No one likes to wait. Some researches have said that on average, Americans wait 32 minutes at the doctor’s office, 28 minutes to get through TSA at the airport, and 21 minutes for their husband/wife to get ready to go out. On average we spend 13 hours every year on hold with (or waiting in line for) customer service, and 38 hours every year sitting in traffic. Since waiting is such an integral part of the 21st Century American experience, you’d think we’d be getting better at it. But you know as well as I do that we just don’t wait well.
Even Christians. We don’t wait well, especially when it means waiting on God. In our suffering, in our pain, in our monotony, we are desperately anxious to leave behind whatever it is on this side of our prayers and dive into what we hope is on the other side of our prayers. The waiting is just a necessary evil. The real prize is the relief of fulfillment when we reach on the other side. Right? Wrong.
What if waiting on God produces something within you that quick relief could never produce? What if the purpose of the pain is not in the deliverance, but in the waiting itself? What if the greatest promises of God are not to be experienced on the other side of the mountain, but in the thick of the valley on your way there?
“Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.”
Isaiah 40:30-31 (ESV)
The power of God’s promise in this passage of Scripture is not that strength will be given to us on the other side of a particularly difficult season of life. Rather, the strength – the soaring – the running – the endurance – is given not as a result of deliverance, but in the waiting. The temptation is to rush to deliverance. To rush to a solution. To rush to an answer. But that’s not where the strength of the Lord is given. It’s in the waiting.
I don’t know what particular difficulties you face in this season of life, but whatever comfort it is you’re longing for, don’t look so far into the resolution that you miss what God has for you in the waiting. In the waiting is where the faithful will find strength, power, and endurance. In the waiting is where you’ll lay hold of the promises of God. Don’t miss it. Don’t despise it. Don’t rush the waiting.
Grace and Peace,