The Waiting Place
“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.”—Dr. Seuss
In his book, Oh, the Places You’ll Go, children’s author, Dr. Seuss, describes a location called "The Waiting Place.” It sounds like the place most of us inhabit. David writes for all of us:
Make haste, O God, to deliver me!
O LORD, make haste to help me!—Psalm 70:1
Waiting is hard. Why must we live in this awkward circumstance, with this difficult person, with this embarrassing behavior, with this health issue that will not go away? "How come history takes such a long, long time when you're waiting for a miracle?" Bruce Cockburn asks. Why doesn't God come through?
Sometimes, the answer is, "Wait awhile."
Waiting is one of life's greatest teachers in that we learn the virtue of...well, waiting—waiting while God works in and for us. F.B. Meyers wrote, “So often we mistake God and interpret his delays as denials. What a chapter might be written of God’s delays. It is the mystery of educating human spirits to the finest temper of which they are capable.”
It's in waiting that we develop endurance, the ability to trust God's goodness, even when things aren't going our way (Psalm 70:5). Waiting is the time for soul–making, the time to develop the quieter virtues—humility, patience, endurance, and persistence in well-doing. These virtues take the longest to learn, are the last to be learned and, it seems to me, can only be learned through waiting, the circumstance we’re most inclined to resist. “Waiting is never easy and haste is ever the sin of Adam,” Carlo Carretto said.
But waiting does not have to be dreary, tooth-clenched resignation. We can "rejoice and be glad" while we wait (Psalm 70:4). And we can wait in hope, knowing that God will deliver us in due time—in this world or in the next. God is never in a hurry, but He's always on time.
LORD! Show mercy and be merciless to my foe my flesh;
make straight my path ignore my whimpering self-pity;
starve my hunger until the sharp pain of raging need
becomes the dull ache of wanting now the feast that comes later.
LORD! Show mercy and give me hope to wait.