Seasons of Waiting
The Chinese have this saying: “Birth, aging, sickness and death are inevitable stages in life.” One does not have to live long to witness these stages enacted in the lives of those around him. Progress in human science and medicine may have resulted in an improved quality of life for mankind, but it has not given the human race any more control over these stages of life than before! Certainly, these progresses have armed the human race to be in a better position to increasingly understand the inate mysteries of life itself. But there is also a sense somehow, that as we have improved, so we have deteriorated!
Of late, my thoughts have been mostly about another discipline in life that I have come to realize (though I may not as easily have come to accept) is an essential part of being alive: the discipline of waiting. As long as one is alive, one will inevitably find oneself waiting. Waiting for a significant person to appear; waiting for an opportunity (as in a job?); waiting for a response to a query; waiting for a ride; waiting to see the doctor; the list goes on.
An internet search of the word wait came up with results such as these: to remain inactive as until something expected happens; to be available or in readiness; to remain neglected; to look forward to eagerly. Just from these selected definitions, it is clear that there are two attitudes when it comes to the concept of wait. One is a passive stance, while the other is an active one. Needless to say, these two attitudes will lead to entirely different outcomes. And that is precisely what makes the difference: ATTITUDE! If you have to wait, you have to wait. If nothing can change this reality, choosing a negative stance will not only NOT change anything about it, but will also add to the existing hardship!
The Scriptures are full of instances where attitudes are reflected. On occasions where our Lord Jesus was challenged, did He not sometimes choose to ignore, to walk away from a prickly situation? In certain situations, when those around Him were clearly aiming to provoke Jesus into some form of reaction, was it not obvious that our Lord chose a calm and measured response instead (Mark 2 & 3)? A classic and powerful demonstration of the impact of a right attitude is found in the incident of how Jesus calmed the storm threatening a boat full of experienced fishermen. In fact the child Jesus already exuded this demeanor as can be seen in his response to his parents’ frantic (though understandable) questioning of his disappearance (Luke 2:49)! Indeed, biblical evidences attesting to the Lord Jesus’ collectedness are aplenty.
We can easily trace this back to a basic root reason: the assuredness that Jesus has; assured of His identity in Himself, in relation to the Persons of the Trinity, in His role in the salvation plan of God the Father! It is precisely because of His assuredness can our Lord Jesus then face the undeniable cruelty and excruciating torture of the impending crucifixion. While there were moments when His total humanity sets in to attempt to thwart His divine perception (Garden of Gethsemane), yet we see the obvious exercise of His will in choosing to submit unequivocally to divine authority! In so doing, God’s salvation plan for mankind became an assured reality, and we stand today, as redeemed fruits of Jesus’ obedient sacrifice! A zillion AMEN to the trinitarian Godhead!
How then does His personal example relate to us frail creatures who proclaim and profess this Jesus as our Lord and Saviour? As I began to point out at the beginning of this write-up, our human and earthly existence will be dotted with stages and moments of waiting. I will be the first to admit that waiting is not the easiest discipline to achieve. To start out with, if all waiting that we have to engage in comes with a guaranteed desired and choice outcome, I am sure no one will gripe about the wait. Quite recently, there was a media report of a massive crowd who waited for the launch of a certain product, only to discover at the end of their long and arduous wait that the desired product had ran out of stock. A frenzied outbreak of tempers in retaliation resulted! Next, very often when the waiting duration is indefinite (and hence, beyond one’s human control), this factor itself will certainly deter many from choosing to wait!
Seasons of waiting are a part of our earthly but redeemed lives! They are not easy to endure; desired outcomes are not controllable; folks around those choosing to wait often misunderstand and so, do not lend the needed support (sometimes even adding salt to wound). In the process of the wait, other aspects of life continue (commitments and responsibilities to be shouldered remain). Indeed, all of these can add anguish to those who wait! Hence, it is imperative that before the child of God embarks on a season of waiting, that he or she be sufficiently clear and assured that this too is the will of the Father, not one that is the result of personal impulsiveness or reactive emotions.
Richard M. Weaver once said, “Ideas have consequences!” Indeed, they do. Sin is a terrible and acute example of this. However, if these ideas are cast in the direction of our heavenly Father from the very beginning, then the consequences (whatever they may be) will surely be within the grip of His strong and loving hands too! He is the One who had promised that “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). Further affirmation of this divine promise is found when we are reminded that “faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen…without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him” (Hebrews 11:1,6).
May we lift up those we know who are currently engage in a season of waiting, that our loving Father will carry them in His gracious hands and supply them with His wisdom, faith and peace that passes all human understanding! To God be all glory!