NovelSisters

watching, reading, and writing stories

Waiting

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This morning I was in a Doctor’s Office Waiting Room and it reminded me of what I’ve been reading in the book of Job. You see Job was in the tough spot of waiting on God for answers. There was a little diagram in my Bible that mentioned several other people in the Bible who had to wait for something. It seems like one of God’s favorite tools to help us grow and mature is making us wait for something. I usually think of myself as a pretty patient person, but to me waiting is usually nothing more than sitting in a doctor’s office for 30 minutes or sitting in traffic for an hour to get home from work or school.

There have been occasions where I had to wait longer, maybe months, or maybe years for something and I think that’s when it gets really hard to be patient or content. I’m sure several people in the Bible felt the same way about having to wait whether it was for a child, a promise from God, or all kinds of other things. Some of them never even got to see what they were hoping for, because it wasn’t fulfilled until future generations came along, but still they waited and trusted God to keep His promises.

In this day and age waiting can be seen as a negative thing. We want everything at the touch of a button. Even Amazon has started a new delivery service that gets you your product shipped to you within hours. But waiting isn’t all bad; in fact it has some benefits that we often overlook. When I think about it, having to wait for something often increases the value of the thing I am waiting for. For example, say a movie comes out that I’ve known about and wanted to see for years. I’d be really excited to go see it because I’ve had to wait for it for so long. But say I just hear about a movie the week it comes out. I may want to see it, but I wouldn’t be as excited. Another example comes from when I was a kid. Waiting for Christmas to arrive was really hard, but when I finally got to open all those presents under the tree on Christmas morning, it made for a very special and memorable occasion.

Another benefit of waiting comes more specifically when we are waiting on God. When we get what we want from God, or what He has promised us right away, there is some good that comes from it. We usually praise God and it feels great. But when we don’t get the answer, or the thing we’re waiting for, it forces us to trust God even when we don’t get what we want, or don’t see His goodness. It helps us to practice trusting Him, and not just what He gives us. Faith can be defined as being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. God wants us to have faith in Him even if we do not see. He doesn’t want us to just say He is God and we trust Him, he wants us to live it. And He gives us plenty of chances to practice living our faith when we are stuck waiting. And although it isn’t fun, it is effective. Our faith grows and is strengthened by the obstacle of waiting.

So maybe this week you’re stuck waiting for something, try to remember that waiting can be a good thing and ask God to strengthen your faith while you are waiting.

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Lessons from Haiti: The Hidden Joy in Waiting

In case this is new for you, I am currently posting a series of blogs that detail my recent trip to Haiti and the lessons I learned from going there.

Haiti bus

Day 2: The Hidden Joy in Waiting

Building on the lesson I learned from traveling on the previous day, I awoke Saturday morning prepared to meet every obstacle with prayer. I was also bubbling with excitement that today we would finally make it to our destination. We arrived at the Florida airport without a problem, then found our way to an empty check-in station. We discovered that we couldn’t check in till the plane from Haiti landed, since the people who were on the plane, were the same ones who would check us in. This began one time of waiting, which would be repeated throughout the day, and in actuality, throughout the trip.

However, during this time of waiting, or delay, I was pleasantly surprised to find a source of joy. You see, in the present day culture of America, there is a lot of emphasis on instant gratification. Google, texts, YouTube, Hulu; they all let you get what you want now. Whether it’s the answer to a question, or a missed episode of a TV series, there is not a lot of value in waiting. But waiting in the airport, I found how nice it is to not be in constant motion. On this trip I purposefully left my cell phone at home, so I could engage with what was going on in the moment. And during this time of waiting, things began to happen.

Other passengers, also taking plane to Haiti, were gathering in the airport, and we began to strike up a conversation about why they were going to Haiti. We found out one family was hoping to adopt a child from the country and that they were going to visit the orphanage where the child lived. And we were also able to share with them about our purpose in going; setting up a radio station for the area, and running a soccer camp. We even prayed together, even though we had just met these people. It was a beautiful moment.

Once the plane landed, we began to move again, proceeding from check-in, through security. However, God wasn’t done with our time of waiting. He soon provided another opportunity to be still. You see, we were planning on taking this huge 80 pound box with us to Haiti. It had equipment for the radio station we were setting up. However, the airline wouldn’t allow such a heavy, and cumbersome box aboard. So a few team members stayed behind, in the check in area, to wait for a friend in Florida to pick up the box. The rest of us proceeded through security and to a Burger King for a hurried lunch.

Then, it happened; a security threat. There was a suspicious bag left at the check in area, and all of the people there, including our team members who had stayed behind, were forced to evacuate. Now our team was separated, and our flight was supposed to leave in 15 minutes! Remembering what I had learned yesterday, we all stopped to pray that God would take care of us, and bring our team together again.

We went to the gate for our plane, and were quite relieved to hear that our plane would not be taking off without our other team members. In fact, the people from Haiti who were running the check in were also stuck with everyone else who had been evacuated. So  we had another large chunk of time to just sit and wait. It was another delay. But also another opportunity. And so we began to share testimonies in our group. We shared stories of how we had started following Jesus and gotten to the point that we were now at in our lives. It was a real time of team bonding. And part way through, the few team members who we had left at check-in, appeared! God had provided a way through the airport, even with all the security block offs.

Eventually we were able to board the plane, and fly to Haiti. I had been to Haiti before, so the 3rd world country was not surprising to me. The biggest lesson I had learned that day was: God can turn times of delay and waiting into times of joy as community and relationships grow.

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Waiting

Have you ever had trouble waiting? I know I have. I have to admit there’s been a few times where I skipped to the last page of a book I was reading just to get a glimpse of how everything would turn out. Or if a movie I really wanted to see was coming out soon, I’d watch the previews over and over trying to see if there was any new bit of the storyline given away in the 90 second commercial.

It’s hard to wait, to go through all the hard stuff, not knowing what will come of it. It’s even harder in real life when there’s no way to skip ahead and read a few pages of the last chapter. I wonder why it is that we want to know the future. Why is it so hard to wait? Even waiting for an author to finish their next book in a series is excruciatingly difficult. I know my sister can’t wait for the next Heroes of Olympus book to come out, and I’m looking forward to Jeff Shaara’s new book too.

And yet, there’s always a time of waiting. Even in my own life there are times when all I seem to be doing is waiting. I feel like there is something coming, something around the corner, but I don’t know what it is, and all I can do it wait and see what happens. Well… not exactly. Actually, I’ve realized that there is a danger in focusing too much on the outcome, the future, the ending. It kind of ruins a book to know how it ends before you get there. And I can’t tell you have many movies were ruined for me because some friend had to tell me about the plot before I saw the film. There is something good about not knowing, and instead enjoying the moments I’m living right now.

Waiting is a hard thing to do, and I haven’t mastered it yet, but knowing there’s someone in control does make it easier. Just like an author of a novel is connecting characters and forming situations all directed towards a final outcome, I know that God is directing my life. And even though I don’t know exactly what my future holds or how it will all work out, I know it will. And that is comforting. It’s kind of like when I was watching the new Star Trek movie this weekend. There was a scene where Captain Kirk was dying from radiation, and during the whole death scene and even afterwards, I had this calming thought running through my mind that the main character can’t die so everything would somehow turn out alright. And it did, the crew found a way to save him, and the story ended happily. Just like I know my life will end up alright, even if I can’t see the future.

Where does it end?

You can only see one piece of the path at a time

So what do you think?

Do you have trouble waiting for things or not knowing where you’re heading?

How do you get through it?

I’d love to hear from you, feel free to leave a comment.

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