A love story popped up on the Internet recently about a couple of octogenarians who were sweethearts in college back in the ‘50s.
Life interrupted and they never married. Recently, through friends, they learned both of them were now widowed and they reconnected. This month—after 60 years apart– they finally married. Whoa, talk about patience…
I wonder if there’s a comparable award for Not Waiting Well. If so, I definitely win. I blame the Internet for my impatience. It puts the world and knowledge at our fingertips in seconds, so we expect everything else in life to happen fast. But, honestly, my speed gene was honed years earlier as a broadcast and print journalist working “on deadline,” then more years when I was a crisis management consultant, where gathering information, making decisions, and acting quickly were prerequisites. To be honest, I could probably qualify for a Lifetime Achievement Award in Not Waiting Well.
You’d think I’d have learned my lesson by now. But it’s still a big surprise to show up on God’s doorstep with my list of things “we” need to resolve, only to learn…again…that God is not “on deadline.” He’s not in a hurry and he feels no pressure to act because of my circumstances, however urgent they seem. In fact, waiting is one of the most effective ways he reminds me I’m not in charge.
Nearly four years ago we put our home on the market, in preparation for an eventual move south, for health and other reasons. It was priced right (below market value), it showed well, and it was in a great location. But it took three years, four realtors, and five failed signed contracts before it sold. Oh, the stories I could tell.
I kept thumping on God’s chest asking, “What’s the deal, here?” We had not undertaken the move lightly. We sought advice from trusted friends. Much thinking, planning, prayer, and preparation went into the decision. Why the interminable wait?
Last week I started a list of all the good things that have happened as a result of the forced wait. For example, our destination city changed, for reasons too complicated to explain here. Hindsight showed the latter choice was much better for us. Plummeting real estate prices over the past three years made it possible to purchase more house for less money, with a 1.7% lower mortgage rate than the prevailing rate at the time we originally put our old home on the market. The list goes on and on. Did that making the waiting easier? Hmmm. Short-term, no. Long-term, yes.
Here’s what I’ve learned so far:
– Waiting gets our undivided attention. It forces us to stand with empty hands until God decides to fill them. It gives God room to turn the spotlight from our circumstances to the state of our heart.
– What happens in us while we wait is often more important than what we’re waiting for. It’s definitely not downtime. I’m learning to be more flexible, to trust God more and to live in the present moment, which is where life is the richest.
– We may not yet be where we want to be, but we’re also not where we used to be. It helps to see how far you’ve come and what you’ve learned so far, not just how far you have to go.
We all wait. Waiting is part of life—whether it’s simply a wait at an interminable red light or a wait for biopsy results that could change everything.
But humans are also choice makers. We choose how we are going to respond to our circumstances. What are you waiting for at the moment? Choose to wait with humility and patience. God knows what he’s doing and your life is safer in his hands than any of the alternatives.