“Not everyone can wait: neither the sated nor the satisfied nor those without respect can wait. The only ones who can wait are people who carry restlessness around with them.”
— Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1906–1945)
The title of this article, in the context of the pain we endure for waiting upon the Lord, seems out of keeping with joy; with that blessedness we associate with a God who gives good things and gives with abundance.
There is a divide between life; those who can wait and those who cannot. If we are true to ourselves we resonate with both ideas. Some things we have waited for, whilst others we could not wait.
Blessing followed us for our waiting, but we made our own consequences for not.
Consequences of Not Waiting
The truth is, not everyone can wait. Not everyone is prepared to endure what it takes to patiently distract oneself in the ‘eternal’ meantime between a promise and that promise’s delivery.
The difference is, does the propensity not to wait characterise us at the moment?
These are always quite personal questions. We know what we are waiting for. It’s not like we can get away from it. If we are waiting it’s probably because the thing we are waiting for is hounding us. We somehow have an inkling that if we give in by getting what we want before time, or by giving up before time, the consequences will be dire.
Though it pains us to wait, and for all we’re worth we may not be able to understand why we need to, our logical minds advise:
1) don’t give up;
2) don’t give in by forcing the pace or forcing God’s hand (as if it could be forced!);
3) don’t go near regrettable territory.
Learning to Bear the Burden of Hope
Carrying within us the restlessness of a distant hope seems easy for others; but let’s not be tricked. It is a difficult journey for everyone. Everyone has hopes that in some part are realised and in other parts are dashed. Everyone hears the resounding “NO” of God, just as everyone hears the Divine “YES,” and everyone, also, has unanswered prayers.
The wondrous opportunity we have is to grow to full maturity regarding the bearing of burdens.
This is a wondrous opportunity, because, no matter where we go or what we do in life, God will ask us to wait—either upon an answer to prayer, or upon the actual delivery to or from something by prayer.
Better to wait for our prayers to be answered and not rush headlong ahead of God. And, better still, it’s better to accept God’s final word than allow resentment to mount.
© 2013 S. J. Wickham.