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There's Good in the Waiting?



Waiting – a frustrating, boring, anxiety-producing, basically all-around unenjoyable activity. No, that’s not the dictionary definition, but simply my description based on personal experience. I’m going to make the assumption that most of you don’t enjoy waiting either, but I’m hoping, after reading this, you might be up to joining me in the effort to have a better perspective.


I recently read a study that asked people to describe the emotions they felt while waiting in line, which is, for most of us, probably much easier than a lot of the waiting we do for the bigger and more important things in life. Nearly 70 percent expressed negative feelings of either boredom, annoyance, frustration, impatience or disrespect while waiting in lines. Only 26 percent said they didn’t mind waiting, while 75 percent admitted to leaving lines before it’s even their turn.


None of these statistics surprise me, as I know I don’t like waiting either. I do notice, however, that most of us are more patient in some situations. For example, when waiting for over an hour to get on the Star Wars ride at Disneyland, I heard no one complaining. But yesterday at the grocery store, a woman behind me at the checkout line of seven customers mumbled continuously under her breath about the ridiculous wait, which was maybe five minutes.


While I think I’m fairly patient about waiting in lines, there are certainly plenty of things I don’t feel so patient about. But in my recent reflection on Psalm 37, I noticed that verse 7 says, “Be still in the presence of the Lord, and wait patiently for him to act.”


Being still. Being patient. Those are not always my strengths. There are many verses in the Bible on waiting. (I read that there are actually 116 references!) Clearly God knows we need help with this.


I'm only sharing five passages on waiting in this writing. What do you notice in these verses? (Hint: pay attention to the words that promise what we receive when we wait on HIM)






When I read these verses, I see so much good in the idea of waiting. God promises us his blessing, strength, goodness, grace, mercy, justice, help, protection, and love when we wait on him. Why would I not want to wait all the time if this is what comes from it?


Pastor Mickey McCandless says this about waiting:


“Too often we understand waiting to mean we are wasting time or not taking charge of a situation. Biblically, waiting is an active verb indicating that “to wait” is to be aware through all the senses of what is occurring around you and discerning the right time to do the next thing.


To wait is to be open to experiencing the holy moments around you: to experience feelings emanating from another person; to hear words in a broader context; or to experience God’s presence through others.”





So when I’m waiting, I am actually being given an opportunity to experience more of God’s presence. That makes waiting feel much better.


Many companies and theme parks study and make use of “queue psychology” in an effort to retain their customers and make them more satisfied when waiting for their product or service. Here’s what one of these studies found:


• Occupied time feels shorter than unoccupied time • Anxiety makes waits seem longer • Uncertain waits are longer than known, finite waits • Unexplained waits are longer than explained waits • Unfair waits are longer than equitable waits • The more valuable the service, the longer the customer will wait • Solo waits feel longer than group waits Source: David H. Maister, "The Psychology of Waiting Lines"


These observations are why places like theme parks do things to make the lines seem more engaging and interesting, or even shorter in the way the line is shaped.


So this made me wonder what might happen if I took these bullet points and thought about them in light of God’s instruction to WAIT ON HIM, and to WAIT PATIENTLY?


Maybe then, I would:


· Occupy my time with thoughts of him, maybe thinking of who he is or a verse I’m reflecting on, or by grabbing my phone and reading a verse on a Bible app.


· Give my anxious thoughts to him in prayer.


· Trust his timing, not my own.


· Trust him even when I don’t understand what he’s doing because he knows all the details better than I do.


· Know that he is a just God, and has good plans for us.


· Remember that he blesses us when we wait on him.


· Remember that he is worth waiting for because he has what’s best in mind for us and loves us more than we even know.


· Remember that he’s always with me in the waiting. I’m never the only one in line, in the waiting, in the hard or long moment.


This will definitely take conscious effort, but I think it will be worth the blessing and peace of mind if I do.


How about you? What are you waiting for that places you in that negative space or a space that doesn’t focus on God’s presence with you and his good plans for you?


I pray that we can recall God's promises while we’re waiting and remember that he is with us and for us. Maybe then we might find at least a little more comfort in the waiting.







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