During the Christmas season we remember the world waited a long time for the coming of Christ.
Now we are still “waiting for the revealing of the Lord Jesus Christ,” as Paul wrote in I Corinthians 1:7. We are still waiting for God to do many things. We wish God would hurry up!
That prince of preachers, Phillips Brooks, was pacing back and forth one day in a terrible fit of agitation. A friend asked him what was wrong.
“I’m in a hurry,” he replied. “But God is not.”
Perhaps what bothers us most about waiting is the feeling of being out of control. Our fingers are pried loose from the reins of life. Many of us like to be in control all the time and we have no patience with the interruptions of life. Maybe that’s why children are more patient sometimes than adults. They aren’t always worried about controlling everything.
Newspaper columnist Don Edwards writes of a little fellow standing at the bottom of a department store escalator. Intently looking at the handrail, the small boy would not take his eyes away.
A salesperson asked, “Are you lost?”
“Nope,” came the reply, “I’m waiting for my chewing gum to come back.”
Our lack of patience isn’t just a small thing. It can shorten life for the impatient and all those around. I think the problem has gotten worse in our fast-paced generation.
“When my father missed a plane,” says Cavett Robert, the founder of the National Speakers Association, ”he caught another one. When my grandfather missed a train, he caught one the next day. Their world did not come to an end. There were other trains and other planes. Today, we miss one section of a revolving door and our entire day is shot.”
One sharp wit said, “I need to take a lesson in patience. Do you know where I can take a crash course?”
It takes faith to be able to wait. We become anxious when we wait because we are not in control. Faith can give us patience precisely because we know that God is in control. Not that God controls everything that happens but God takes what happens and weaves it into his divine plan. God’s will is going to eventually triumph.
As we wait for God, some great things happen. The writer of the book of Psalms reminds us of some of these things. “Wait for the Lord, be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart … (Psalm 27:14) “… those that wait upon the Lord…shall inherit the earth.” (Psalm 37:9) And who can forget the words of the prophet Isaiah: “They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength …” (Isaiah 40:31)
Prayer: Our Lord, help us to watch and wait and work in faith. Amen.
The Rev. Dan Safarik retired as a full-time pastor at St. Luke United Methodist Church in Lincoln and now serves part time at St. Mark’s UMC in Lincoln. Email him at email@example.com
The Rev. Dan Safarik serves St. Luke United Methodist Church in Lincoln. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org