Waiting is a big deal to God. Time is the very first thing he created, "in the beginning" (Gen. 1:1), and ever since that beginning, God has worked within the wait.
We wait in line, wait for coffee to percolate, wait for the light to change, wait for Christmas, wait for morning, wait for permission. We wait for a spouse, wait for a baby, wait on our children, wait on our parents. We wait in the doctor's office, in the dentist's office, in the post office and for a leader to take office. We wait for clarity, for direction, to feel sure. We wait on a job, a promotion, a new boss, a new day. We wait for hope and for healing and for miracles.
We wait on God. It's one of His favorite tools to get our attention. When God wants to get our attention, it always means He is brewing something good. So what good is there in waiting?
Waiting helps us to slow down. When my friend Sheri visited Kenya a couple of years ago, she learned that the Kenyans' concept of time is very different from ours. They are never in a hurry. It's almost as though they have learned to refuse to be rushed. They are fully in this moment, doing what is now. Kenyans have a saying in Swahili: "Haraka haraka haina baraka." It means, "Hurry by hurry, and the blessing is lost." When you are intentional to slow down, you may become aware of the gifts, especially the ones you might have missed by hurrying through your day.
Waiting helps us to notice new things. My son Tyler taught me this game he invented for whenever he's bored: his noticing game. When he's in the car on a long, familiar drive, or when he's waiting for me to finish a conversation so we can leave someplace, he plays the noticing game. He looks around him, intent on finding something he's never seen before. Waiting is a time for noticing, and sometimes, in the long season of being separated from what we want, we discover that waiting is the only time we notice God.
Waiting helps us to remember what we really want. When God sent His Son to be born into the world, 400 years had passed since the people had heard a word from the Lord. It's difficult for me to wrap my mind around that much time, that much waiting. Not only had they not heard a word, but neither had their parents, their grandparents or their great-grandparents. I think I would stop believing—and stop waiting—if I couldn't even find the last person who had any real evidence of good news. I imagine I'd even begin to forget what it's like to hunger for His word. In these 400 years of silence, the people began to burn with a deep hunger for the sound of his voice. Sometimes God does that. He makes us wait so we can remember what we want the most.
Waiting allows us time to prepare. Do you ever feel God calling you to something, but you're stuck in neutral? You may feel the seed of something big and important—the ideas mounting and the dreams growing—but maybe you're in a season of waiting, traveling at a pace that won't let you get to work just yet, or at least not as fast as you planned to. Here is a little spoonful of encouragement for those of us who are weary of waiting to even get started: You don't have to wait one more minute to start learning what you're longing to learn. Perhaps you can get started by simply finding someone to learn from. Waiting allows you the season to study and prepare so that when your time comes, you'll be ready.
Waiting gives us the choice to trust. What could it look like if you choose to trust? What if your circumstances are not an indication of God's heart for you, whether He loves you and whether He's with you? What if the situation you find yourself in is not an indication of what God is up to? What if you choose to believe He is for you even when it feels as if He is not? What if you choose to believe He loves you even when it feels as if He doesn't?
Imagine how that could change everything. You may not be able to push the timeline or change your circumstances, but you can change the way you think about them. And as you do so, you may become a new creation. You may have a deepening awareness—an awakening, if you will—that God has always been with you. And that awareness, that becoming, may have been the reason for this wait all along.
God is in the in-between. He is waiting for us to look for Him differently. To notice Him. To look up, to look around, to see.
God is in the waiting.
Tricia Lott Williford is a remarried widow, author of four books, writer, teacher, reader and thinker. Thousands of people join her each morning for a cup of coffee as they sign online to read today's funny, poignant stories that capture the fleeting moments of life. Tricia lives near Denver, Colorado, with her husband and two sons, and right this moment she is probably doodling in the margins of an overdue library book. You can get to know Tricia through her daily posts at tricialottwilliford.com. Her most recent book is Just. You. Wait (Tyndale House, 2019).
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