How are you at waiting?
This past week I was waiting in line at Walmart. I was only getting a few things but decided to go through a line with a live cashier rather than the self-checkout. There was only one lane open and the woman in front of me had a cart heaped over and spilling out with merchandise. I was not in a hurry and since it was one of only a handful of times I have gone into a store in the past year, the wait was a little therapeutic.
I was not in line long, however, before someone joined behind me. This woman WAS. NOT. HAPPY. about the wait. She complained about the lack of additional lanes and how slowly the cashier was working. She complained about how much stuff the woman ahead of me was getting. Complain, complain, complain, about anything and everything. Several times she tried to engage me as a sympathizer, but I did not take the bait. I ended up tactfully telling her it was just a minor inconvenience, and I didn’t think we would be in line exceedingly long. Still, she continued her tirade.
This incident made me think about all the time we spend in our lives waiting. It seems like we are always waiting for something. As children, we wait for birthdays and Christmas; for school to be over, then for school to start. As we get older, we wait to drive and to graduate. As adults, we wait to get married, have kids, for a promotion or a new job, or retirement. The point is we are constantly waiting for something.
Often, we wait for our circumstances to change, and we pray for God to intervene on our behalf. What are we doing, though, while we wait? Are we compounding our misery by complaining like the woman in line? Or are we patiently and actively looking for solutions on our own? Have we learned to be content in the waiting?
There are many reasons God makes us wait. Depending on the version, the Bible mentions waiting around 100 times. Even in Biblical times, people spent a great deal of time waiting. Remember the Israelites who spent 40 years making an 11-day journey? God was trying to teach them gratitude and patience.
God may also be testing our motives. Are we selfishly praying for an immediate result instead of putting in the work ourselves? God can open doors, but we need to look for the door. Recently, I came across this quote about waiting from Sue Monk Kidd and I think it perfectly explains how we should be waiting while we wait for God.
“I had tended to view waiting as mere passivity. When I looked it up in my dictionary, however, I found that the words passive and passion come from the same Latin root, pati, which means to endure. Waiting is thus both passive and passionate. It’s a vibrant, contemplative work. It means descending into self, into God, into the deeper labyrinths of prayer. It involves listening to disinherited voices within, facing the wounded holes in the soul, the denied and undiscovered, the places one lives falsely. It means struggling with the vision of who we really are in God and molding the courage to live that vision.”
– Sue Monk Kidd
Throughout our lives, we will wait for many things. Let’s not focus so much on the waiting that we miss living.
Women of the Bible Blocks 31 and 32
Block 31 represents Martha and Mary. These women with sisters of Lazarus and an important story about them as Jesus was visiting their home is told in Luke 10.
Block 32 represents Salome. Salome was the beautiful young woman who danced for King Herod and entranced him so much that he offered her anything she wished, which resulted in the beheading of John the Baptist. The story is told in Mark 6.
Have a happy Sunday!