My son hopped in the minivan at 8:20 Tuesday morning with his sneakers on, his jacket zipped up, and his backpack next to him.
He was ready for school. Ready to go . Ready to leave right this minute and not wait another second before getting on the road, Mom!
The thing is, we don’t need to leave for school until around 8:50. So he was a tad early, as in half an hour early.
But I’d already been putting him off for 20 minutes, so I finally just gave up and drove to school. While we waited, I ran errands around the church building and answered his questions every few minutes: “Mom, what time is it? Mom, how many minutes?”
Waiting was just….so…..hard.
Part of me loves that he’s so excited about school, of course.
And part of me feels for him. I connect with all that desire to get going already instead of lingering relentlessly. Can we just drive? Can we just move? Can we just start? Why all the waiting, waiting, waiting?
The Bible talks about waiting patiently and waiting silently, and I can do that happily for maybe a few days or weeks. But after a few months of persisting in prayer and standing on the promises, I’m about ready to get a little real with Jesus in my quiet time:
“Lord, you know we can’t wait forever, right? Have you forgotten about little ol’ me? We have these things called deadlines and due dates on earth. Please just do something already!”
I know I’m not alone in this because I can read my own increasingly desperate prayers echoed in the Psalms:
“But you, LORD, do not be far from me. You are my strength; come quickly to help me” (Psalm 22:19 ESV).
“Come quickly to help me, my Lord and my Savior” (Psalm 38:22 NIV).
“Be pleased to save me, LORD; come quickly, LORD, to help me” (Psalm 40:13 NIV).
“But as for me, I am poor and needy; come quickly to me, O God. You are my help and my deliverer; LORD, do not delay” (Psalm 70:5 NIV).
Reading through those verses helps somehow. It helps to know we’re not crazy and we’re not the only ones asking God not just to save us, but to do it “quickly!”
Of course, that doesn’t really mean God puts a rush-job on answering our prayers.
He is a perfect time God, waiting for the appointed moment and the appropriate season to come through and fulfill promises. He isn’t spurred into action by our cries or somehow nudged awake by our persistence as if He’s forgotten about us until just that moment.
God has us in mind all along and He has a plan all along.
That’s what really helps in the waiting season, more so even then reading those Psalms.
It helps to know that God Himself understands how hard this is.
Sometimes I can get tricked into thinking that His divinity disconnects Him from my perspective.
The Bible says:
With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day (2 Peter 3:8 NIV)
That can feel a little disheartening because if time is so fluid for God, then how could He even begin to understand what it feels like to pray and pray and pray and wait and wait and wait without result?
Then I read this:
When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had already been there a long time, he said to him, “Do you want to be healed?” (John 5:6 ESV).
Jesus saw the man who had been paralyzed and waiting for healing for 38 years, and He didn’t just shrug that off and overlook how hard that must have been.
Before healing the man, Jesus did this first; He acknowledged that it had indeed been a long time.
The understanding and compassion of that moment is what draws me in.
Jesus gets it.
The waiting seasons aren’t because of God’s forgetfulness or His lack of concern for us or needing to maintain some arbitrary timeline.
God sees us in the waiting room.
He knows we’re impatient creatures. He understands how hard it is to keep perspective and to persevere in faith without giving up.
He knows what it feels like to wait “a long time.”
Because of that, because He gets it, because He loves us, because He cares about us, I find a little comfort and a little release from all the tension and frustration. I can strain against the waiting a little less and rest in knowing His love for me a little more.
As Max Lucado writes:
God is God. He knows what he is doing. When you can’t trace his hand, trust his heart” (Grace for the moment).