I am impatient. Sometimes I’m demanding, a person with expectations too high, especially for myself. A high school teacher and mentor once compared me to a duck, calm on the surface but paddling frantically under the surface.
Who doesn’t find waiting tedious? Waiting in the long line at Starbucks for my coffee order. Waiting for fingernail polish to dry. Waiting for cold, wintery days to turn warm again. Waiting to hear test results from the doctor’s office. Waiting through an engagement for the wedding day. Waiting nine long months for a baby.
Waiting is hard. It demands patience. It forces rest.
My impatience flared three years ago when I became too exhausted to return to my full-time teaching job. Disappointed, I landed in unfamiliar territory. “How long until I feel like participating in life again?” I asked my doctor.
She smiled and said, “How long did it take you to get like this? Then it will take about that long.”
She was right. I had been sinking in quicksand, feeling exhausted for a few years. A long nap wouldn’t be enough to pull me out. So, I began the journey of waiting, sometimes despairing that I’d ever feel well enough to do more than daily necessities: get up, brush teeth, eat.
During that first year, the words of John 15 came to me over and over: “I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing” (John 15:5 NASB). I would discover that true rest–soul rest–comes from abiding in Jesus. Nineteenth century preacher Andrew Murray explains in his book Abide in Christ, “There was a depth of meaning you cannot yet realize in His words: ‘Abide IN ME.'”
The John 15 grapevine is the picture of waiting. What else can a branch do but stay connected to the vine? From that position in the vine, the branch receives all that it needs to grow and flourish.
Abiding requires a certain amount of waiting. And while we wait, we give up our ideas about how life should go. Abiding cultivates humility, as I give up pride, self-reliance, and self-promotion. Abiding requires listening. So, I am learning to wait on God.
Well-meaning people ask me, “What are you doing these days?”
I give the only answer that I have right now. “I’m waiting on God.”
I have enjoyed this song by the Passion band, featuring Christy Nockels, “Waiting Here for You.”