The title of my first book was "I'm Tired of Waiting." I wrote it when I was nearly thirty, weary in the wait for a child through adoption. Over thirty years later, I'm still "tired of waiting," for other things though. Like friend Kelli Worrall, I've learned to embrace its surprising payoff. Read on and see ...
When the Wait Is Worth It
By Kelli Worrall
My baby girl turned six years old last week. And as far as she was concerned, that birthday took forever to come.
She talked about it for months (yes, months). She planned and re-planned the celebration. She edited her birthday present wish list. She counted down the days on the calendar. And she regularly moaned about how long it was taking to arrive. Her almost-six-year-old agony, though, gave us ample opportunity to talk about what it means to wait.
One morning over breakfast, when she once again whined over her ever-elusive birthday, I re-told the story of how I had to wait for her.
I reminded her that her daddy and I sent our dossier to China in 2006. We were told at the time that we would receive our referral and travel to get our daughter in about eighteen months. However, our paperwork arrived in China just when thousands of other families had also sent theirs. At the same time, China tightened its restrictions on international adoption, creating a logjam of waiting families. And thus, our eighteen-month wait for Amelia turned into a very long six years.
So, I feel my daughter's pain, I told her. I didn't always wait well either.
I think most of us hate to wait, don't we? In our fast-paced society, we like things in a hurry, and in many cases our desires and longings can be met almost as we quickly as we come up with them. With our internet shopping and our microwave meals, we have become quite comfortable in our instant gratification, and now we expect it.
We have our own twenty-first-century sense of timing ... which is not always God's.
And therein lies the rub.
We do sometimes have to wait for the things that matter most - for the next life event, for an answer to prayer, for the end to a particular pain.
But waiting is not just a theme of my life and yours. It is also a prevalent motif in the Word of God. Abraham waited twenty-five years for God to give him the promised son. Joseph waited twenty-two years for his dreams to come true. The Old Testament is full of men and women who - in one way or another - had to wait.
Yet one of my favorite waiting stories is in the New Testament - John chapter 11 - where Mary and Martha waited for Jesus to come and heal their brother Lazarus. Their wait wasn't long actually - a mere four days. But what made it so significant is that it was literally a matter of life and death. And while Jesus delays, Lazarus dies.
When Jesus finally does arrive, Mary and Martha both express their disappointment that he hadn't come sooner. They had a clear idea of what answered prayer should look like. They weighed that vision up against the reality of their brother's death, and they concluded that Jesus made a mistake. He missed his chance to act.
But, of course, Jesus knew exactly what he was doing. He explained himself to the disciples. In order to reveal the greater glory of God and thereby lead the people to belief, Lazarus had to die, so Jesus could raise him from the dead.
Are you waiting on God right now? Are you longing for Jesus to act and wondering why he delays? May we find hope in the story of Mary and Martha. May we keep our eyes wide open for the glory of God. And may the display of his power bring us to an even bigger belief.
Kelli Worrall's new book is Pierced and Embraced: 7 Life-Changing Encounters with the Love of Christ. On these pages she digs deep into the dynamic love that Jesus demonstrates to women in the gospels and to us today. She is Professor of Communication at Moody Bible Institute, Chicago. Connect with Kelli at her blog: This Odd House, where she writes more about the journey to live in the light of Jesus' love.