“But for you, O LORD, do I wait;
it is you, O Lord my God, who will answer.”
Isn’t waiting the worst? Whether the issue is something big, like marriage, or something small, like getting through a line to reach the checkout, the experience of a desire delayed certainly tests one’s character. On several occasions of late, the Lord has employed slow-moving traffic to reveal that my heart and holiness are not quite such close companions as I might prefer to believe. Trapped behind drivers apparently free of both deadlines and desirable destinations recently, I began fantasizing about having a huge ramp on the road ahead, which when crossed at high speed would send me skyrocketing through the air over the motorized obstacles blocking my pathway. It was then I detected a bit of sin that needed to be addressed.
Perhaps you don’t struggle with my inclination for road rage, but you probably do know what it’s like to dream of a ramp that could launch you right past the unpleasantries of waiting and into the life for which you’ve been longing. In her book, Keep a Quiet Heart, Elisabeth Elliot addresses the universal temptation to spiral downward into impatience, bitterness, or despair when an object of desire remains out of reach. She describes two letters she received–one from a single woman desperate for marriage and one from a couple longing for a child. Mrs. Elliot says:
Will the young woman find a mate? Will the couple have a child? Maybe this year will be the year of desire fulfilled. Perhaps, on the other hand, it will be the year of desire radically transformed, the year of finding, as we have perhaps not yet truly found, Christ to be the All-Sufficient One, Christ the “deep, sweet well of Love.”
“Why won’t God let someone into my life? I feel left out, abandoned. When will it be my turn?” The petulant letter [from the single woman] goes on. “I feel deprived! Will He deny me the one small desire of my heart? Is it too big a treasure to ask? I sit in torture and dismay.”
Life is likely to continue to hold many forms of torture and dismay for that unhappy person and for all who refuse to receive with thanksgiving instead of complaint the place in life God has chosen for them. The torture is self-inflicted, for God has not rejected their prayers. He knows better than any of us do what furthers our salvation. Our true happiness is to be realized precisely through his refusals, which are always mercies. His choice is flawlessly contrived to give the deepest kind of joy as soon as it is embraced…
Here is the opportunity offered. Be patient. Wait on the lord for whatever He appoints, wait quietly, wait trustingly. He holds every minute of every hour of every day of every week of every month of every year in His hands. Thank Him in advance for what the future holds, for He is already there.
Although our waiting is never easy, it is a comfort to know that with God it will always be worthwhile.