I waited patiently for the Lord;
he inclined to me and heard my cry.
--Psalm 40:1 NRSV
Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers sang, “The waiting is the hardest part.” I’m not sure what Tom and his buddies were waiting for, but I certainly agree that waiting is the worst.
In the first verse of Psalm 40, I want to skip to the end where God hears the cry of the Psalmist. The first half of the verse, the part about waiting patiently, I’d rather not deal with. I’m not very good at waiting, and from what I can tell, most of us in our “on demand” society are bad at it too.
In this season of waiting, while some get vaccines and others wait for them, while all of us wait for what post-pandemic life will be like, it is difficult to be anything other than impatient. We’ve been waiting for a year now, and I’m a little worn out from it. Is there anything good to be found during this time of waiting?
From a spiritual perspective, God seems to feel there is a benefit to us waiting sometimes—waiting for answers, waiting for a change, waiting for God to show up. Yet, this is counter to how things operate these days. We don’t have to wait for TV shows to air, because we can stream them whenever we want. We don’t have to wait in line for our groceries, our prescriptions or our fast food takeout—all of it can be delivered on our schedules. We are getting closer to not having to wait for much of anything, which is perhaps why waiting for this pandemic to be over grinds our gears so much.
Some of the most meaningful things in life can’t be streamed on demand or ordered online for a scheduled delivery. A c-section can be scheduled, but there is no guarantee a baby won’t arrive sooner than expected. There’s no precise equation to govern when you fall in love with someone or if and when they return that love. The best meals aren’t prepackaged nor can they be microwaved, rather they are prepared, cooked and served when the time is best. Despite our best efforts to control nature, it still takes time to grow a flower, a vegetable or a tree. Some things are like Christmas morning when you were a kid, they are better because you had to wait for them.
The scriptures, the mystics and the truly wise all seem to offer the infuriating idea that there can be something gained as we wait, especially as we wait on God. This time is not wasted but rather fallow time, a time when the ground must lie fallow during winter for it to be ready for the seeds of new life to find purchase and grow. As much as we often wish for God to snap the divine fingers and give us what we want when we want it, the landscapes of our own souls may not be ready for what God seeks to do. More time is needed to prepare the soils of our hearts, more time is needed for us to gain trust in God and learn humility, more time is needed before we are ready for what God offers us.
Whatever you are waiting on, trust that what is outside of your control is in God’s hands and will arrive in God’s timing. It’s easier said than done, believe me I know, but God is interested in preparing us for what is to come. That preparation goes down easier if one doesn’t resist it. Wait patiently for the LORD trusting that your cries will be heard.
Grace and Peace,
Rev. Chase Peeples
We're Park Hill Christian Church in KC MO. We seek to follow Jesus by praising God, loving those we meet and serving the vulnerable.
6601 Northwest 72nd Street, Kansas City, MO 64151 | 816-741-1851