But really, I want to talk more about simply waiting—in general.
I don’t wait well. I am a necessarily busy person, can’t sit still, driven to be my kind of “productive.” Sitting still is a chore. I am not the world’s greatest intercessor. Or listener, at times. I get grumpy when nothing happens for too long.
I might have failed a scientific test where children were left alone in a room with marshmallows and told to wait until the adult’s return to enjoy them. Some could, some couldn’t. (And by the way, the children who grew up being able to resist instant gratification did better in a variety of areas in life.)
But when my mother became debilitated with cancer, I was forced into a painfully personal situation where I could do nothing but wait and be still. As my mother melted away, I felt the agony of waiting in my whole body.
Waiting, we assume, will develop our patience and make us into better people, even though we take it like cod liver oil. But learning to wait is about the greatest priority of our lives, and can even be joyful. Yes, you heard me right.
When we wait begrudgingly, we miss the opportunity to reflect that learning active and joyful waiting prepares for a much bigger event--the return of our Bridegroom. The waiting is for His benefit.
When we focus on waiting as a necessary practice towards Jesus’ return, our minds return to the priority of our lives—Jesus. We line up with Him, spend time with Him, read His letters to us, let Him love us, as preparation for His coming. Learning to wait isn’t for us, it’s for Him.
Waiting can become a suspenseful building up towards an extraordinary event. We can sense that God is waiting for us, too. We can actually trust His timing instead of treating Him like Santa and being disgruntled because he isn’t acting on our personal schedule.
There will always be good reason to wait for a worthy spouse or other right timing. But learning to wait, in and of itself, prepares us to be “psyched up” for Someone so much more exciting than a husband or wife, and for a marriage event that will make every other human ceremony pale. As we wait for each personal prayer to be answered, or in a line at the store, or for a friend to tell their story, we remember that it’s just a small chance to draw us closer to what we truly await--something amazing.
We need to learn to wait well. Not just to eradicate our own selfishness, but to grasp the most important relationship in our lives. Our developing relationship with Jesus will increase our longing as we wait for true satisfaction. Our time devoted especially to Him will reflect the day that we’ll finally be together, face to face, not for a few years, but forever. At that time, waiting will be a thing of the past as we gasp, “Now THAT’S what we were waiting for!”