more areas than just tacos.

Life is filled with waiting. Think about it for a minute. How many instances of waiting have you had already today. Or, perhaps, how many instances of impatience and frustration have you experienced today as you pushed for things to go faster than their current pace. Whether it be waiting in line, driving cars, getting important news, losing weight, learning a new skill, receiving a package, making new friends, home improvements…

Or, maybe I should think of it as: God gives us the opportunity to wait.

I wanted to say, “God makes us wait.” But there is something wrong with that phrase, in that it is limiting and seems of a negative connotation. To say it that way believe that about God often signifies we see God as a mean authority figure who unnecessarily withholds something good from us, who denies us of our deepest desires.

But Josh made Iris wait. He wasn’t mean; in fact, he was quite patient. Watch the video again and you’ll see that his asking her to wait, his encouraging her to wait, his stopping her from eating before the taco was done prevented her from eating bits and pieces while allowing her to wait for the full taco to be assembled. In asking Iris to wait, Josh gave her the better taco.

Though, I’m not sure she could understand that.

Too often we fail to see that of God as well.

In our impatience, we fail to see that God asking us to wait can keep us from danger. In our short-sightedness, we lack the perspective to comprehend why denying ourselves the current “pleasure” could be worth waiting for something better. In our limited wisdom ,we are unable to accept current suffering/dissatisfaction/unfulfillment/discomfort/longing as necessary waiting for God’s perfect plan… especially when that plan is bigger than just our current desires and greater than just for us alone.

1 Peter 3:9 reminds us, “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.” When we remember that God’s promises are perfect, unfailing, more wonderful than we can comprehend AND they are also for more than just us alone… we can hit a challenging reality: there are times God gives us the opportunity to wait, not just for our good, but for His perfect plan for others as well.

And, in all honesty, most times I don’t get it. Here’s the thing, I don’t have to get every bit of it to choose to trust God in the waiting. I probably don’t have to like it to obey God in the waiting. I don’t need to know how it is all going to work out for me to embrace the work of God in the waiting.

Psalm 27 beckons me to dig deep, show character and be brave and courageous in times of patiently waiting for the Lord. Can we cling to the promise that we do not wait in vain? Can you believe Romans 5, “And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. 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.”?

Can we follow the example found in Hebrews 11 of Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham and Sarah of whom it says, “13 All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance, admitting that they were foreigners and strangers on earth.”?

Can we live as it says in Isaiah 40 in the face of that which we cannot understand and cannot begin to control, “31 but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.”?

Will you wait?


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