“Answer me quickly, O Lord; my spirit faints with longing. Do not hide your face from me or I will be like those who go down to the pit. Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul.”— Psalm 143:7-8
These last weeks, my son has been glued to the window watching our mailbox.
He listens for the whine of the mail truck and looks for the red flag to be lowered. He puts on his shoes, trudges down our slippery driveway, crosses the street, and yanks open the box. He slowly pulls out the stack of mail, checks the pile, shuffles across the street, and brings the mail inside to sort.
For a kid who uses his smartphone constantly, is tech- and social media-savvy, doesn’t like to make phone calls or even mail an actual envelope, his behavior amuses me. Is he waiting to hear from a long-lost love? Get a zillion dollars from some sweepstakes he’s won? Nah. He’s waiting to hear if he got admitted to his final college choice. He’s looking for a thick glossy package with folders and letters and pictures, and an admittance letter. And this “snail-mail” just isn’t doing it for him.
As the waiting continues, he grows more impatient and frustrated. Day after day, no answer. His mind lives in limbo. A decision is impossible until all the cards are laid on the table, all 6 schools compared, all pros and cons reviewed. This murky waiting period for one final school will eventually give way to clarity, but only in its good due time.
I imagine Mary and Joseph felt some of these same things as they waited for the baby Jesus to be born. Questions arose, fears and excitement raced through their hearts, the days passed, and still, the answers were slow in coming. I know we have all had times like these—-waiting for a sign, an answer, waiting, waiting, waiting. The psalmist cries out “How long, O Lord?…..” Isn’t that our plea too, at times? When will God answer? When will we know? But wait…..good news is coming.
I am convinced that God uses that waiting time for good. We want quick answers, but God’s answers come in good due time. Often the wait period is hard for us, but God has work to be done—in our hearts, circumstances, lives. As my son has waited for these answers, he is noticing that through people, circumstances, and pondering, his heart is changing and growing. These inner workings wouldn’t have come about if all the answers were clear and a college choice was declared a month ago. Time has worked in his favor…. And God knew he needed it.
What answer is slow in coming for you? How might you use this wait time to grow closer to God? Put aside the frustration or impatience, and focus on God. You’ll be glad you did!
Prayer—-“God of grace, you promise good to those who wait. Help my heart to learn patience and to wait on you, no matter how long it takes, knowing I’ll hear from you in due time. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.”