As we head home and anticipate surgery this coming Friday, the other concern I’ve been grappling with is the issue of waiting. With the news of required surgery, we once again enter into a time of waiting. We wait for the surgery, for the prognosis, for healing, for the future. And we've already been in this thing for 18 months.
But again, God has been with me and He is teaching me how to wait with patience and grace. Waiting is something I’m not too good at, and it’s something our fast-paced culture doesn’t encourage. We want immediate gratification in everything. But waiting is a part of life, and I was reminded of this while reading Dr. Seuss once again:
You can get so confused
that you’ll start in to race
down long wiggled roads at a break-necking pace
and grind on for miles across weirdish wild space,
headed, I fear, toward a most useless place.
The Waiting Place…
For people just waiting.
Waiting for a train to go
or a bus to come, or a place to go
or the mail to come, or the rain to go
or the phone to ring, or the snow to snow
or waiting around for a Yes or No
or waiting for their hair to grow.
Everyone is just waiting.
Waiting for the fish to bite
or waiting for wind to fly a kite
or waiting around for Friday night
or waiting, perhaps, for their Uncle Jake
or a pot to boil, or a Better Break
or a string of pearls, or a pair of pants
or a wig with curls, or Another Chance.
Everyone is just waiting.
I could just cry reading this words because they are so…. True. I mean, aren’t we all waiting for something? Longing for something? And yes, it can be “useless” if we’re focused on the wrong thing. If we get so focused on the future, with our “as-soon-as-I-have _________, I'll-be-happy" attitude, waiting is completely useless. It robs us of living in the moment and rejoicing in the present. But if we wait on the Lord, waiting is a completely useful, refining process.
I was recently encouraged on this point precisely – waiting on the Lord – through a Beth Moore Bible study that I’m doing on the book of Esther. As Beth explains, waiting can be the most exhausting, frustrating, life-draining experience when you’re completely focused on the thing or event you’re waiting for. But when you are waiting on the Lord instead – your eyes and heart are upon Him – then waiting is totally different. It’s not that we shouldn’t desire those ‘things’ or ‘events’, but it’s just where you have your hope. She brought up this verse:
“But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” Isaiah 40:31 (KJV) or in the NIV, “but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength.”
I mean, really? I will run and not be weary? And walk and not be faint? With God, I can claim this promise. That is a hope worth living for. And one you won’t find anywhere else.
Even if life works out differently than I wanted, planned, expected - the fact that I can Hope in the Lord and know that the God of the Universe is with me – that is quite profound.