I’m not very good at waiting. An incredibly patient person I am not. My mom frequently reminds me that “Good things come to those who wait,” but the reminder doesn’t make me any more patient. I like quick. I like easy. I like convenient and tidy. I appreciate suspense, but not too much of it. Let’s learn the lesson and move on quickly, please. Let’s see how everything works out. Um, now.
Some things in life force us to wait: Decisions involving more than ourselves. Circumstances beyond our control. Meetings. Questions. Answers. Appointments. Tests. Diagnoses. Treatments.
I sat waiting in a too familiar doctor’s office, this time to stand beside my father-in-law who must now follow the path my mother-in-law took over the last two years. The news is only a month old in our midst. The hashtag is right, folks. Cancer sucks.
Dare we ask for another miracle? Dare we pray for this cup to pass us by? I dared. I did more than dare – I all out begged. Again.
The answers don’t come swiftly and I am reminded of the torturous months before Charolette’s uplifting news that no cancer was detected after treatments and surgery. We had sunk so low, and then we soared. Can we hope to soar again for Pop? Sometimes hope is all we have.
I bemoaned the situation Pop faces as we waited for the days to pass so we could talk to the doctor again. “I hate waiting,” I said out loud to no one. And then a verse lodged in my brain and wouldn’t come loose. “Those that wait upon the Lord will renew their strength.” How does the whole verse go? Something about wings of eagles and running and not getting tired? I mulled it over for a few days. It seemed that every time my mind started to rest it latched onto Pop. Wait upon the Lord, I’d hear in my head. Your strength will renew.
I’ll be honest, I could certainly use some renewed strength these days. I decided to look up the verse so that at least when it rolled through my head, it could roll correctly. It’s Isaiah 40:31: “They that wait upon the Lord will renew their strength. They will mount up as on wings of eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.” I must have heard that verse a hundred times growing up, but I never really thought about it. I pretty much assumed waiting was like serving, as a waiter or waitress would do. Bringing things to God, things he wants. But what does he want, and what do we bring to him? He wants us. He wants our problems and our worries and our concerns. He wants to share our joys and our successes. He wants our love and our offerings of self. When we wait on him we bring those things to him, we give them in service to him. That makes him happy. And he tips big.
But waiting on the Lord also means just that. Waiting. Pausing. We come to understand that our timeline and his are not in sync. And so, more often than not, we have to wait. A day to God might last months or even years to us. God doesn’t talk to us about tomorrow, not in the literal or figurative sense. He sometimes talks about “soon,” though, if you are a parent you know that “soon” is sometimes the most realistic answer you can give. And it does not always satisfy your children, primarily because you don’t quantify “soon.” No, God talks to us about today, because He does not want us to be consumed with future events. He wants us present in the Now. He only gives us one day at a time, and that’s all we should concern ourselves with. He wants us to wait on him. Literally. Like, pull up a bench, sit down and chill for a while. Wait upon the Lord. In his time he will answer us. In the meantime he will give us what we need. He will renew our strength so that we can wait a little longer. He will fortify us for the race so that running from one meeting to the next, from one appointment to the next, from one treatment to the next, will not tire us out. It will not zap us of our will to keep running. We will run and not grow weary. We will walk and not be faint.
In mentally hashing this out and learning to wait, I have found peace. I still catch myself worrying, but for shorter bouts of time. Now, when I become aware of the subconscious upset, I still my mind and focus on waiting. My breath slows and my jaw relaxes. I hear the words of Isaiah as if they are whispered on a wind. “Wait upon the Lord.” And instantly I know that I can wait. I can be still and know that He is God. He’s got this.