Waiting and Wondering

“Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD.” – Psalms 27:14

I’ve been thinking a lot about waiting lately. It’s not something our culture likes to do. Fast food franchises thrive because we hate to wait. We’ve gotten used to information about everything–from home remedies to migraines to the 22nd President of the U.S.–being at our fingertips online (although the credibility of that information is another matter). We are a culture of multi-taskers, a culture of doers. I keep a book in my purse at all times in case I end up waiting somewhere — because waiting is just wasted time, right?

For the past several months, I’ve been discerning whether I should move. It began with dreams about moving, then grew with my frustration over ever-increasing rent. Follow that up with the fact that my older sister is expanding her business and has offered to hire me and the fact that I could move into her apartment when she moves out to get married this fall, and the decision about whether to move reached obsessional proportions.

I spent a week in my hometown, partly to help my sister with a few gigs (she owns a pony ring and petting zoo), and partly to discern whether it felt “right” to return there. As I led my pony around in circles all afternoon, there was a voice as clear as a bell inside me. It said: “Wait. You’re going to come back here, but not the way you think. Just wait.”

I relaxed. I’d been telling myself that I had to make a decision by August 1 in order to put in my 60 days notice in time to get my sister’s apartment, but suddenly, I no longer felt the need to get worked up about it. If August 1 came and went without my having made a decision, so be it. There would always be another apartment, another opportunity.

I was prepared to wait weeks, months, even, for the right path to come clear. It came to me three days later, when my step-grandmother announced she was moving into assisted living and wanted to know if anyone was interested in moving in to her house. I said yes before I even had the chance to think about it. Only after saying yes did it sink in: that I’ve always wanted to live in the country again, but thought I’d never have the money to buy land, let alone put a house on it. Only after I said yes did I realize I’d been handed the keys to a dream, that my musings of “someday” had turned into “this fall.”

I felt as though God had offered me a tremendous gift. I thanked myself for waiting. I thanked God, too.

Tonight, I looked up passages about waiting in the Bible and found dozens of them. I could have saved myself a lot of stress if I would have allowed myself to wait from the very beginning, and I try to hold tight to this experience so that I will remember it the next time I feel the pressure of thinking something must be done right now. If anything is really that urgent, I better get on the phone to 911. For everything else, the urgency is mostly in our minds.

This isn’t the first time I’ve felt that God has come through “at the last minute,” but it did serve as a good reminder. And I know it’s easy to see God when things are going well, but much, much harder to wait on the Lord when they’re not. But some of the hardest things I’ve lived through, I survived only by waiting — waiting for the tears to stop, waiting for time to pass, waiting for the wounds to heal. And even then, I felt God’s presence in the waiting, guiding me to a better place, to a stronger me. It’s much harder to find God in the whirlwind of the constant doing.

My whole perspective on life might change if I used all the waiting for opportunities to connect with God: waiting for my computer to boot up, waiting at a red light, waiting in line at the grocery store. Maybe I’ll even stop carrying a book in my purse.