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At Last

For all of us, life is about timing — God's, not ours.

“At last, my love has come along…” —Etta James

I had no idea that I have as many friends as weddings I’ve attended over the past 10 years. Nevertheless, I recently found myself at another of these joyous occasions for a girl I had met and befriended at church. She was barely a year out of college and was settling down with her high school sweetheart. This particular wedding was of the traditional nature — the poofy dress, the roses, the tuxes and the orchestral music.

Once the ceremony ended and we moved to the fellowship hall reception, I settled in with my tiny plate of food and began chatting with the people at my table. When the time came for the bride and groom’s entrance, we all stood and listened to the DJ croon into the microphone his announcement of the happy couple. Then the radiant pair floated through the breezeway and sailed to the dance floor.

As the opening notes of the first dance song sounded, I found myself nearly choking on my Sprite-and-pineapple-juice punch. Their first dance song was “At Last.” At last. At last? They were 22! How long had they been waiting? The ink had barely dried on the thank-you notes for their college graduation gifts. What did they know about truly waiting and finally receiving?

This thought continued to nag me like a buzzing insect until something else began to occupy my irritation: I was forced to join the few other single girls on the dance floor to catch the wedding bouquet. Because I loathe feeling like a member of a herd of cattle, I tried my best to escape to the bathroom and hide in a stall until the event had passed. But someone discovered me and dragged me to the dance floor where, much to my chagrin, a 10-year-old girl jumped in front of me and caught the bouquet — because, as everyone knows, 10 year olds know even more about waiting than 22 year olds.

Driving home from the wedding, I became irritated with myself. I started thinking about perspectives and how my own limited viewpoint can so often cloud my judgment. Everyone, at various points in his or her life, will face “at last” moments. At last, I’m graduating from high school and can start college. At last, I’m graduating from college and can start a real job. At last, I’m dating someone I really love. At last, I’m having a baby and starting a family of my own.

It’s not my job to correlate when someone gets something with how much she’s able to appreciate it. To my friend, it was an “at last” moment. At last, she was spending the rest of her life with the man she loved. She was rejoicing in that. And so should I.

The truth is that for all of us, life is about timing — God’s, not ours. Sometimes I feel ready for an “at last” moment while God is telling me to wait. He may bring that moment one day, or He may not. But my life is not on hold until whatever I want to happen happens. God has me where I am right now for a divinely appointed purpose — mainly, to make me more like Him.

It’s not that God doesn’t understand and care that I may not be exactly giddy about where He has me right now. He sees me, He hears me, and He even uses my frustration as a reminder that life in this world is unfulfilling because I was created for a much better world.

Until the moment comes when He welcomes me into my real home, I will continually search for the fulfillment of “at last” moments, thinking that if I can just get to the next level, then I can breathe deeply. Once I get that diploma, that job, that family, then my life can begin. But one day, when I’ve entered the world in which He created me to dwell, I will really be able to breathe a sigh of relief, knowing that He has instantly met my every desire. My heart will long for nothing ever again except to continually sing my Father’s praises. Only then will I lean back with arms outstretched and finally be able to say, “At last!”

Copyright 2013 Beth Grabenkort. All rights reserved.

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About the Author

Beth Grabenkort

Beth Grabenkort holds a master’s degree in English education and teaches middle school language arts in Atlanta, Ga. She has written several articles for local publications and coauthored a book entitled, Quote Worthy: Some Words Are Worth Repeating. Her gratitude for the ceaseless patience and love of Christ grows with each passing day.

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