Learning how to Wait Well

Today I was reflecting on waiting. It feels like all I’ve been doing lately, and it’s getting a bit old. I am on the edge of several possibly exciting developments in my life. One is a Super Secret Project that I’m itching to get started on, but getting started is taking a little longer than I’d expected. Another is something so vague and uncertain I can’t even call it a project yet. I want to get started now! But I have to wait a little longer, and my initial excitement is rapidly changing into impatience and twitching and fear that it will simply fizzle like so many other things seem to do.

But I remembered something: sometimes, times of waiting can actually be precious and magical. Especially when you can see change, just out of reach. That moment before the change happens, that still moment before the storm: you can’t get that moment back. When you’re in the midst of whatever new reality you find yourself in, that moment of stillness will be in the past, the Moment Before Everything Changed.

As I further reflected on waiting, it occurred to me that I’ve been reading one of my favorite passages of scripture incorrectly.

they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength;
they shall mount up with wings like eagles;
they shall run and not be weary;
they shall walk and not faint.

(Isaiah 40:31)

Every other time I’ve read this, the first two lines have read like a cause-and-effect, two step process. Step 1: Wait for the Lord. Step 2: Your strength is renewed. (I think part of this comes from playing a lot of Chutes and Ladders as a kid.) But the waiting Isaiah is talking about here isn’t waiting FOR God to renew our strength. Instead, he’s talking about waiting WHILE God renews our strength! As with Elijah’s sojourn in the desert, God says, “Rest here a while – I know you’re tired. Recover your strength before you journey on.”

Suddenly, waiting doesn’t seem so useless. It’s still frustrating. But I want to look back and say that I used my time of waiting wisely, that I saw it as a time of preparation and restoration instead of a time when nothing happened.

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