Sunday, January 19, 2014

Why we wait

Robert Frost asked the question, "How much of human life is lost in the waiting?"
His question feels more like a lament, clouded in sorrow and grief. In his words there is an assumption that waiting is always a losing proposition. No matter what we are waiting for, we are somehow missing out on something else. What we are missing we'll never know. But there is an unspoken truth that something is lost…something, I suspect, that Frost deems more desirable than the wait itself.
The Bible, on the other hand, doesn't provide the same outlook on waiting. Isaiah 40:31 paints a drastically different picture of waiting. The scripture says, "But those who wait on 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." 
When looked at in light of the Bible, waiting does not seem to be a loss. Waiting is actually beneficial in and of itself. It is where our strength is built. The waiting room is our weight-lifting room.
How many people spend hours lifting weights in the gym, pushing their bodies to the limit, tracking their nutrient intake in order that they might gain physical, muscular strength? Body builders devote their lives to gaining strength. Why would they sacrifice so much? Because, in their eyes, gaining strength is worth the effort. The reward is worth the work.
Is gaining spiritual strength as desirable? Do God's children, like dedicated body builders, pine for spiritual strength with the same fervor that the weight lifter yearns for more muscular capacity? Do Christians have that same longing?
If the answer is yes then we should be embracing our times of waiting because that's when we gain strength. Our strength is actively renewed while we wait and hope in the Lord.
The Bible again equates waiting with strength in Psalm 27:14: "Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD."
Waiting. It isn't glamorous. It isn't flashy. It doesn't come attached with recognition or awards. Yet, waiting is an essential principle of the Christian faith. Waiting is where our strength is manifested, molded, and multiplied. 
In the midst of waiting it is tempting to question "why?" Why am I stuck in this stage of inaction? Why isn't anything happening to me and for me? When will life get a move on? Instead of sitting back and relaxing while we wait, we are tempted to become impatient, tapping our foot to expel our nervous energy, pacing back and forth and continually glancing at the clock, even when only half a minute has passed. We want to bypass the wait and jump ahead to the next excitement.
What we forget is that by forgoing the wait we miss out on the renewal of strength. Without strength we are ill equipped to tackle the adventures and missions of life. We may be faced with a great new excitement but without strength how will we tackle the new challenges and demands? We can be called to do great works for the Lord but without strength can we fulfill the call? 
The wait is where we receive the strength we need for the journeys to come. That wait might take longer than expected. Our wait might seem to be endless, causing us to wonder, "what good is the strength if I never get the chance to use it?" But take heart because you can't see the future. You might feel like your life is one big long wait but have you considered how big of a mission God might have ahead for you? The mission might be more overwhelming then your mind can even comprehend. Therefore, your strength will need to be great enough to meet the challenges ahead. Hence, all the agonizing days, weeks, months and years of waiting. 
While you wait don't tap your foot in impatient frustration. Instead, relish the opportunity to gain strength. Bask in the renewal of strength that is benefited to you in this time. Strength is to be cherished. If God is making you wait then He is allowing you to be blessed with His miraculous strength. By this strength He will use you to do marvelous things for His glory. But first you must be strong. You must be courageous and brave. And you must wait.
Even when it looks like nothing much is taking place, God is renewing your inner strength if you wait on Him. God wants to give you strength so that He can send you off soaring. Get ready, dear reader, because you will one day fly with the grace and beauty of the eagle. First, you must actively wait on the Lord. 
There is nothing lost while you wait. You are not missing out on some wild adventure that is more exciting and desirable. No, instead you are being prepared for the great journey ahead. As you wait on the Lord you are gaining strength through the grace and mercy of God. So you see, while waiting you aren't missing out on a single thing. You are actually gaining everything. 

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