Don’t Waste Your Wait

waiting

Tom Petty once sang that “the waiting is the hardest part.” Have truer words ever been spoken?

We don’t like waiting. We use microwaves. We take alternate routes to avoid traffic. We waste five minutes trying to find the shortest checkout line. As I write this, Kelli and I are waiting for our second son to arrive literally any day and the wait is just painful at this point (quite literally for her). Waiting really is the hardest part.

In case you missed it, we got our first ever up-close images of Pluto this week. Far more fascinating to me than the images themselves is the story behind those images. In 2006 NASA launched its New Horizon spacecraft to capture the images of Pluto. Nearly ten years later, New Horizon reached its destination, snapped a few pictures, and called it a day decade. In case you missed that, let me reiterate. Ten. Years. Later. No lengthy layovers. No breakdowns. No leisurely Sunday afternoon drive—at times New Horizon topped out at over 30,000 miles per hour. Just a three-billion mile direct flight. And it took ten years to get there. (Side note: Is anyone else blown away by the vastness of God’s creation?)

For ten years NASA has waited for these images. How many people forgot about New Horizon in those ten years? How many people simply lost interest or gave up? How many people got tired of waiting? I’m certainly not pointing fingers–I give up in frustration when my wifi connection is slow. But on the flip-side, how rewarding were the images for those who have been waiting for the last decade? Can you imagine finally experiencing the fruit of something you invested your life in ten years ago? (I suppose many veteran parents are saying “yes” right now, but hang with me.)

There’s something redemptive about waiting. I’m not wise enough to know what it is, but there’s something to it. There’s a reason that God encourages us to “be still” (Ps. 46:10). There’s a reason that patience is included as a fruit of the Spirit. There’s a reason Jeremiah wrote, “The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him. It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.” (Lam. 3:25-26)

As much as it hurts to type, I think waiting might be good for us.

But we don’t like waiting, do we? So we sit in the waiting room trying to pass the time with smartphones and outdated magazines, meanwhile God is begging for our attention! Could it be that he’s trying to speak to us in our waiting? I don’t know. Maybe.

It seems natural to ask you “what are you waiting for?” But could it be that a better question would be “what is your waiting for?”

If we really believe that “for those who love God all things work together for good” God has you (and me) waiting for a reason.

Don’t waste your wait.

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When God Speaks Through a Coke

Each Sunday morning I lead a group of college and young adult aged men and women through some sort of Bible lesson, discussion, etc. (Yes, it’s a Sunday School class; there’s just something about the phrase “Sunday School” that makes me cringe a little.) Last Sunday we talked a bit about the account of Mary and Martha found in Luke 10:38-42. If you’re not familiar with the passage, Jesus applauds Mary for sitting at his feet, while encouraging Martha to be less concerned about the “many things” that cause her to be “anxious” and “troubled” and to be more concerned with him. Naturally, I encouraged the group to make time for the most important thing–their relationship with Jesus–in the midst of other important things–relationships, school, work, etc.

Then Wednesday happened.

Wednesdays are always busy days for me. On a typical Wednesday I’m usually up around 5am, at the church office at 9am, and finally get back home around 10-11pm. But this past Wednesday made a typical Wednesday look like a walk in the park.

The day started with a doctor’s appointment for Owen, which revealed a nasty ear infection along with some other medical issues that his pediatrician wanted to examine further. Then it was off to the lab for blood work (which, might I add, is absolutely miserable for a one year old and parents). I finally made it into the office around 12:30 where I managed to get caught up on Wednesday night youth group preparations before venturing back out to run some work errands, pick up O’s prescriptions, and swing by to check in on the family. I got back to the church building around 5pm, jumped right into youth band practice which ran right up until our gathering started at 6:30. For the next hour and half we sang, laughed at people eating disgusting flavors of jelly beans, sang some more, and talked about Jesus. No sooner than I had said “amen” on the closing prayer, Kelli informed me that we needed to take Owen to the hospital as a result of some of the aforementioned medical issues. So off to the hospital we went–and after an X-ray, a CT scan, some IV fluids and a lot of waiting, I finally laid down to sleep around 4am (which would’ve been later were it not for a self-sacrificing wife).

But what I didn’t tell you was that throughout the vast majority of that Wednesday I carried around a bottle of Coca Cola that I had purchased earlier in the day. It was one of those bottles from the “Share a Coke” campaign that had a random name on it. But for that particular Wednesday, I don’t think the name was very random at all. What was the name?

Photo Apr 22, 3 43 44 PM

Martha. You know–the Martha from passage I had just talked through the previous Sunday. The Martha that was so preoccupied, troubled, and anxious with her “many things” that she nearly missed the most important thing.

The Martha that I encouraged my group not to be that week was the Martha that I had been that day. I had gotten so caught up in doctors appointments, schedules, preparations, and yes, even ministry, that I had neglected just sitting at the feet of Jesus.

I don’t want to be the guy that over-spiritualizes every little thing–but what a subtle reminder to practice what I preach. More importantly, what a reminder not to miss the most important thing in the midst of other important things.

And clearly, God enjoys Coke more than Pepsi.