“I said to myself, ‘The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for Him.” — Lamentations 3:24
Whether it be sitting in traffic, standing in line at the DMV, or thumbing through magazines in the “waiting room” of a doctor’s office, waiting is not one of our favorite activities. Perhaps the testing of your patience is more long-term, as you wait for a job, an answer, or God’s provision for your family. In our microwaveable world, no one likes to wait for anything.
Why is it that we find waiting so very hard? Why is it that we get so frustrated when things don’t go our way, on our schedule? Why is it that though we know from experience that waiting is such a normal part of our lives, we still think that somehow we should be immune to it?
The reasons are obvious. We live in a highly stressed, fast-paced society that simply does not have time to wait. There is little time for reflection, few moments of silence and solitude, and very little encouragement to “stop and smell the coffee.” Waiting, we’re told, wastes our most valuable resource, our time.
And then there’s people. They frustrate us, they let us down, they make us wait. Someone has said that life wouldn’t be so bad if it wasn’t for people. But then again, without people we would miss out on many wonderful opportunities to grow our character.
I heard once, and have repeated many times, that sometimes God uses people as “heavenly sandpaper” to help rub off our rough edges and cultivate into our lives the Christ-like spiritual fruit of patience. But that doesn’t mean it’s easy. That’s why I like the King James translation “long-suffering” of the more contemporary term “patience” in the New Testament, because it best describes what it is often like when I have to wait.
Richard Hendrix said it this way: “Second only to suffering, waiting may be the greatest teacher and trainer in godliness, maturity and genuine spirituality most of us ever encounter.” I might also add that I think that ultimately, waiting is the primary means by which God teaches us how to practice genuine faith.
Which means that from the experiences of waiting many of us are facing these days, God must really be at work growing our faith in Him! My prayer is that the Holy Spirit will continue to produce the spiritual “produce” of patience in each of us this week as we walk with Him.
I am praying for you, and I look forward to seeing you Sunday.