Tuesday, August 25, 2009

waiting


raise your hand if you love waiting.
*scanning the room*
anyone?
that's what i thought.
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let's be honest, no one really enjoys waiting. but as i've been researching my sermon for this coming sunday about living in expectation, i keep coming back to david who wrote over and over again in the psalms that he waited on God. "i wait for the Lord. my soul waits" (psalm 130:5). of course isaiah wrote poetically about the value of waiting on God, too. He wrote, "those who wait on the Lord will rise up like eagles." and so this begs the question: what is so good about waiting on the Lord? i'm curious about your thoughts here.
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i hate waiting. i'm really bad at it, actually. if i feel i am going to have to sit and wait for longer than 20 seconds, i will get out my crackberry and start surfing the internets. so what does it mean to wait on God? any ideas? any experiences? what do you hate waiting for? here are some of mine:
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i hate waiting for people to write out a check at the grocery store. seriously, people? checks?!? i didn't even realize that people still wrote checks at all, let alone when they are standing in a grocery store with 14 people behind them in line. and the other thing is, if you are a grocery-store-check-writer, i'm assuming you've been doing this for a number of years. haven't you perfected the art yet? why does it seemingly take you the better part of an hour to write out in your slow cursive, "eleven dollars and forty-three cents?"
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i hate waiting for red lights that serve no purpose. i mean, when there is traffic going both ways and all, i get it. i understand the useful function of traffic lights. but when i have to wait for 6 and a half minutes at an intersection while one chevy astro makes the trek across my windshield, right to left, headed for the promised land, i get very impatient. i've been known to take matters into my own hands from time to time.
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i hate waiting for websites to load. now, this one is particularly ridiculous because, seriously, my internet is plenty fast. i mean i'm only talking about a matter of mere seconds here, but even so, it bugs me. i have clearly become a person who wants things instantly. when i click on a website, i don't want it to load for 15 seconds. i want it to immediately show up.
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i hate waiting for doctors. and mechanics. i am pretty convinced that receptionists at places with waiting rooms take secret devilish delight in randomizing the waiting process just to infuriate those who are waiting. often when i am waiting for the mechanic to finish my oil change, the guy who came in after me who was getting his timing belt replaced, his brakes redone and his tires rotated, gets finished before me. what?!? thank goodness the waiting room has wireless access so i can spend my time waiting for websites to load.
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i could write a bunch more, but you would just continue to like me less and less with each paragraph, so i'm thinking i better stop now.
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but i'd really like to hear from you today. what do you hate waiting for? and what does it mean to wait on the Lord? what is the value in that? c'mon. hit me up in the comments section. i'm waiting...

6 comments:

Crafty P said...

hmmm.... you're still waiting aren't you? well, the first chapter of Cold Tangerines (the book I txted you about a few weeks back) talks about waiting. Maybe you should do some research and read about it... as I'm not holding the book and would do a disservice to Sheila Niequist on paraphrasing it. She talks about waiting... for many us are always waiting for the next BIG thing, the next BIG MOMENT. But she asks us to wake up and see that the life we've been waiting for is happening all around us and we need to take hold of it and LIVE!

That said. I'm waiting for some unanswered prayers, but I'm assuming God's going to take His sweet time on many of these, so I'm not in a hurry too much. I've let go of that constant anticipation that it will happen, say, tomorrow and have settled for the "surprise me, God" element of prayer. It's a bit better that way AND it makes me cling a little harder to hope. Which is a very good thing.

I guess one of my favorite stories about waiting is in Exodus. I was just looking back b/c I knew we had read this not too long ago in church and I was right (aug 2nd), the story of the Israelites grumbling about not having something and the Lord answers them with manna from heaven (chap 16 and then in Psalm 78:18-19; 23-25 and 54.)

such a good reminder to me about all the things I grumble about on a daily basis. the things I have to have now and cannot wait for even another minute (my list is quite similiar to yours, Greg). But the Lord always gives us what we need and at the exact time we need it, it's just that we don't often realize it until days, months, years down the road.

All that said, I have to say that I've come to enjoy the waiting process for some things- like watching the strawberry plants we planted back in May grow and change and I even enjoy having to wait to pick up one of the kids at school, especially if I'm alone in the car and with a book or it's my favorite talk radio show time!

anywho, it all comes down to perspective and the way you look at the wait. And those are some of my thoughts on waiting...

Earl said...

Ah Grasshopper! You complain at having to wait. You are learning patience! You are learning that one’s navel is not the center of the universe. In our point and click, we want it we buy it, swipe and sign and walk out the door with it world, patience is a very useful lesson to learn, especially when it comes to dealing with people and most especially when it comes to our walk with the Lord.

greg. said...

crafty: thank you for that thorough answer. i appreciate your thoughtful response. i especially liked your very visual example of a plant growing. there is just no way to really speed that up, at least not naturally. it takes time. that is some good for thought.

earl: so true that patience is critical when dealing with people. i find that i am pretty patient with people on a professional basis, but can be pretty impatient with my own family. this creates unhappy family members. i must continue to learn patience.

Lord, give me patience. and give it to me NOW!

Laurie said...

I'll stop writing checks when debit card slips come bound in neat little books like my check carbons. I am organizationally challenged enough to depend on those carbons to maintain accurate financial records.

Besides, maybe I'm being used by God to teach some guy in line behind me a lesson on waiting. ;-)

Crafty P said...

yes, my answer was thorough. did it make you impatient to read it and wonder when will it end?

i jest.

Greg C said...

Well I've been pondering the question for a day now and all I have come up with is that our impatience is part and parcel of our secular world. We've been trained to expect just about everything immediately and so we do. Consequences be damned. But it is very interesting how people of faith are also taught that God answers our prayers - all of 'em - in his time and his time is not our time, so we must be patient. We don't seem to have (much of) a problem with that. Talk about a paradox.
And if you really think about it, aren't the things we wait for better when they get here?! (web page downloads and a few other things excepted, I suppose!)
For example, I can make macaroni & cheese in the microwave in a couple minutes but that doesn't compare with the stuff that takes an hour...and is even better the next day!
Anyway, thanks for provoking thought, greg.