How much do YOU like to wait?
Take the trek to work, for instance. You know what I’m talking about! The car accident that backed up the traffic for three miles? And looking at your watch every five minutes doesn’t help the time to slow down, nor does it make you boss less impatient!
Or what about the detour signs that seemed to have been designed to lead you through a scavenger hunt that ends up in Timbuktu? And to top it all off, you forgot to charge your cell phone! Your boss is very unimpressed!
And your waiting challenges aren’t any better at work. When you finally arrive, you find your desk decorated with huge piles of files and papers, some of which are beginning to look like the leaning tower of Pisa. You do need to see your boss, however, before attacking any of the work, but for some reason, there is a line of your colleagues extending from his door all the way down the hall. You join the line, but when there is no progress after ten minutes, you leave, frustrated by your wasted time. You wonder if you will ever be able to be home by six. If only you could email your boss!
At the end of the day, you race out the door, 15 minutes late, and head through the downtown traffic for the grocery store. Where did those long lines at the check-out counter come from? Don’t they know you have impatient teenagers who were expecting you to drive them to youth 45 minutes ago?
May I ask again, how much do YOU like waiting?
It is at such times that you realize you are not in control of time, nor are you in control of your life. Time controls you!
I may plan an event in every detail, but one thing I have learned is that not everything (and sometimes, not anything!) will go as planned! Just the other day, while relaxing in the Bahamas, I meticulously designed a snorkelling expedition for my family. Our destination was Love Beach, a lovely little beach well-known among the locals for its beautiful coral reef that is a swimming distance of the shore. Because it isn’t a tourist beach, we were looking forward to being away from the crowds.
Love Beach is located about 14 miles out of the city, and since we had no wheels of our own, we decided to travel like the local people and we boarded the Jitney (the local city bus). The bus trip went without a hitch, the beach was almost completely deserted, and we had a great time snorkelling. All in all, except for the major sunburn two of us were afflicted with (Another out-of-control element!), it was a wonderful day.
When it was time to return to our hotel, we packed up our gear and made our way to the side of the road to wait for the bus. And we waited. And waited. And waited.
“Did they mention what day the Jitney would be returning?” I asked, wiping my brow.
“We must have just missed the last one!” Was my wife’s practical answer.
We moved down the street to find protection for our burned skin under a Grand Poinciana tree, and we waited some more. It might have not been as bad, except for the fact that teenagers tend to be even less patient than adults, and there were two of them waiting with us…
A Jitney did finally arrive, heading the wrong direction, a full hour later. When the driver assured us he would soon be heading back into town, we were faced with a decision. We could either continue to wilt on the side of the road for the next 20 minutes, waiting for him to return, or we could spend the same 20 minutes touring the island. It was a no-brainer. We clamoured aboard. There was only one tiny problem: The driver wanted to receive our two dollar fare up front. I only had a 50 dollar bill, and he only had ones for my change. Try and imagine the thickness of my wallet when we finally returned to our hotel!
I didn’t let the wait for the Jitney ruin my day, however. Instead, I spent the time under the Poinciana tree enjoying my family, and when I look back on the whole Love Beach adventure, I have pleasant memories.
Although we tend to try to control time, it really controls us. Only if we take the time to slow down and enjoy the unforeseen events will we become more enjoyable Christians.
We need to follow Jesus’ example. He always welcomed impromptu, unplanned events. He never turned anyone down, and was always available for any service anyone required of Him (See Luke 18: 35-43 for example). And it’s a good thing, because no one would have been attracted to a Messiah who reacted to unforeseen interruptions the way we do. Just imagine how it would have sounded if He had reacted to the people who constantly interrupted his ministry to beg for miracles the way we would: “This wasn’t planned! Go away so that I can finish my to-do list for today!” But instead, He always reached out to these people in love.
Always remember: There is beauty in taking everything in stride. When you do, you can enjoy life to the fullest.
And there is even more beauty in learning to wait upon the Lord.
“Wait for the LORD, my soul waits, and in his word I put my hope. My soul waits for the Lord more than watchmen wait for the morning, more than watchmen wait for the morning.” (Ps 130:5-6 NIV)
“Wait for the LORD, and he will deliver you.” (Prov 20:22 NIV)
When waiting upon the Lord, we relinquish our position of control and we put our fate completely in His hands. Though I usually try to resolve all of my problems on my own, I never leave disappointed when I rely on the One who has all the time in the world for me. Waiting for the Lord has much more virtue than rushing and trying to maintain control, believe me! And the rewards are out-of this world!
P. S. Do you need to see your boss? Send him a postcard! It would probably reach him much faster than standing in that long line!
P.S.S. If you want to learn patience while waiting, go to Disney World, Universal Studios or any of the other tourist traps in Florida!
(To access the entire “Control Freaks’ Senility” devotional series, please click here.)