Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘waiting’

In this instant age, it can be irksome to have to wait, can’t it? We have become so used to finding instant answers on the net or buying that instant, fast food or contacting someone almost instantly. As a result, when we have to wait for something, we can feel quite put out and inconvenienced, as I did while waiting for my new car last year—and as I did again recently, while shopping at our local supermarket.

Usually, I am happy enough to wait my turn in that checkout queue, but this day, I had bought a lot of items, some of which were frozen—or had been! As I stood there, I felt for the lady before me who seemed lonely and needed to talk, yet I soon became annoyed with the person serving her. Yes, it is nice to connect personally with customers, but you don’t need to stand with your hands resting on the counter, doing nothing but talking, I fumed to myself!

The lady behind me in the queue rolled her eyes and I did the same in return. There was nothing patient or godly about my response—but I did not care at that point.

I did care that evening, however, when I saw on the news how people in flooded areas of our country had to queue for ages outside their supermarkets to get even a few basic supplies. I felt rebuked indeed—and I knew I could have done better. After all, I have been writing for many years now—and one thing authors hopefully develop throughout the whole long-term endeavour of writing, editing, publishing and marketing books is much patience.

I was reminded of this recently during a promotional visit to a nearby bookstore. At one stage, I noticed a lady near my book table who seemed a little familiar. Eventually, I introduced myself and asked if we had met somewhere before.

‘Yes,’ she said, as she mentioned a particular meeting we had both attended. ‘I remember you talked about your book Soul Friend there.’

I gaped. As she continued talking, I recalled how I had only briefly mentioned the book in passing at that meeting, as we each introduced ourselves. Then I realised this meeting had taken place ten years earlier—ten years! Yet this lady had remembered me, for some reason.

We talked on for ages, after which she bought a copy of Soul Friend.

‘I wanted to buy it back then, but knew I didn’t have time to read it. Now I do!’ she told me, smiling.

Ten years earlier, I would never have known this lady was interested in reading my book. And as she left the bookstore, it was as if God whispered to me, ‘See, Jo-Anne? These things don’t happen all at once. Yet they do happen in my perfect timing. Keep on persevering—keep on being patient.’

Somehow, I suspect God takes a much longer view of everything than I do—right on into eternity, in fact. And somehow, I think I need to cultivate that long view more too, to wait for things to unfold in God’s time—and to be patient as I do.

I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits, and in his word I put my hope. Psalm 130:5

Read Full Post »

One day last week, I found myself waiting with one of our daughters at a medical centre so her new baby could be immunised. We waited … and waited … and waited. Eventually, with the baby’s feed time rapidly approaching, my daughter decided to call it quits and head for home.

“I’ll come back another day,” she said in an exasperated voice. “I hate waiting, don’t you?”

Later, I thought about that question a little more. On the whole, I realised, I don’t mind any normal sort of waiting—as long as I have the time and it doesn’t inconvenience me too much! And as an author, I should be used to it. After all, even when we have finished a manuscript, we still usually have a few long waiting periods ahead—firstly, while we wait for our editor or readers to go through it; secondly, while we wait to hear back (often a very long time) after submitting it to a publisher; thirdly, while we wait for the book to be released; and finally, while we wait for it to reach the bookshelves in the stores and for people to buy it!

Right now, I am in one such waiting period—not just for one book, but for two. They are both being considered by publishers and who knows whether these publishers will take them on? In the meantime, I am left sitting here, hoping and praying—and waiting.

A few years ago, when in the middle of a different waiting period, I was complaining loudly to a dear, older friend who has been my spiritual mentor for many years. I soon discovered she had a different perspective from me on it all.

“Could you view this waiting as an active time—perhaps even an honourable activity?” she challenged me gently one day, after listening yet again  to my whinges and moans.

It was such a simple but radical change in perspective for me to see waiting as part of the whole process and accept it, refusing to let it frustrate me. I needed to keep on trusting God and wait patiently, without wavering. This was further emphasised through a passage from Isaiah I read around the same time, Isaiah 30:15-18:

In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength,but you would have none of it.

You said, ‘No, we will flee on horses.’ Therefore, you will flee!

You said, ‘We will ride off on swift horses.’ Therefore your pursuers will be swift!

A thousand will flee at the threat of one; at the threat of five you will all flee away

till you are left like a flagstaff on a mountaintop, like a banner on a hill.

Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you; he rises to show you compassion.

For the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him!

I believe God was showing me I was not to run around, trying to make things happen in my own strength. Instead, I was to look to God to bring it about and wait patiently. I did not envisage that meant I was to sit around idle, however. I needed to keep writing and praying and doing my best to look for speaking opportunities, but I also needed to listen well, acting when God said to and not before. And somehow I suspect that’s what I have to do right now too.

How about you? Have you discovered that waiting can actually be an ‘honourable activity’?

Read Full Post »