Ours is a culture that is bent on getting rid of waiting. Decades ago we adopted a whole new genre of food service, fast food restaurants, because we didn’t want to wait for good food to be prepared. So we accepted less than good food, but we got it fast. But that wasn’t fast enough, so we created the “drive thru” to further reduce the wait. And what was good enough for our food became good enough for our coffee, so we wanted to drive thru for that too.
But even that became too much waiting for some of us, so now I can place a “mobile order” (and I do). I can order my coffee with an app on my phone before I even leave my house and have it waiting for me when I arrive. But even then, sometimes you might have to wait a minute or two if you don’t time it just right. So now Starbucks has solved that as well–I noticed Sunday morning that I can now turn Notifications on in my app and it will tell me when the drinks is up so that I can be even more precise in my arrival time and eliminate waiting altogether.
And it’s not just the food industry. Amazon has convinced me that not only do I not need to waste time walking a store aisle, but that I also shouldn’t have to wait more than two days to get my purchase delivered to my door. So, I pay a premium for that . . . and eliminate more waiting.
I could probably go on (and you could too) with the number of things designed in our lives to reduce the need to wait. And while I’m all for not wasting time–thank you for HOV lanes and toll lane options–this morning I’m wondering if, in the effort to eliminate wasted time, we have unwittingly devalued waiting time.
The less you have to wait, the more you can keep on the go. But eventually, you’re gonna get tired. You’re gonna grow weary and lose strength. You’re gonna faint and fall exhausted. If the pace doesn’t wear you down, the pursuit of our culture’s prizes will. And, if even then you’re able to keep up with it all, eventually life is gonna present a problem or too that will take the wind out of your sails. What to do then? Especially if we’ve rejected the idea that there’s value in ceasing activity and we no longer know how to do waiting time?
Why think about waiting? Because of a promise I was reminded of as I read in Isaiah this morning.
He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might He increases strength. Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but 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 40:29-31 ESV)
Those who wait upon the LORD will renew their strength. They will find new and fresh might. Literally, those expectantly looking to Jehovah pass to power.
If we have ceased to value waiting, or have forgotten how to wait, we need to again learn how to be a waiting people if we are going to keep on keepin’ on.
When the going gets tough we need to stop going and embrace taking a timeout. We need to bow down and look up. We need to lift our eyes to the hills and remind ourselves from where our help comes from.
My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth.
(Psalm 121:2 ESV)
When the mountain is too high, and the valley too hard, we need to take time to remember the Maker of mountains and to cry out to the One who has promised to not forsake us in the valley. We need to pause and affirm our trust in His provision, that His grace really is sufficient. We need to quiet ourselves before His throne and refocus, knowing afresh His promises are sure and that “the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us” (Rom. 8:18).
Waiting time isn’t idle time, it is looking time, hoping time, expecting time. Time spent setting our minds and hearts on things above. Time lingering on the memories of all the things that have evidenced the good hand of God upon us in the past. Time recalibrating what it will take, by His power, to continue to run the race set before us in the present. Time eagerly anticipating what awaits us in our future.
And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be His people, and God Himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning nor crying nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”
(Revelation 21:3-4 ESV)
I can’t wait for that day!
Yes I can. I must wait. Wait upon Jehovah. Believing He will renew my strength. Knowing that I will mount up with wings like eagles. That I’ll run and not grow weary, that I’ll walk and not faint.
By His grace. For His glory.