Hurry Up and Wait

The saying goes that “good things come to those who wait”. I remember a time in the Navy when that saying was replaced with “hurry up and wait.” Going to the Exchange? Hurry up. Then wait. Seeing a doc at the base clinic? Hurry up. Be on time for your appointment. Then wait. The deployment is almost over; hurry up! Then wait.

There are many times in everyone’s life when hurry up and wait comes in to play: college applications are due by a certain date. HURRY UP and fill them out! Then wait to see if you got in. Cancer tests are scheduled for this day; hurry up! Then wait for weeks for the results. Babies come when they want to. Pre-labor beings! Hurry up! Then wait.

Waiting is hard. Waiting is wearisome. Waiting slap tires you OUT.

The people of Israel were promised a Messiah. The messiah would come to rule his kingdom on earth. He would take away their sins and would save them. Under his reign, justice would flow like the waters, and there would be peace on earth. But they were beginning to get tired of waiting:

Isaiah 40 (NIV)

28 Have you not known? Have you not heard?

The Lord is the everlasting God,

    the Creator of the ends of the earth.

He does not faint or grow weary;

    his understanding is unsearchable.

29 He gives power to the faint,

    and strengthens the powerless.

30 Even youths will faint and be weary,

    and the young will fall exhausted;

31 but those who wait for 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.

And so Israel hurried up. And waited. Centuries passed from the time of Isaiah to the advent of Jesus Christ. And then they had waited so long, many didn’t recognize him as the messiah. But some did. Perhaps they were the ones who waited with open anticipation. As you wait, are you open to receiving God’s answer in a completely different way than you are expecting? Jesus was not what was expected, but good things came to those who waited for him.

Those who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength. Why? Because God does not faint or grow weary. God gives power to the faint. He strengthens the powerless. But you….you will mount up with wings like eagles if you choose to wait for the Lord.

The challenge is to spend your time in the “waiting room” wisely. What else can you be doing while you wait? Can you be immersed in the word? Shoring up failing relationships? Actively spreading hope to others who are also waiting? Witnessing to God’s presence in the waiting room? Waiting rooms can be places that bear just as much fruit as delivery rooms if we keep our eyes open while we wait.

I am in hurry-up-and-wait-mode as I write this. A grandchild is coming, and he is coming at his own pace. While we wait upon the Lord to deliver, we gain strength in knowing that God never grows weary. And so we take this time in our waiting room to grow in our love of God, of family, of faith, and in confidence that in every hurry-up and every slow-down moment, God is with us.

And I just can’t wait to see what he does.

Photo by Michelle Robertson.

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