My children have a wait problem.
No, that is not a typo…they have a W-A-I-T problem.
Like most children, for that matter like most people, my children want what they want right this minute. They are not spoiled and they are never overtly rude, as that would only negate any request that they were putting forward, but they are incredibly persistent when they have their hearts and minds set on something.
This was most clearly exemplified in the events surrounding our getting a dog a few years ago. Our daughter Chloe determined that it was high time that our family had a dog. She had all sorts of research and reasoning. She had outlines and plans. She verbalized a willingness to provide care for any dog we brought into our home. She had a detailed response to any scenario that I would propose in opposition to having a dog. She was READY for a dog.
Having a broader picture of what our lives were really like at the time, I was keenly aware that we were not ready as a family to have a pet that required more than cursory care. It is not that I was opposed to having a dog, it was just that I knew that even though she thought she was ready for pet ownership; she just wasn’t. She most certainly said all the right things, and heavens knows that she was creative in her ability to work the word DOG into each and every conversation; but as her mom, I knew that with our crazy schedules and with her involvement in so many activities, it was just not the right time. So, I had to say WAIT. Not now. WAIT.
A funny thing happens in my home when you use the word wait. For some reason, my children interpret this word to mean one of two things; Yes or No. Trust me when I tell you that my children have a very good grasp on English vocabulary, but somehow anytime the word “wait” is used, they hear something completely different. Sometimes they take the “wait” to mean, “Yes, but please provide me more information on why you want this on your time frame and if you could pester me constantly about it in the meantime that would be great!” At other times, they take the “wait” to mean, “No and you are never getting this thing you want.” This leads to pouting and a temporary breach in our relationship while they work through their anger stemming from their perception of being told no.
Here’s the thing; wait doesn’t mean either of those things. It just means W-A-I-T. It means that through my broader view of what is happening in your world, in my deeper understanding of your readiness for this event, you need to wait. There are some things that need to be addressed. Take a breath. You need to wait.
I would love to tell you that my children do not come by this trait honestly…but they do. I myself have a W-A-I-T problem. (I also have a bit of weight problem, but that is another blog entirely!) If I set my mind to something, I want it to happen right NOW. I am a planner and an organizer. I will research and plot out a course to conquer the goal that is before me; and once I have turned my face to the task I want to jump in and start right this very minute! Sometimes however, my heavenly Father, who has a much broader perspective of my life and the good and perfect plans that he has for me, says, “Wait…just wait.”
“What was that you said, Lord?” “Wait?”
“What do you mean, wait?” “Don’t you see the timeline I have set for myself?” “Isn’t this a worthy goal? Don’t you want the best for me?”
Around and around and around I will go with God, because surely, he meant yes or no…surely, he didn’t really mean WAIT!
And here, in my questioning and my attempts at manipulating the situation, Satan slithers his way into the self-inflicted turmoil and begins to whisper viscous venom into my ear, “You are not worthy.” “He doesn’t really mean wait…he means no.” “If he loved you he would want this for you.” “Your plan is better than God’s plan.”
So, I plead more for my own flawed cause.
Striving, pushing, arguing, crying…
Putting a temporary breach in my relationship with my Father…
All because I don’t understand WAIT.
Yes, sweet friends, I have a WAIT problem.
Maybe you do, too.
As I ponder on this, I can’t help but wonder, WHY is it so hard for us to WAIT on the Lord?
I believe that it comes down to two things; misinterpretation of what it means to wait and lack of trust.
It seems that we continuously misinterpret the word WAIT; so, what does it really mean? If we dig into the scripture we find that the words most often translated from the Hebrew to mean “wait” are:
Qavah – to look patiently
Yachal – to hope, to wait expectantly
Prosdechomai – to receive in expectation, to look for
Apecdechomai – to await eagerly, to await in confidence
In each of these words we hear a connection to waiting and hope; waiting and expectation. God doesn’t mean for us to hear the word “wait” and jump straight to the negative conclusion. Rather, he wants us to look patiently, wait expectantly, wait eagerly and most importantly wait in confidence. Confident and focused on who God is and in what he is doing.
We also misconstrue the word WAIT to mean inaction. In our world of break neck pace, instant connection, fast food, overnight deliveries, and pressures that push us to do things NOW, we have been hard wired to believe that waiting is a terrible thing. We have been tricked into believing that waiting is simply inaction in disguise. But this is just not true! Wait is a verb! Purposeful waiting is action! It is SEEKING God’s face, it is LISTENING for HIS voice, it is PRESSING in close and LEANING into HIS word. It is preparing ourselves for what is to come by addressing the now in our lives. And mainly it is TRUSTING.
And there, at its deepest root, is another reason that we have such trouble waiting. We have trouble waiting, because we have trouble trusting. If we are going to wait when God instructs us to wait then we must TRUST that God is who he says he is. We must fully believe that he is the author and creator of our story, and that the plans he has for us are far greater than any we could dream for ourselves. Moreover, we must unwaveringly recognize God’s ultimate sovereignty and his passion and compassion for us as his children. My own children won’t wait with expectation if they don’t truly believe that I can see the bigger picture and that I have their best interest in heart. We are no different in our relationship with our heavenly Father. We must trust that our Father, who holds all time in his hands, the one to whom a day is a thousand years and a thousand years is a day, is keenly aware of the span of our lives and the perfect time line that will bring about his specific plan for us.
How can we say we trust God if we rail against his admonishment to wait? Do we really believe he knows what is best for our lives when we insist on OUR plan and OUR timeline to be met? Do we demonstrate that we know, in our inmost beings, that God is exactly who he says he is when we question if he loves us enough to know what we need? Do we really trust God?
I have a wait problem.
It is not easy to share this failing with you; but it is the truth of my experience. For the last few weeks I have wrestled with God about his obvious command for me to WAIT on him in a specific area of my life. Like a petulant child I have railed against this. I have resisted his embrace and stubbornly crossed my arms and closed my heart in my refusal to accept that HE knows what is best. And in this bitter battle, where I have pummeled God with reasons why I am more than ready for what I want, where I have worked MY plan into every stilted conversation we have had, where I have taken his command to wait and misconstrued it to mean no; ushering in opportunity for Satan to fill me with fear and dread, HE has asked me again and again to trust him, to be still and know that he is God.
So here I am, spent and broken by my own foolish reluctance to simply wait upon the Lord. And like a child who has been thoroughly chastised by a parent, who has been reminded once again that they do not always know what is best for themselves, I find myself curled up in the lap of my Father, sniffling and snubbing through the last of my tears, ever grateful that he can love a wretch like me.
God is exactly who he says he is.
He has never failed me yet.
His love for me is beyond comprehension.
He knew me before my first breath, will witness my last earthly breath and has a plan for every single breath in between.
I don’t like to wait. I most likely never will. But I know, that I know, that I know that God draws near to those that WAIT upon him.
I am learning to wait.