I have a major issue with waiting. I am not good at it. I think the call that a “lack of patience”, but seems like such a negative way to put the term. I prefer to think of myself as wait challenged. Truth is, some of us are more capable of waiting, we have more patience, but no one typically enjoys it.
As a culture, we are becoming more “wait-challenged”. We like things now, not later. We can update our status, let people know where we are, find out where they are, make plans, tweet, pin, post, flickr, check-in, and a host of other verbs all from the comfort of well, anywhere. We can do so many more things now that used to require so much extra time that we forget what is like wait, and the value in waiting. Twenty years ago, it was common that if you wanted to correspond with someone, your letter would arrive within the week. Now if your email takes more than ten seconds to arrive in the other persons outbox, it’s considered a long wait. Whether it is grocery lines, traffic, important news, next week’s episode of Parenthood, we don’t want to wait and we want the waiting over, because the value is in the now.
What, if there wasn’t only wisdom, but value in waiting? In my life, even when I have to wait a week, it seems so long. (Insert Greatest Generation lecture here about climbing Everest both ways to school barefoot and listening and waiting weekly on the whimsical radio show the family would gather round and listen to). I know I am part of a generation that needs to learn to see the value in waiting but we are part of a culture that devalues waiting, and our world is steering farther and farther from a world in which you have to wait for anything. What if we were created as beings that are born to wait however? What if God valued what happened in the waiting, as much as he did the resolution?
No matter how you view the opening chapter of Genesis from a history of the world perspective, Genesis 1 communicates far more than simply a science question.
The chapter progresses over 7 days in which God creates all of creation. It is beautiful and powerful and moving to read the progression from chaos to creation. What if you got a front row seat and you got to witness the whole thing? Wouldn’t it be foolish to sit there on day 3 and say, “come on already, let’s get to the good stuff, I want to see you create a rhino.” Although we may be impatient, God is patient. It’s because he wants us to see what we miss when we want an instant result. HE wants us to experience the journey. He wants us to grow into the story.
An often quoted passage from Scripture is from Jeremiah 29:11 where the prophet, speaking to a nation of people in distress, on behalf of God, says, “I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.” You want to know when God spoke those words? Right after he told his people they were going to have to live with foreign people in a foreign land for the next 70 years. He tells them they have to wait, but then reminds them he has a plan. We love the idea that God has a plan for our lives, we are uncomfortable with the idea that we have to wait for it. Why not just give it to us now?
God uses waiting to refine us. He prepares us. Like a ten-year-old quarterback with a lot of potential, God guides us and strengthens us. You would not throw the best ten-year-old into the NFL even though that may be where he wants to go. He’d be crushed, literally. You would prepare them for their future while helping them focus on the now.
God points to a future plan while he develops us in our current circumstances. Sometimes I want God to work now, to work here, to work on my plan, but what I read when I look at the story of God is that he calls me to wait, to be patient, to remember that he has a plan, that he is good, and he has got this. I feel like he calls back at me saying, “enjoy what I am doing all around you in this moment, don’t miss this, you’re going to need this later. And remember, I’ve got this all figured out.”