By Julie Reed
“I wait for the Lord, my soul awaits, and in his word I put my hope. My soul waits for the Lord more than watchmen wait for the morning. Blessed are those who wait for him.” (Psalm 130:5-6; Isaiah 30:18)
I have co-workers and friends who are always asking me about different things going on in my life.
What’s going on with the foreclosure? Any word yet? “I’m still waiting to hear from the courts.”
How’s the house hunting going? “I’m still waiting for the right one.”
How’s the insurance claim going? “I’m still waiting on the adjustor to call me back.”
How are the kids feeling? “I’m still waiting for the antibiotics to kick in.”
How are you celebrating Thanksgiving this year? “I’m still waiting to hear if my parents will make it down or not.”
Any word on your sister-in-law’s surgery yet? “We’re still waiting to hear from the doctors.”
It seems like I’m constantly waiting for things to start happening or for the right timing of other situations. We joke about it all the time at work. My dear and trusted friends have dubbed me the “Lady-in-Waiting.”
Most of us don’t like waiting though. We don’t like waiting in the long lines at the grocery store. We don’t like waiting in traffic. We don’t like waiting at the doctor’s office. We don’t like waiting for test results. We don’t like waiting to hear if someone has safely arrived. We don’t like waiting when a child is arriving home way past their curfew.
Waiting just plain stinks.
As a widow, it stinks even more. I really hate waiting for a table at a restaurant by myself. (If I’m even brave enough to venture out on my own to begin with).
I hate waiting in the pew at church, wondering if anyone will stop and say “hello” or offer to sit next to me.
I hate waiting to hear from the doctor, especially with no one here to help calm my wandering fears and anxiety.
I hate waiting and wondering if God will send someone into my life to share the next 40-50 years with me.
I looked up the word waiting in the dictionary, just out of curiosity. Waiting is defined as to stay, to linger, to tarry, or abide.
It seems to me that I do those things a lot. I tend to linger, to tarry in the past. Wishing my husband was here to hold my hand. Waiting for him to come through the door and give me my daily bear hug and kiss. Lingering in the walk-in closet, caressing his leather jacket as if it will make him appear before me.
The last part of the definition really hit me though. To abide. That has a completely different appeal to me. To abide; it means to dwell with, to reside near, to stay. That’s what God wants me to do in these long, lonely days of widowhood. He hastens me to come and dwell with him…tuck in under His wings and just rest. Snuggle in tightly and closely so the only sound I hear is the rhythm of his breath and heartbeat.
Waiting. Although at times it’s not fun or pleasant, it has much peace and power. I’ve learned three things that we can do while we are “ladies-in-waiting.”
First, love God. “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your strength.” Deut. 6:1
No matter what we are waiting for, we can always love God. The sad part is that God is always waiting for us to love him back. We’re the ones who continue to linger and tarry, dragging our feet through the past or trying to carve out a path in the future before its even time, instead of residing in His promises. He’s always ready and waiting for us to love him. That’s a simple request that we can easily fulfill while we wait.
Second, serve others. “Serve one another in love.” Gal. 5:13
So much time is wasted while we are waiting and worrying about things or situations that are either out of our control or cannot be changed. Instead of impatiently stomping our feet while we wait, why not help someone else out while we can. Serving others will certainly take your mind off of the things that we are waiting for and sometimes serving others makes us realize that what we were waiting for, we didn’t truly need to begin with.
Third, tell others about Him. “Proclaim (announce) the power of God.” Psalm 68:34
We tend to put ourselves in a “waiting” bubble and forget to share our worries or concerns with others who would eagerly join us in prayer, service or praise, if we would only let them in. Share with friends and strangers the feelings or anxieties you may be having about the upcoming holiday time. I’d venture to say that most people would love to offer a shoulder to cry on, a warm cup of coffee to sip, or a meal to bring warmth to your belly and soul, if we would only let them know our needs. When those friends reach out to you, share how God has comforted you, provided for you, or even sometimes felt far away. I’m almost certain that most could relate to all of those feelings at one time or another.
So, if you are a “lady-in-waiting”, I hope that you will choose to wait in his care. He promises us that we are loved and that we have a purpose created just for us by him. Let’s not waste any more time waiting, but more time abiding in God and His Word. I hope you’ll take time this week to join me at the bottom of the cross. I’ll be the one abiding there with arms wide open. Thanks for “waiting” there with me.