by Leah Sargent
I hate to wait. Long lines are torture. Put me on hold? No, thanks; I’ll call back later. Winter is the worst of all. All of the waiting through snow, ice and cold for spring — waiting to feel alive again — it seems like it will never end.
I’ve never been good at waiting. But in the last few years, I’ve done a lot of it. Maybe you’re there too, waiting for just about everything and wondering if the wait will ever be over. We wait for a job, for summer, for Friday, and for a spouse. Sometimes it feels like life is nothing but waiting. I’m there. We tend to think of waiting as having an end point — we’re waiting for something.
But I wonder if God has something better for us than sitting around twiddling our thumbs until something happens. I wonder if the waiting itself is the point and not what comes at the end. In Isaiah, we read, “But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run and not grow weary, and they shall walk, and not faint” (Isaiah 40:31, KJV). I’m a runner, so this verse always catches my eye. Run and not get weary? Sign me up! Hold on … I have to wait? Um, yeah, forget it. But God doesn’t forget it. He wants endurance in me more than I want it for myself. He wants faith in me more than I desire faith. He wants strength in me when I would choose easy weakness. That means waiting.
When I’m training for a race, my endurance doesn’t increase when I finish a run. I grow stronger through the running — the everyday training — the wait. The point isn’t to cross the finish line or make it back to my driveway. The point is getting stronger through the training. Maybe that’s what the wait you’re living is all about. Not that God is punishing you or that you’re a failure or that there are no good guys/girls out there. Maybe God wants strength for you, faith from you, and endurance in you. It’s in waiting that we rise on wings like eagles. It’s not in getting through it, not in the waiting being over, and not in getting whatever it is we want. Strength comes from waiting.
Recently, two friends several years younger than I am got engaged. While I was excited and thrilled for them, a tiny voice inside me asked God why they’re getting married and I’m still waiting. Instantly, it was as though I heard Jesus say, “You know me in a way they never will.” If Jesus hugs people, He hugged me in that moment. I was stunned by Jesus’ love for me in allowing me to wait and to know Him intimately in my waiting. There’s no substitute for a gift of closeness with Jesus. Now, I’m not saying that less spiritual people get married younger and we self-proclaimed giants wait longer for marriage. My point is simply this: Don’t miss the treasures found in waiting. I still hate to wait. But I’m learning to see the beauty in this time. I invite you to join me. Turn your eyes on Jesus.
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