Originally published on May 15, 2020
Waiting and Fear
I hate waiting! I hate waiting in line at CFA for my chicken sandwich. I hate waiting for my five year old to find his shoes when I’m ready to run out the door. I hate waiting for my wife’s chocolate chip cookies to cool so that I can eat the two she gives me and then snag a third. I want things immediately, without delay, in my perfect timing. While minor infractions on my time make me impatient, I get downright uncomfortable when I find myself stuck in one season while waiting for the next.
With waiting comes the feelings of loss of control and helplessness to change circumstances. These symptoms of waiting lurk in the recesses of my mind and stir up fear in the waning hours of my day. Ultimately, waiting challenges my identity, who I perceive that I am. The answers to questions revolve around my identity, “what am I doing?, what can I attain?, and how much am I contributing?” These are tampered with in the midst of waiting. I find myself scrambling, desperate to establish control in order to find peace of mind. But control does not equal peace.
The pages of Scripture remind us over and over that waiting is not bad or even a neutral force but a formative force for good. Waiting is a tool wielded skillfully in the hand of a sovereign God. Waiting refines us, refocuses us, and is often a prelude to recommissioning us. Abraham, Moses, Ruth, David - the list is long of godly men and women who have waited. Waiting is normative for God’s people and a powerful change agent in the lives of believers. Waiting calls for faith, focuses our eyes upward, and has a way of dethroning pride buried deep in our hearts. Waiting leads to, godlier, deeper questions linked to our identity like, “who am I becoming?,” “am I using resources rightly?,” and “why am I giving?”
Waiting is powerful. It reminds us that God is in control, we are His, and He is good. Our prayer in the midst of waiting should echo the Psalmists, “O Lord, my heart is not proud, nor my eyes haughty; Nor do I involve myself in great matters, or in things too difficult for me. Surely I have composed and quieted my soul; like a weaned child rests against his mother, my soul is like a weaned child within me.O Israel, hope in the Lord from this time forth and forever” (Psalm 131).
But what about the days when we buckle under the weight of waiting? I recently heard the story of a young boy who went to the doctor to get a cast taken off of his arm. As the nurse came into the room with the saw to remove the cast, a look of panic entered into the young boys face and he began crying uncontrollably. The wise momma picked up her young child and set him on her lap. She gently wiped away his tears and calmly asked the boy to look into her face. “Do I look scared?,” she asked calmly. “No,” replied the little boy as he sobbed. “Do I look afraid?,” she asked. “No,” said the young boy. Then his mother gently smiled and said, “It is ok to be afraid, I’ll hold you and you look at me while the nurse helps us take the cast off.”
My friend, it is no different for you and me. In seasons of waiting, in moments of fear, when doubt threatens to undo us, we are to “turn [our] eyes upon Jesus, look full in His wonderful face, and the things of earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace.” True peace, abiding peace comes from Jesus. May you and I find peace in the midst of the uncertain.