I once had a professor who profusely talked about the word ‘patience’. He was the kind of guy who, in order to teach himself the discipline of patience, would intentionally drive behind the SLOWEST driver on the freeway with no rush or hasty attitude. He was also the kind of man who looked for the LONGEST line in the grocery store waited, no matter how long it took.
I remember hearing these stories in disbelief. How could someone be so selfless of their time?
Ain’t nobody got time for that.
I’m originally from Southern California (insert eye roll here) where everything, I mean EVERYTHING is fast-paced. When my husband and I first came to Oregon, we had a 16-hr drive to complete. Once we hit hour 15, one hour until we arrived to our new home, we decided to stop and get a sandwich at a near Safeway—mind you, I had been on the road for 15 hours…and this was not my finest hour.
The lady who was making our sandwiches was new, and while making our meal, she was making sure every step was correct and that she followed every protocol the book had for making sandwiches. I totally respected that. But after the first 10 mins it quickly became 15 minutes and 15 then became 20 minutes and that was just the FIRST SANDWICH. My husband Zach kept reminding me, “what’s the hurry, Jess? We are already here. Enjoy the present.”
He was right. Why the rush?
It’s funny when we talk about these kinds of stories because they probably happen more often than we’d like to admit; maybe when we are running late for work and we end up behind a very slow driver or when we are trying to get our morning coffee and the line is super long. Maybe even when we wake up late on a Sunday, finding ourselves trying to navigate through the B4 parking lot (that's a scary sight)…We’ve all been there.
I wonder what this might look like when we are waiting for a prayer or an answer from the Lord and we’ve been waiting for a long time. Maybe for some of you it's been several months, maybe others several years, maybe for others, even longer.
The wait, sometimes, can leave us feeling helpless.
The past few weeks have been very difficult for me to trust the Lord with my life. It’s been difficult for me to trust that He knows my needs way better than I do. It’s been difficult to wait for Him to show up on His timing and not MY timing.
What I’ve learned is this: The Father is most concerned with my posture toward him than He is with simply just providing me with that very thing I need. He knows how badly we need certain things. He’s a good Father, which means that He will always give His children good gifts! But I believe that He’s most concerned with the posture of our hearts and how we wait to receive all of those good things because that speaks of our character—it speaks of our worship.
Waiting + surrender = The Father’s will.
I think that my old college professor was onto something when he began to teach himself the discipline of waiting patiently. I think that he realized that placing himself in situations where he was forced to wait and not take the short cut, enabled him to embrace the present—the here and now.
Now, I’m not recommending that you jump into the longest line just to teach yourself some patience; I am saying that waiting requires a lot more of us.
PATIENTLY waiting teaches us how to be in the now and not in the tomorrows or the maybes.
Being in the now allows us to see God at work in our lives and it allows us to take a posture of surrender to His will. His will is always better than our own. Waiting patiently, gets us out of our own way and places The Father where He belongs—at the driver’s seat.
“In our mostly active lives and fast-paced culture, waiting is not a popular pastime. It is not something we anticipate or experience with great joy. In fact, most of us consider it a waste of time. Perhaps this is because the culture in which we live is basically saying, “Get going! Do something! Show you are able to make a difference! Don’t just sit there and wait.” But the paradox of waiting is that it requires full attention to the present moment, with the expectation of what is to come and the patience to learn from the act of waiting.”
— Henri J.M. Nouwen, Discernment: Reading the Signs of Daily Life
Thanks for reading and joining the journey,