We live in a Veruca Salt world, don’t we? You know, Veruca—the quintessential spoiled little girl from Roald Dahl’s classic, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory? If you’re like me, you know Veruca best from the movie adaptation starring Gene Wilder. Even now I can picture her singing at the top of her lungs about everything she wants, a goose that lays golden eggs being at the top of that list. And when does she want it? “Noooooooowwwwww!,” she exclaims as she falls down the “bad egg” shoot. Maybe we don’t have a list of wants as long as Veruca’s, but I so identify with her sentiment of wanting things now. Waiting is hard. And we live in a world that reinforces this. With the push of a couple buttons, we can essentially have everything we need delivered to us “lickity split,” as my sweet mother would say. Amazon browsing is dangerous at 2:00 in the morning, am I right?! Fast food. Instacart. Prime Delivery. And the list goes on. Everything is fast paced and time oriented.
So, no wonder it’s uncomfortable, at the very least, when we find ourselves in a moment or a season of waiting. As I write this, I am certain that each of us have experienced or are experiencing the challenge, the difficulty, the painfulness of waiting. Waiting for that special someone to come into your life. Waiting for your home to one day be filled with the cries of a baby of your own. Waiting for a loved one to receive the saving grace and love of Jesus Christ. Waiting for healing for yourself or someone you love. We could add to this list all day. None of us are strangers to waiting. I find it so interesting (and at times frustrating) when Scripture reminds us that patience is an essential part of the fruit of the Spirit. I tend to like the translations that use longsuffering instead, mostly because it feels like there is an element of suffering in seasons of waiting, right? I do find it comforting however, to note that I am not called, nor am I able, to be patient apart from the Spirit since the Fruits are a by-product of His presence in my life.
So, if you find yourself today in a season of waiting, I want to first offer you a virtual hug. My sister or brother, the first thing you need to hear is that you are not alone, though I know firsthand the loneliness that can seem unbearable in waiting seasons. It is so easy to isolate yourself when you look around and it seems everyone else has that for which you are so desperately longing. I would encourage you to fight that urge to isolate. Instead, lean further into opportunities for community—that might be through church, reaching out to friends you haven’t talked to in a while, or even joining a gym. Be intentionally relational, even though it probably feels unnatural in this season. Next, I would encourage you to live with ten toes on the ground. Meaning, be present. In waiting seasons, we tend to be so ready for a future moment, that we miss the one we are in. Practicing mindfulness is a great tool for this. Finally, there is a prayer the Lord has taught me to pray in waiting seasons— “Lord, help me to steward this season well.” By this, I mean that this season, though painful, has purpose. We can wish it away, or we can lean into it. As we lean into it and attempt to steward it well, we ask God to use this waiting season to teach us, use us, mold us, refine us—in essence we ask Him to not waste our pain. How much easier it is to go through a waiting season when we know that God is faithful to not waste an ounce of it.
My friend, your waiting is not in vain, nor are your prayers, nor is your pain. You are not alone or forgotten. Lean into community and relationships. Keep your feet firmly planted in the present, even as you continue to wait and pray. And Lord, would you show us how to steward seasons of waiting well?
…but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary; they will walk and not be faint.Isaiah 40:31