Everyone has to wait for something. The dreaded things like annual trips to the dentist or final exams or inspections at work can take all the time in the world and we don’t mind one bit. However, the longed for things like good health after a serious illness or a promised job promotion or marriage can take all the time in the world and we fret. We feel anxious with the wait and we even wonder if it will happen at all. Sometimes the things waited for never come to pass. Waiting can be a relief for things not wanted or a time of despair when hope grows dull.
Why does God let us wait? After all, He’s God and can do anything so why doesn’t He speed things up? I read a book this week called From Beyond The Rivers by: Gila Garaway. It’s the true story of this woman’s work in the Congo. You will not be surprised that her stories include descriptions of mass poverty, human cruelty, tribal warfare, and lack of general education and medical care. People of the Congo, as well as in every third world country, suffer great need. Poverty and homelessness is even found in the richest of countries. In describing her experiences she wrote, “One of the fruits of life here, patience, grows on the tree of suffering. A sweet fruit, giving great strength, it doesn’t seem to grow on trees of convenience.”
That sentence jumped off the page at me! I had to stop reading and ponder for a long time. It reminded me of the value of suffering. It also reminded me of the wise words found in II Peter 1:5-8, “…Supplement your faith with a generous provision of moral excellence with knowledge, and knowledge with self control, and self control with patient endurance, and patient endurance with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love for everyone. The more you grow like this, the more productive and useful you will be…” Suffering and waiting in the midst of suffering is something we dread. We naturally don’t find it useful, but supernaturally God uses it to make us strong in character, building our faith and strength. Therefore, the whole situation of patience and suffering is a treasure when we rest in the arms of our Father rather than kick against the molding taking place on the potter’s wheel.
Whatever you’re waiting for or hoping for, may the moments build trust and joy. Remember, we don’t know what tomorrow holds, but our Father who stands outside of time is already there. He’s waiting with you.