“Wait until your father gets home.”
“Wait! You are going to hurt yourself.”
“You will just have to wait until dinner.”
“I can’t wait until my birthday/I’m 16/I’m out on my own/…”
“You will just have to wait.”
“Wait here while I go over there and pray.” (Jesus words to his disciples)
Waiting is a part of life – a big part. It seems like every time we turn around, we wait. We are either told to wait or we must wait. The problem is that I hate to wait. With the opportunity to practice, it seems that waiting should become easier the more one does it. It doesn’t really work that way. Often, the more we have to wait the more frustrated we become. I’m writing the first person plural here (we) and including you (all). Maybe this is not fair but I imagine you are not a whole lot different than I in this regard. I hate to wait!
I thought it might be helpful to define exactly what we are up against. So I went to my trusty old friend, dictionary.com. This is some of what I discovered. (There’s a lot more information regarding this and if you’re interested, just check it out on the web!) When it is used as a verb (without an object) wait means :
- to remain inactive or in a state of repose, as until something expected happens (often followed by for, till, or until)
- (of things) to be available or in readiness
- to remain neglected for a time
- to postpone or delay something or to be postponed or delayed
- to look forward to eagerly
So, wait is a verb – something you do. When you think about it, it’s really something you don’t do. A little confusing, isn’t it. We have an action word which describes inaction! To wait is to postpone or delay activity! But wait there’s more to it. It may also connote eager anticipation.
I’m fond of Martin Luther’s illustration of waiting . It seems he had a small dog who would generally sit on the floor near the table while Luther was eating. The dog looked attentively at him, knowing that sooner or later he would get a morsel of food from his master. All of his attention was focused; he eagerly waited until Luther tossed him a scrap of food. The focused attention and eager anticipation was the point of the lesson.
This morning, our Great Dane named Sweetie was summoned to my side. She knows that she is supposed to wait until she is invited to eat a scrap from breakfast. Like Luther’s little puppy, she also looked with great anticipation (maybe even drooled a little) as she longed for the bit of bread. When commanded to sit, she promptly obeyed – for a moment and then uninvited, came to take the bread from my paralyzed fingertips. Her focus was neither on me or my commands but on the bit of toast. Even though she was overcome by desire, she still responded to my command, “No!” So refraining from gulping down the morsel, she retreated and began to look at me once more. Another command “Sit!” Sweetie obeyed. After sitting for a moment she was invited to partake of her reward.
Sad to say that I’m probably more like Sweetie than Luther’s puppy. I frequently lose focus and do not have Jesus or his kingdom and righteousness in view. This is probably why this is one of my favorite verses: “And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” (Philippians 1:6, ESV)
Let us give thanks to the Lord for his great grace to us. He loves us by putting up with us and correcting us when we need it. Is purpose is to make us fit for heaven.