The Good Thing About Waiting

April 15, 2022


How fast-track cultures always undervalue the joy of anticipation


Patience is that quality you admire in the driver behind you, but can’t stand in the driver in front of you.

Back when they used to throw rice at weddings, a young guy dated a girl for years. She dropped subtle hints and dreamed he would say, “I do.” She dragged him to friends’ weddings. Showed him engagement rings. Each time he got down to tie his shoe, she said, “Yes! What took you so long?”

One night Mr. Oblivious took her to a Chinese restaurant, looked over the menu, and asked, “So… how do you want your rice? Plain or fried?”

She said, “I prefer it thrown.”

Maybe your patience too is wearing thin. It seems like a lost art. We live in a fast food, fast-track world. A hundred years ago, if you wanted to visit the next town, you climbed on your donkey and got there Thursday. Today, you climb in a jet and you’re in Swaziland after a nap and three movies.

And then we’re forced to wait. For that job to land, that house to sell, that mechanic to hurry up, that grown child to smarten up. And we wonder, how in the world can anything good come from this?

But think for a moment of the truly great events of your life. Graduation. Saying “I do.” Holding your baby. Successful potty training. The best things in life are things waited for. Fast track cultures always undervalue the joy of anticipation. Those nine months before the baby arrives. The 364 shopping days before Christmas.

I’ve been impatient lately. I badly need to remember three things: First, pray like crazy. Second, trust that God knows what he’s up to even when we don’t. And third, celebrate that I’m in good company.

Picture Moses in exile. The Israelites in the wilderness. Abraham and Sarah childless. Joseph imprisoned. Anyone who has significantly impacted the world has spent time in the dark wondering what in the world God is up to and why it’s taking so long.

God promises that

“those who wait on 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” (Isaiah 40:31).

Lessons learned in waiting won’t be learned otherwise.

And remember, everything good comes to those who wait. Except books loaned to friends.

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