Effingham Newsletter: September
Some of you have memories of adding a bit of cooking oil to a frying pan and dropping in popcorn kernels to enjoy a bowl of hot, fluffy, popcorn. For me though, I remember standing in the kitchen waiting for the Jiffy Pop to finish on the stovetop. It would pop loudly as the foil-top expanded to form a large silver bubble-- looking like some popcorn flying saucer had landed on our stove. For my son, fresh popcorn is a microwaved three minutes away. If that isn’t fast enough, there’s always the large store bought bag of the stuff that seems to get stale right after opening.
My point is this, with each passing generation, waiting is less a part of everyday life. When we no longer have to wait on popcorn, for example, we get used to having things right away. Maybe it’s your TiVo, a downloaded song, a quick e-mail, or even the ability to talk on the phone right away instead of having to wait until you arrive at your home or office. Whatever you’re waiting for, you’re waiting less for it.
Just because our world has a faster pace does not mean that the Lord does. Although He’s capable of creating an entire world in six days, He also chooses to take His time. That can be hard as we get used to instant gratification. The Bible talks a lot about waiting, especially in the Psalms:
-Psalm 27:14 “Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!”
-Psalm 25:3 “Indeed, none who wait for you shall be put to shame...”
-Psalm 130:5 “I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his word I hope...”
These are just three of many references to waiting from the Psalmist, who had no choice but to wait as he was chased by his enemies, wandered in distance from God, and fought feelings of despair. Yet, in all of his waiting, a second ingredient existed: hope. In 27:14, he bookends “strong” and “courage” with “wait.” In 25:3 we’re reminded that our waiting is not in vain-- we will not “be put to shame.” In 130:5 the concept is spelled out very clearly. Our waiting is tempered by our “hope.”
We’re all waiting on something. We’re waiting on a job, marriage, success, stability, peace, physical health, healing, happiness. I would dare say some of us are even waiting on death. Waiting can be tough, but if we approach it in the right way, we can be filled with strength, courage, and hope. In other words, when we’re waiting on God to act, sometimes His action is in the waiting itself. Through waiting, He prepares us for the inevitable decision or event that’s coming our way.
We live lives that require very little waiting. In God’s will, however, there is plenty worth waiting for.