Why does the line at the grocery store drive you crazy? Why does the traffic jam result in you pounding the dashboard? Why does your spouse feel your irritation when they've made you late? What is it about waiting that makes you mad?
Waiting is hard, I get that. We live in a fallen world and that makes life difficult. But our biggest waiting problem is found inside of us, not outside of us.
There are three heart issues that make waiting a struggle for us:
Waiting, for us, seems meaningless. There's something at the end of the wait, and all we're concerned about is reaching that something. We're rarely concerned about the process of waiting; we just want the result.
If waiting results in a better result - for example, slow cooking a meal to enhance the taste - then the wait doesn't bother us. But think about it: we're still only concerned about the result, in this case, a better tasting meal! We're results-oriented people, so "unnecessary waiting" is a meaningless hassle.
Waiting immediately announces that we're not in control. If we were in control, we wouldn't have to wait! Traffic would move, people would obey our commands, and things would be accomplished immediately.
Imagine how enjoyable life would be if you were in control...actually, life would be very dangerous. But we like to trick ourselves into thinking that we would make a better sovereign than the Sovereign.
We're self-focused and self-absorbed people. We want a comfortable life, free of any pain, obstacles, and delays. If we could have life our way, everything would be predictable, efficient, and practical. But life in a fallen world is far from predictable, and we often have to wait.
The biggest reason we hate to wait is because we love ourselves. Waiting often strips us of something we want, and we respond with anger, irritation, depression, and so on. Like I said before, our waiting problem is always a heart problem before it's ever a fallen world problem.
You're not the only person who has had to wait. In fact, the entire Bible is a story of waiting. It's a major theme coursing through the Scriptures. Think about all the waiting that was done:
- Abraham and Sarah waited 75 years for the birth of their promised son.
- Israel waited 40 years to get into the Promised Land.
- Israel waited (again) in Babylon for their return to rebuild the temple.
- The Old Testament prophets waited for the coming of the Messiah.
- Billions of Christians around the world now wait in anticipation for the Second Coming of Christ.
You see, everywhere in the Bible, God's children are waiting. You can't read Scripture and conclude that waiting is mistake. For some reason, God has ordained waiting as part of the plan.
Tomorrow I will write about why God makes us wait, and 6 words that are helpful for me as I consider waiting. But for today, evaluate your heart. Why are you struggling to wait?
UPDATE: Tired of Waiting (Part 2) has been posted here...