The Waiting Game

Pastor Eric Schneiderhan

Growing up, my grandmother and mother had a saying they would say every time I was struggling to be patient and wait. It went something like, “If a string is in a knot, patience will untie it. Patience can do many things, have you ever tried it?” I remember thinking to myself that hearing them say this didn’t make it better at all. In fact, it only made my impatience and frustration worse.

All children struggle with patience. When you’re young, minutes feel like an eternity when you really want something to happen. As the parent of a four-year-old, having patience is currently on the short list of most had conversations in our home. However, as frustrating as it is to consistently be coaching our son through moments of waiting, it dawned on me that adults are not much better. In fact, I am certain that the way I feel when my son is impatient, is the same way God feels towards me when I find myself in seasons of waiting.

Waiting is hard and often painful. All of us experience periods of waiting differently, but non-the-less we all go through moments or seasons in our lives where we are left waiting for God to provide. Maybe for you, you have been waiting for God to open the door for you to land the right job. Or maybe you’ve been experiencing loneliness and find yourself waiting for God to provide the right person to share your life with. Maybe for you it’s been waiting for God to provide healing of broken relationships, or rescue you from a dire financial situation.
Waiting can often feel like being in exile, because when we are in exile, we are separated from that for which our soul longs. The prophet Isaiah had a lot to say to God’s people when he spoke about their future exile. There are so many passages in Isaiah that speak about waiting, but Isaiah 40:28-31 is one that has meaningful for me lately:

“Have you not known? Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He does not faint or grow weary;
his understanding is unsearchable.
 He gives power to the faint,
and to him who has no might he increases strength.
Even youths shall faint and be weary,
and young men shall fall exhausted;
but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength;
they shall mount up with wings like eagles;
they shall run and not be weary;
they shall walk and not faint.”

If we read Isaiah’s words quickly without taking time to prayerfully reflect on them, it can feel a little bit like my mom or grandmother repeating that annoying rhyme, and it can feel like it’s saying, “Just wait. Just be patient.” Bu, when we find ourselves is seasons of really difficult waiting—waiting for things that our soul longs for—figuring out what faithful waiting looks like is really hard, and not immediately evident.

So, what does faithful waiting look like?
Recently, my wife Meryn pointed me toward this passage in The Amplified Bible translation.  Verse 31 reads, “But those who wait for the Lord [who expect, look for, and hope in Him].”  I’ve always thought of waiting as something passive and inactive.  But the original language the amplified translation is trying to convey is anything but passive. It’s active, anticipatory, and expectant.  This kind of waiting looks like wading into the murky, messy, confusing period of waiting, looking for and expecting to find God around every corner.  Even in the seasons of exile when we are separated from that for which we deeply long and when it’s tempting to believe that God doesn’t see, doesn’t care about our longing, or isn’t powerful enough to meet our needs.

So, this week, I’m going to try waiting that way.  Approaching with the expectation that I will find God, even in the waiting.  Will you join me in that?




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