The Waiting Place
Refrain from anger, and forsake wrath!
Fret not yourself; it tends only to evil.
For the evildoers shall be cut off,
but those who wait on the LORD shall inherit the land. —Psalm 37:8,9
“Waiting is never easy and haste is ever the sin of Adam.” —Carlo Carretto
In his children's book, Oh, the Places You’ll Go, Dr. Seuss, writes of "the waiting place"—a useless place where people are just waiting.
Waiting for a train to go or a bus to come,
or a plane to go or the mail to come,
or the rain to go or the phone to ring,
or the snow to snow
or waiting around for a yes or no
or waiting for their hair to grow.
Everyone is just waiting.
In the realm of extraneous factoids, I've read that if we live to be seventy years old we will spend a minimum of three years waiting. Just waiting. Scientists have actually studied the phenomenon and discovered what we already know: We hate to wait! We twiddle our thumbs, shuffle our feet, stifle our yawns and fret inwardly in frustration. “Haven’t I borne this situation long enough?” we ask. “Isn’t it time to move on?” And still we wait.
That's because waiting is an integral part of the process by which God is perfecting us. It’s one of the ways by which God effects the ends on which he has set his heart. Without it he could never make the most of us.
Waiting is a time to develop humility, patience, endurance, and persistence in well-doing. These quieter virtues take the longest to learn, are the last to be learned and, it seems to me, can only be learned through waiting, the very circumstance we’re most inclined to resist.
And so we must wait before we make any change: before we give notice to a difficult employer, before we walk out on a hard marriage, before we end a disappointing friendship or make some other irrevocable decision. We must "just wait." We’ll know when it’s time to make the next move. God will let us know. As someone has said, "God is never in a hurry, but he is always on time."
In the meantime, while we wait, we should look into each delay for its disciplines, learning its deeper lessons of faith and obedience and yielding to God’s efforts to change us rather than our circumstances. The extent to which we do so will determine the extent to which his purposes are achieved in us.
F. B. Meyers writes, “What searching of the heart, what analyzing of motives, what uplifting of the soul.... All these are associated with these weary days of waiting which are, nevertheless, big with spiritual destiny.”