Waiting Well, Why is it So Hard To Do?

I don’t do waiting so well. Waiting for cars to move on down the road. Waiting with expectation for a phone call or response. For me, waiting on just about anything is tough. When I get an inspiration for something, that can be even worse. Leaving forethought in my dust and fueled by delusions of grandeur, not waiting on wisdom, I too often leap before the proverbial look. Sure that I can float or fly, more often than not, the wind flutters out of my sails. With my hopes and expectations fizzling to the ground, “What happened?” swirls around my head. Aagh! That’s the problem with us optimistic ones. If it seems like a good idea, it’s full steam ahead. After all, the glass is half full, never half empty. Right?

Our family tries every summer to go to our favorite beach, Emerald Isle, North Carolina. Located on the southern tip of the Outer Banks, it is a beautiful spot protected from terrible weather and awful rip currents. On the island—which I would guess is about twenty-six miles long—about halfway from each end is the North Carolina Aquarium. One summer, we had the grand idea to bicycle there from our rental. After all, it was only a mere thirteen miles.

The day of our excursion, the bikes were delivered. Much to our surprise, and a little bit of shock, we found they were all one speed. Not three, five, or ten, but one. Complete with baskets, bells, and handlebar streamers, our cool rides could have made us the talk of the town.

That right there should have stopped us or at least step back and reassess, but with a shrug of our shoulders and optimism in our hearts, we set off.

The first couple of miles were fine. The sun was shining. The sea breeze was glorious and we were on a wonderful adventure. With each mile and hill—we had never noticed those before because when driving in a car, the terrain all looked flat—the next leg of the trip grew a wee bit harder. By the end, I especially was lagging. My kids, in trying to protect me from traffic, would take turns riding behind while shouting such encouraging words. “Go faster, mom. Go faster. Everyone’s way ahead.” By the time we arrived at our destination, we were all grateful that the first thirteen-mile gamet was complete.

Coming out of the aquarium a couple of hours later though, we were greeted by a terrific rainstorm. Not just a soft rain, but a downpour that was to last for hours. Having no alternative, we jumped on our bikes and headed for home. As we peddled, the howling wind, instead of helping us move forward, seemed to blow us backward. Hearing in my head the theme music of the Wicked Witch of the West from The Wizard of Oz, and getting the mental picture of our rain-soaked group all looking like her as she rode her bicycle through the air, I started to chuckle. This was all too funny. If any of us had taken a moment to look at the forecast, if we had bothered to put our finger to our foreheads and think, This may not be the best idea we’ve ever had, we might have at least hesitated. But no, we didn’t. And while we would never attempt it again—especially now with small grandchildren—it is a much cherished memory. Thankfully one where the small repercussion of sore muscles was not all that bad.

But sometimes, that’s not so true. The darkness of forging ahead without thought, caution, or caring comes with consequences that can’t be undone.

~ If we don’t wait when that light turns red and we plow on through the intersection hoping for the best.
~ If we don’t wait for that turkey to completely thaw before it’s dunked into the hot oil.
~ If we don’t wait for tempers to cool before spouting off or acting on impulse.
~ If we don’t wait for a friend or loved one to speak what’s on his or her heart before jumping in with expert advice that does nothing more than to shut down feelings and communication.

Is the aftermath of running ahead, of not waiting, worth it?

Hopeful waiting though, is just the opposite. And God sometimes puts us there, causing us to be still, to delay and not run ahead, invariably for our good. It may be that we are not fully ready to receive what He has for us. It might be we need to grow up to be able to grasp what He has prepared. At other times though, He may stop us in our tracks to keep us from harm. In any scenario, whether He blesses us in the moment or puts us on pause, it is for our good. “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.” (See James 1:17 NKJV.)

It’s not easy to wait. In fact, most of the time, it is downright difficult. The toddler within proves that over and over again. We want what we want, when we want it. At the end of the day though, what God desires, is for us to know His timing is perfect. He longs for us to completely trust in Him. How can He help us unless we do?

Expectant hope does not disappoint. It always points to His all-encompassing love.

In His love,