Let your mind wander to a huge, white and well-lit room, where everyone is waiting; can you see it? Some are sitting on the chairs provided. Some are standing by the window. Of course, many people are on their electronics, engrossed in their own activities. Some are pacing the floors. Some keep watching the clock. Some are sad, frustrated and droopy, exhausted by the wait. Can you see yourself there? What are you doing while you wait?
Since you are in that room, I’m assigning you a little job. I need help categorizing the people in the waiting room. We want to group them based on their attitude which must fall into one of the following: the nagging wait, the anxious wait, the shortened wait, or the graceful wait.
Please, take the receptionist’s chair and let’s begin. Get ready, a man is approaching.
“Hello.” He says to you. “I’ve been waiting for an hour; I’m already exhausted by the wait. This is my 4th time coming to the desk to ask about the wait. I don’t have time to wait all day. How far am I on the list? Can you push me up a little further? If you can’t, can I check back with you in a few minutes?”
“I’m sorry sir, I can’t change the list, but you can check back to see about the wait.” You tell him, then he leaves.
Now, in which category would you place him? He reminds me of little children asking, “Are we there yet?” every second of a journey. He’s been in the waiting room only one hour and has been to the desk four times already. Let’s place him in the nagging wait category. What do you think? Every time those in the nagging category get on their knees or every time they have a conversation with God, it’s about their requests. They keep asking God, when or how much longer? Their relationship with God is about, what He can do for them, not what He is to them, so they nag Him about the requests.
Here comes another man.
“Excuse me.” He tries to get your attention. “Listen, I have been waiting for two hours and I’m going to try somewhere else. Just cross Myles off the list.”
He walks away without giving you a chance to respond. You look down on the list and notice that He is next in line.
“Sir, you called out to him, waving your hand frantically.” Someone directs him to you, but he looks in your direction without a response. He keeps walking through the door. Placing him in a category should be easy, the shortened wait. Impatience is not a good thing. Many people are impatient and shorten their spiritual wait. God tries to get their attention through different means, in order to encourage them to be a little more patient, but they find reasons to justify their impatience. This is where we do our own thing and get into trouble.
“Hello.” Another man is at the desk.
“Hi,” you say and turn in his direction.
“Do you think, I’m going to get through in the next hour? I have some other things to do. I have to get back to the children and I can’t be here too long.”
“You are the third in line sir.” You tell him but he still has questions.
“How long will it take? Do you know if I will get out by 3:15 pm? I don’t know if I have enough time to wait. Can you tell me exactly how much longer is the wait ? Do you think I should wait? I don’t even know if I have enough money to take care of this and the bills. What do you think?
“The wait is up to you sir. I’m sorry I can’t give you an exact time.” You sympathize with him.
He’s definitely in the anxious wait category. Anxiety brings questions, doubts, and unsteadiness. People who have an attitude of anxiety, are doubtful. They continuously seek advice from others about the wait. Even though they are waiting, they are not sure if they should be waiting and they are not sure if they will get what they ask for. They look at the impossibilities more than they focus on the knowledge that the God they wait on is the maestro of impossibilities.
“Excuse me.” Another man is at your desk; they just keep coming.
“Yes sir, may I help you?” You smile, even though you’re fatigued.
“I just noticed that there are a lot of people waiting. I have been waiting a very long time myself. It does become very wearisome, but I’m sure that you are doing the best that you can to lessen the wait. Anyway, can you tell me, how are you doing with the list?
“Sure.” You scan the list, tell him that He is not too far behind. He thanks you and leaves. You watch him as he walks over to a lady and engulfs in hearty conversations and laughter. Of course, you write his name under, the graceful wait.
Waiting is hard for everyone. In the real world, we all have portrayed nagging, anxious, or graceful attitudes during times of waiting. That’s understandable when we’re waiting on people with limitations and worldly things. But, when it comes to waiting on God, the graceful wait is the right and necessary attitude. Notice that the man in that category acknowledges that the wait is difficult. He then shows gratitude, confirms that he is still in line, then keeps busy while he waits. He is not doubtful, anxious or nagging. He waits with expectancy. The spiritual wait is harder than the worldly wait. At the doctor’s office, we know that the doctor is in the back working, but we can’t see God. We don’t know what He is doing or how long it will take.
Yet, that’s the beauty about the graceful attitude; it’s an attitude of poise and confidence, even though you don’t know how things will turn out. It’s difficult to develop, but it’s not impossible. Truthfully, waiting is not a walk in the park. Abraham waited over 20 years, Joseph waited about 13 years, and Hannah lost her appetite waiting for a son. With God’s help and your determination, you can gracefully endure the wait.
To perform the graceful wait, you need strength (Thursday’s post). You also need support and sustenance (Saturday’s post). Meditate on the idea of a graceful wait until we discuss how to make it graceful. Waiting with a graceful attitude wipes away the connotation of waiting, and replaces it with expectancy. When we know a woman is pregnant, we typically say, she’s expecting. The baby will come, we know that for sure. Those who gracefully wait on God, are certain and therefore waits with expectancy. Become fertile with hope, and expect God’s provision.
Micah 7:7, “But as for me, I will watch expectantly for the LORD; I will wait for the God of my salvation My God will hear me.”