Sunday, September 23, 2012

Take 5 with Kathy - "Waiting...Anguish or Serenity?"

Do you know anyone who enjoys waiting? I find it hard to think of one person who hasn’t been frustrated to some degree or another with waiting. I used to consider myself a patient person, but I’m afraid I succumb too often to the aggravation that results from waiting. Just this past week I found myself waiting…

            …for sleep to come late at night

            …in a long check-out line

            …for a doctor’s appointment

            …to fill the car with gas

            …for a waitress to serve our food

            …for the kettle to boil         

            …for my salsa to process in a hot water bath

            …for the washer and dryer to finish

            …at a long stop light

            …for my computer to download the latest updates

            …for test results from the doctor

            …for a building permit to come so we can replace our deck

            …for a road crew to turn the “stop” sign when I was stuck in traffic

            …for the plumber to phone back after our water heater sprang a leak

            …for the plumber to install the new tank

            …for news about a missing friend of the family

            …for replies to my emails and text messages

            …for my pesky cold to run its course

            …for the sun to shine again after several days of rain

I wonder how much of my week was spent simply waiting? Most of the time I could do nothing about it – except wait! Waiting can fuel frustration, frustration simmers to the point of anxiety, and anxiety boils over into insecurity, despair, or anger.  The next thing I know, I’ve said something I regret or acted in an uncharacteristic manner, not to mention ungodly. Then guilt and shame creep in a take right over.

All of these thoughts flooded my mind on Friday afternoon as my kitten, Symba, nuzzled his furry little body under my chin as I reclined in my LazyBoy. For over an hour, we shared a sweet serenity – broken only by the occasional car driving by, the distant warning whistle of a blasting crew as they dynamited yet more bedrock, the patter of raindrops on the skylight as a shower passed over, and the gentle humming of the air exchanger.

I found myself wishing I could be as blissfully content as my kitty, lazily stretched across my chest without a care in the world! Thoughts flashed back twenty-three years ago when my tiny son would lie peacefully in my arms, his precious sleep undisturbed by distractions.

Bedford waterfront, Nova Scotia
Why am I so bothered with waiting? Why can I not just rest in the fact that my Heavenly Father has all things under His control and He knows what’s happening every second of my day? How come I have such trouble overcoming my fears, worries, and anxiety?

I look at others who seem to take things so in stride, who view frustrations as challenges, and who quickly turn times of waiting into opportunities. How do they do that?

So, what’s the secret? It’s not found in the analogies of a “quick fix”, or an “easy” button, microwave convenience, or instant messaging. It’s more like being in a slow cooker that takes a lifetime melting my spirit and soul into tender acceptance of the will of God for my life. And that includes all those day-to-day seemingly meaningless minutes and hours of waiting.

Quidi Vidi, Newfoundland
It’s often in those times of silence when, if I’m still enough, I hear the sweet tender voice of my loving Father as He whispers to me,

“Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for Him…” (Psalm 37:7a, NIV)

I waited patiently for the Lord; He turned to me and heard my cry.” (Psalm 40:1, NIV)

I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in His word I put my hope.” (Psalm 130:5, NIV)

“Yet those who wait for the Lord will gain new strength; they will mount up with wings like eagles, they will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary.” (Isaiah 40:31, NASB)

Waiting is hard, sometimes painful, agonizing, lonely, laborious, boring, and silent. There are times when it feels as though even God has turned a deaf ear and left us to fend for ourselves. Not so! As Joshua 1:9 says, “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” (NIV)

Times of waiting are for my benefit, whether I like them or not. Just as it took time for my salsa to cook, blending all the flavours and spices, and more time to process it to guard against spoilage, so God uses all those minutes, hours, days, and years to develop my character into that of Christlikeness.

“God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” – Reinhold Niebuhr[i]

Until next Sunday,




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