The countdown is on. Christmas is coming. Holidays are on their way!
Having my own kids now, I look back at my childhood Christmases and remember how the days seemed to drag on, more and more, the closer it got to Christmas Day.
While waiting for Christmas is not such a big deal for me now, times of waiting are certainly still part of life.
Waiting is tough
There are times when I’m happy enough to be patient, but there are other times, oh yes, there are other times, when it drives me insane!
As a simple example, waiting at a red light is normally not a big deal for me, but today, running late with someone waiting for me, each red light, every slow car, made me grit my teeth in frustration.
Then there’s the waiting that stretches out for months on end. Waiting for the new car that I bought in September. Waiting for Telstra to connect my internet earlier in the year. Waiting for my phone to be fixed.
Waiting is part of life. But is it just a necessary pain-in-the-neck, or is there something to be gained from it?
What can be gained from waiting?
At the very least, waiting helps us appreciate things that we’d otherwise take for granted. We don’t know what we have until we have to do without for a time.
More than that though, delayed satisfaction teaches me not to be so dependent on circumstances for my happiness.
In fact, I’ve discovered there is a secret joy in discontent.
Not having everything we want tends to make us agitated if we let it, but if we determine to be okay with our lack, we realise happiness doesn’t lie in what we yet don’t have.
Imagine you had everything you want right now. Everything! We would never fully appreciate any of it.
That’s because there’s something in the anticipation that increases our enjoyment of the thing we wait for. Christmas Day is made more significant when we count down the days on our Advent Calendars.
Trying to get out of waiting
“How long LORD!” is a frequent cry of the Christ-follower as we endure the trials that come against us, longing for God to step in and deliver us.
Our Father’s help often seems delayed, and with no idea of how long we must wait, we can feel the need to step in and take some foolish action ourselves to hurry things up a bit.
Yet, this doesn’t yield the results we hope for, as King Saul found out in in 1 Samuel chapter 13. In fact, God took Saul’s rule away from him because he failed to wait for the prophet Samuel as he was instructed to.
No, patience and trust are qualities that our loving Father desires us to develop through our waiting on Him.
The one thing worth waiting for
Ultimately, patience is about love.
We wait for what we love and times of waiting reveal when our affections are misplaced.
Annoyance occurs when we are kept from having the things God knows won’t satisfy us.
There is one thing we should eagerly anticipate, and that is Christ’s return. We should hold all else lightly, as strangers here on earth.
We look forward to a better place than the world we live. We shed our earthly cares as we long for heaven.
Then, just as Jacob’s seven years waiting to marry Rachel seemed like only a few days to him because of his love for her, (Genesis chapter 29 verse 20), our days of toil here on earth will have an ease about them that comes from holding onto a love for the One who makes it all worth it.
Tom likes Indian spices, French cars, British drama and Japanese gardens. He goes running nearly everyday, but early in the morning so that he doesn't miss time with his wife and two young kids. In his spare time, Tom is a Special Needs and Technology teacher.
Tom Anderson is pioneering www.haventogether.com, an online church plant supported by his in-person church, Catalyst, Ipswich. He has a young, growing family and enjoys playing backyard sport. Tom is a keen long-distance runner, averaging 21km each day last year. He has worked as a teacher for eleven years and enjoys perfecting a flat white on his home espresso machine. Tom would welcome a visit for a coffee some time… or an online catch-up via Zoom. See the Haven Together website to get in touch.