“Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the Lord.”Psalms 27:14 KJV
Standing in front of a few kids with masks covering their mouths and noses, I scan the small crowd of raised hands. I even hear a few yell “Me!” or “I want to go next!” into the air. Eager eyes stare back at me, waiting and hoping for their name to be called. I finally point to one child and then hear the collective disappointed sighs and groans.
“Why can’t I go?” one demands, arms folded, and the mask pulled down to reveal a stubborn pout.
I blink. “You already had a turn; I’ll let her go first and come back to you if there’s time,” I explain, frowning.
She huffs, turns her body away from me, and stares forlornly at the carpeted floor.
Baffled, I just continue on with the class while wondering: why are they so impatient?
This was one of many instances in which kids reacted to waiting—they didn’t feel they should have to. They were quick to say what they wanted when they wanted it, and their go-to reaction if they didn’t get it: pout. Seriously, they would frown, their eyebrows would knit downward, they’d cross their arms, and release a huff of air. All day, Monday through Friday, without fail I would encounter at least one child aggravated because he or she didn’t have his or her way. I had never seen impatience manifested so clearly and boldly before. I even had to give a lecture that if something doesn’t go their way, it doesn’t give them the right to hit others, yell, or destroy property; they’d need to deal with it another way.
But one day, the thought hit me: you’ve reacted in a similar way before…It’s easy to just say ‘wait,’ but it’s another thing to have to, especially depending on how long it’s been. I have heard a person admit that she prayed ten years for a husband, and she’s been married to him for a long time–and is still with him to this day. Some people spend eight to ten years post high school graduation to become medical doctors, and they end up in their desired profession. Likewise, it can take years for a business to get off the ground. To wait that long takes patience, but there’s a right way and wrong way to wait. You could wait as the kids did—complaining, griping, and getting upset about having to—or you can actively wait. In the instance of waiting for a spouse, one could work on his or herself by focusing on personal, spiritual, and financial growth and/or enjoying the single season. An individual can figure out what can be done in that waiting season and try to do it.
Honestly, patience has been a test for me. There’s so much waiting that I simply don’t understand. When waiting, it becomes easy to get discouraged. For example, trying to attain the goal of publishing a book. During the process of getting my second book published, I have had to wait sometimes because of circumstances not in my control, and I have wondered if I should take the delays as signs to stop or keep trying. Have these thoughts ever crossed your mind: if it hadn’t happened by now, it’s just not going to happen; I should give up if it’s taking this long; or maybe the delay is just a denial and it’s time for me to move on?
I get it. It’s easy to be discouraged when you seem so far from the blessing. Sometimes you may question whether the delay is really supposed to be a denial since it hasn’t happened yet. But that’s the importance of courage, faith, and hope; that ‘yet’ indicates that it’s going to happen eventually. Looking to God and not at the circumstances makes a difference. If you focus on what you see, you can surely become convinced that things won’t work out, but when you look to God, His word, and His promises, you become assured that He will make a way. He will sustain you. He will bring whatever it is to pass.
So, I realized that I had to wait in a different way: stop complaining or worrying about the situation, but be thankful, pray for strength, and believe that God will work it out. No, it’s not going to be easy. I mean, the woman that’s waited twenty-four years for love and still keeps getting disappointed may worry that it won’t happen for her. The man believing it was meant for him to start his business but kept getting flops might think it’s not meant for him although he was sure it was his calling. The young adult wanting to become a famous singer may think it’s not meant for her since each big break may have fallen through. Discouragement may come, but you have to combat it with what you know and continue to wait with expectancy.
The following poem further reiterates that waiting is not always easy but it will be worth it. If you’re in the middle of waiting for what you prayed for or working toward what you desire, I encourage you to keep going until it happens.
Worth the Wait
They say patience is a virtue,
But it’s tough having to wait when you really don’t want to.
Like waiting for love but being bogged down by feeling like not enough
And consequently encountering guys that just aren’t the one.
It’s hard getting one’s hopes up just to watch reality knock them down.
End the day with a frown and the realization that her status is still the same:
A lady still not even a factor in the dating game.
Once again, she’s challenged to wait.
But how do you wait and not get discouraged?
How do you know for sure that the expectation will come to fruition
And your waiting is not a cruel sentence?
How do you keep the faith and not abort the mission?
To actively wait by working on one’s spiritual, personal, and financial goals:
Change your focus from the current reality and anticipate what’s to come.
Be patient and do what you can.
Do not try to rush and deviate from God’s plan.
Even in that time of waiting, confusion has clouded my own mind,
Questions have surfaced,
I have even questioned my purpose at countless moments.
Am I doing what I should or is there more that I could do?
Delay after delay. Day after day. Believing this is the time, but then the red sign…
Guess it’s not my time yet.
Am I on the right track? What’s the lesson?
What can I do different?
I wish I had the right answers for all these concerns.
I wish I could explain why some things just go wrong.
I wish I could tell you that your expectations will happen soon,
But it’s not in my nature to lie to you.
God’s timing is not like ours.
As all-knowing, all-powerful, and ever-present, He knows what’s best.
And, sure, I may not understand why things are the way they are now, but
I am assured that it’ll work out the way it’s meant to.
So, I can say that I’ve been there before—that I’m there now.
So many concerns but left with no choice but to wait it out.
It’s not easy. Sometimes it hurts.
I can only advise you to not give up.
It’s all I can think to do.
God’s brought us this far, why not keep going until something happens—a change enacts?
We’ve invested too much time, energy, and effort to turn back.
And for that, we should finish what we’ve started.
It’s been said that “things worth having are worth waiting for.”
Sometimes you just have to wait despite how long it takes.
It’d be better to do that than to make an irrevocable mistake.
Remember that ‘not yet’ does not mean ‘never.’
Hopefully, you’re assured that all the waiting will be worth it.
Joy and peace will replace the feelings of defeat and grief.
I believe that my waiting won’t be in vain,
And I hope that you, too, will believe the same.