“Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord. Psalm 27:14
waiting an entire lifetime to even get the promise in the first place.
And it goes on, Joseph waited 13 years in prison for a crime he didn’t commit, Moses waited 40 years to be called by God. Paul waited in prison and even Jesus waited 30 years to begin His ministry, though He was well equipped long before. If God asked even Jesus to wait, why do I think he should speed up my process?
What I love most about the Great Waiters of the Bible is that they were flawed. They were people just like me: working on pleasing God but falling short. Some of them got it, but...most didn’t, which comforts me since I usually don’t get it either. The Great Waiters were no better at waiting than I am.
So, what do the Bible stories of the Great Waiters show me about waiting? How did they occupy themselves while they waited?
While Noah waited for the rain, he got busy with what he had; a lot of wood and some specific measurements. As Daniel waited, he remained faithful in prayer and firm in his convictions. While Joseph waited in prison, he didn’t waste his energy on the question, “Why?” Instead, I get the sense he focused his sights on, “What should I do now?” He did his best with each small task given him, and he stayed close to God. His situation began to turn around; he was ready for every opportunity because he had not wasted his time. Likewise, Job, David, Paul and even Jesus waited patiently.
And the moral of these stories? There is always work to be done while waiting. Sometimes the work is hands-on or physical and other times it is a solitary journey of soul-searching. Or it can be a discipline of noticing, a practice of being alert and aware. Sometimes it is about being patient, loving and present. If we choose to surrender to the moment, to believe the moment is part of a larger story and we embrace the longing, the waited is never wasted.
Inspired by the author Tricia Lott Willford