I am not very good at waiting.
When I was a kid, I ran everywhere. I ran out to get the mail and ran to answer the door and tried to run while pushing the lawn mower around the yard so I could finish and move on to the next thing. I ran to our neighbors if I had time to play and I tried to run down the halls in middle school. If mom or dad asked me to get something outside, I ran.
I so badly wanted to be THERE. Not HERE.
You know where I mean. That place out there. That place where I’m making more money than I am now. That place where I have a little bit of a nicer house than I do now. That place where I’m finally married or I finally have more kids or the kids have finally moved out.That place where all of my current problems are sorted out.
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We’re prodded into this mindset by the atmosphere of our age. Every retailer can help you figure out a way to get what you want NOW instead of waiting until you can afford it. We can view Super Bowl commercials before they even air on television, and we read spoilers of our favorite shows before they take place. We buy things now and pay for them later. Young kids want to be teenagers, teenagers want to be adults, and adults want to be retired.
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Yesterday I wrote about how this trip is helping me live more in the here and now. And it is. But all it takes is one bit of bad news, one unexpected disappointment, and suddenly the here and now isn’t good enough anymore. HERE isn’t good enough. I want to be THERE.
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The word “wait” shows up in the New Living Translation of the Bible 79 times. That’s a lot of waiting. In one of those instances, Moses tells his people, “Stay here and wait for us until we come back to you.” But the Israelites simply couldn’t wait for Moses to return; they started feeling abandoned, so they created a god all their own. A lump of gold. And they worshiped it and they bowed down to it and they couldn’t get enough of it.
I read that story and I think to myself, How completely ridiculous – those Israelites sure had issues! And then I get to the place where I am tired of waiting and feel abandoned and I create my own little gods. When God doesn’t show up in my timing, I rush to put my hope in people or business plans or my own ingenuity, and soon I am clutching on to that thing like a golden calf, and I’m caressing it and maybe even calling it “My precious.”
That’s a little weird. But it’s what I do.
“Be still in the presence of the LORD, and wait patiently for him to act.” Psalm 37:7
Where should I wait? In his presence. To me, that’s a meditative place, a deliberate place, a place where I can hear my own breathing. And what should I do in that space?