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Monday, December 28, 2015

Don't place me on hold again!

Okay, going to meddle a little bit today - just warning you! How many of us are "quiet waiters"?  There are a few of us who will answer that one positively, but many of us will admit to being anything less than quiet.  In fact, we have been known to complain because the wait is too long; or give up to do something totally different just because we weren't about to wait for however long was "too long".  Admit it - - - you might just be one of those "not so quiet waiters" in life!  Now, what does that have to do with how we deal with life?  It is what we do with those "wait times" which often make the biggest difference in our lives - we just may not realize it at the time!

My soul quietly waits for the True God alone; my salvation comes from Him.  He alone is my rock and my deliverance, my citadel high on the hill; I will not be shaken. (Psalm 62:1-2 VOICE)

You realize that nothing is beyond God's ability to do, right? That means every time there is a waiting period of any sort, there is something to be learned or appreciated in the wait. Think for a moment about the process of a life entering into this world.  At the moment of conception, God could have made it so that baby magically appeared 3 weeks later, but instead, he created life to come forth 40 weeks after conception.  What happens in the time between conception and that infant's delivery into this world is amazing, and really, not to be replicated by any human hand.  As a baby develops, the processes which will help to support life outside the womb are developing, as well.  A baby born too soon will face many a struggle to survive.  In fact, if the baby is born before the mid-point of development, we say it is "non-viable" (it doesn't have what it takes to survive).

If an infant comes into this world after the 20 week mark, a great deal of effort will have to be put into having that infant survive outside of the womb.  It has developed to the point it "might" survive with all the right care and intense treatments from medical personnel dedicated to creating an environment where it can continue to develop, but nothing compares to the womb.  The parents go through extreme agony watching, waiting, and often wondering about their baby's chances to survive.  The doctors and nurses work furiously to give the tiny infant a "fighting chance".  The siblings may go months without ever meeting their new brother or sister - because exposure to their germs may be too great a risk for the premature infant.  Even the time between delivery and the day they finally take the baby home is a period of waiting.

Why does God create so many things in our lives through the process of waiting?  I think it might be something we observe in the process of a baby being brought into this world.  In the time between conception and birth, a great deal is happening, but the most "telling" thing which happens in the waiting time is that of development.  Waiting is often the process God uses to develop something in us which is not quite to the point of "full-development", isn't it?  Sure, we might do okay with the "arrested-development" of "pre-term" delivery of whatever it is was he might have been working on, but will we thrive?  Or will it take a whole lot of work and agony to get us past that "early delivery"?  I wonder how many times I have "arrested" the development process in my own life because I have been too stubborn, or too disinterested in the waiting process?

If you examine the thesaurus to find the synonyms for the word "wait", you will find terms such as "downtime", "interval", "hold", and even "halt".  One term which surprised me a little was when I saw the meaning of "wait" equals "wasted time".  I think we may view waiting as just that on occasion --- time spent, but "wasted" because we don't see the value in the wait.  Waiting isn't downtime - not really.  Even when you are waiting from the beginning of something to the point you might take the next step forward with the project, there could be this little space of time.  It is there for a reason. Maybe it is to give the "time" for the next step to be exactly right, such as when we give glue time to dry before we move on with the next step of a project.  So, downtime in this instance is necessary in order to take the next step.  It is quite possible some of the perceived "downtime" in our lives is simply God getting us ready for the next step!

When things seem to be "on hold" in our lives, we don't usually resist too much, until that "hold time" seems to exceed what we are willing to wait.  My office phone has one of those timers on it, letting you know at a glance just how much time you have "wasted" waiting "on hold" to be the next caller in the long line of callers!  I am not sure who invented that little timer on the phone, but it can be quite disconcerting to watch - knowing the minutes are ticking by and no one seems to care about the person who has been "on hold" for all those minutes!  To focus on the clock when the "hold time" seems to be taking forever is to just add frustration to the mix!  Instead of watching the timer, maybe we need to focus on whatever it is we can do in the interval! I try to use my "on hold" time to do something I may not have taken time to do in a while.  It may be something practical, such as filing papers, sorting messages, or just cleaning out my inbox.  Instead of focusing on the time I am "on hold", I redeem it!

Waiting is best appreciated when we don't do it alone!  If we look carefully at what our writer says to us  today, we will see this advice woven into those words!  He runs to God - so he won't face the wait alone.  Maybe we might just take a lesson here.  The wait time may not change significantly, but the things we learn to appreciate in the time between here and there may be made all the richer because of who it is we are spending the wait time with!  Just sayin!