I hate waiting. Waiting for buses. Waiting for appointments. Waiting for news. Nothing good happens in waiting rooms -they’re grey and airless, the carpet smells of wee and there’s a draft from the life that’s charging past the door and leaving me for dust.
Sometimes, a little wait is bearable. Cinema queues for example. I’m slightly late but with any luck I’ll miss the mobile phone ads (and be sat behind someone with a tiny, tiny head). Count to ten Emma, and think of Michael Fassbender.
At other times, it’s a test of nerve. The Trolley Dash. Which of the supermarket queues is moving fastest? Surreptitiously craning my neck to Assess the Basket Situation. Greyhair on aisle two has four fewer items than Blondie on five…but she’s old and probably slow on bagging. If the woman over on seven would stop chatting and hand over the damn cheddar we could all move forward but no, she’s going nowhere so wild-eyed, I make a bid for aisle six. It’s a bold move but tinged with genius – until that is, the cashier smiling, slaps down a ’till closed’ sign. Cheesewoman is still talking and I’ve lost my place but I need this guava. I can do this. Stay the course buddy, stay the course.
But then there are moments – years of moments – when waiting feels like death. Seconds like brambles, scratching your skin. You look outside and you pace the floor and you wait and you wait and you wait. For the approval you long for. The family you fear you’ll never have. The change in job, the reversal in fortune, the lucky break.
And it’s a battle. Every day – fighting – the urge to shrink, to close, to shut down, to fold over, to give up. Trusting in the God you can’t always see. Praying – keep me soft, keep me open, keep me alive to the knowledge of your goodness. Remind me again Lord, of the goal I can’t see. The raw hope that won’t be disappointed. The waiting that is part of the journey.
This morning we listened to the story of Jesus, asleep in a boat whilst a terrible storm rages around. ‘Do something!’ the disciples beg him, ‘we’re about to drown!’ And Jesus does. He saves them – but not in the way they expect and not to their timetable. His agenda is so much greater than what they see: to bring life from the dead – not just to smarten up the living.
The story ends with peace and stillness. But His calm comes through the storm.
Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD. (Ps 27;14)