Hurry up and wait!

“So it’s hurry up and wait, eh? That must be so hard!”

My friend nodded, her eyes flooding. I understood why. Years earlier, she’d made a major decision about her future direction in life. When the time felt right, she prepared to move forward. She’d filled in numerous lengthy applications, passed the required tests, rearranged her finances (and housing), paid all the necessary fees and submitted everything to the pertinent authorities.

The initial flurry of activity had provided forward momentum. But now, everything had stopped. The decision as to her future rested in someone else’s hands. Months rolled on. The date passed for the expected response and none came. Her prayers, questions and calls brought no answers. The vision she’d carried in her heart so long felt as fragile as butter in the sun.

More calendar pages flipped. Still no word. She began to wonder about her previous confidence. Was this the direction she’d felt so sure of? Had she made a mistake?

In the race of life and the parallel journey of faith, few things grow more tiresome than crouching at a starting line. You’ve trained long and well. You feel qualified. You’ve paid the entry fee. All that remains is the crack of the starter pistol. The right nod from the right source to spring forward. To get on with the thing for which you feel more than ready. A new direction. A changed vocation. A beautiful relationship needing only a final, decisive, “yes.”

Poised over the start line, toes in position, you sense a raised arm. Your heart leaps and your muscles tense. But instead of the starter pistol, you hear one word. “Wait.”

Does God know about your cramps? Does he care?

From Genesis to Revelation, the Bible provides examples of people-in-waiting. Abraham waited decades for the son God promised. The Israelites wandered for forty years, waiting for their entry into the Promised Land – then they waited centuries for the Messiah God promised would deliver them from spiritual bondage. David waited decades for his promised crown. Noah spent a century hammering – waiting for the raindrops God warned would come.

“Hurry up and wait,” isn’t written in scripture, but it may as well be. The instructions to wait on God’s timing and the benefits of doing so are repeated throughout, phrased in words like these: Wait on the Lord and be of good courage. They that wait on the Lord, will renew their strength. Wait on the Lord, and keep his way.

Are you crouching at the start line? Relax. Ease out your cramps. Most scriptural examples of great things done at God’s bidding meant years of waiting. Not every open door is God’s door. Don’t make a move until you get God’s decisive, “Yes.” Take time to meditate. Determine whether you are waiting most of all for him or for what you hope he can give you.

Wait on the Lord. He’s the only one who knows your best path and its perfect timing.