This article came to me today from CBMC International. I thought it warranted reprinting here.
The Wonderful, Rare Art of Waiting
by Robert Tamasy
Do you like having to wait? I don't. Whether it involves standing in line at the post office, a bank or a grocery store, or sitting in traffic, my patience rapidly wears thin. If I make a phone call to schedule an appointment or question a billing statement, and am placed on "hold," my aversion to waiting soon becomes evident.
This kind of waiting, of course, creates only a minor inconvenience. Another kind of waiting is more agonizing when the cause usually does not quickly go away. For instance, in 1981 my family and I relocated from Houston, Texas to Chattanooga, Tennessee where I had taken a new job. We had a house to sell, but presuming we could find a buyer quickly, committed to purchase a home in Chattanooga without making it contingent on selling the other house. As a result, we "owned" two houses for one entire year - and the mortgage payments that went with that - along with an interim loan until we could get the equity out of the first house.
At first waiting for the sale of the first house was not difficult. Since the housing market was very strong in Houston at that time, we expected to receive a call from our Realtor any moment informing us that the house had sold. But as the weeks and months passed, the waiting became harder - especially as our meager savings was depleted by dual mortgage payments.
There have been other times when I have found waiting not easy to do: Pursuing a career change when it became evident the time had come to change jobs; looking for a response from an editor regarding a magazine article or book proposal; anticipating the arrival of a much-needed check to meet a pressing financial obligation; counting the days leading up to major surgery; anxiously awaiting a phone call from a loved one in crisis. For me, every one of those occasions proved extremely difficult, agonizingly so.
Unfortunately, even in these days of instant gratification and high-speed communication, waiting is an everyday reality. How do you deal with waiting - whether sitting in a restaurant until you are served, looking for an answer from a client, or expecting important news that could change your life in a dramatic way? Interestingly, the Old Testament book of Isaiah in the Bible has much to say about waiting - and trusting in God while doing it:
God acts according to His timetable, not ours. Trusting in God does not ensure immediate response. Even when His answers come more slowly than we would desire, we can be confident that He will answer. "I will wait for the Lord, who is hiding his face from the house of Jacob. I will put my trust in him" (Isaiah 8:17).
God often answers in ways that exceed our expectations. When we receive God's answers to our needs, they are sometimes different - and better than we had hoped. "And it will be said in that day: ‘Behold, this is our God; we have waited for Him, and He will save us. This is the Lord; we have waited for Him; we will be glad and rejoice in His salvation" (Isaiah 25:9).
God rewards our willingness to wait. We often are tempted to force an issue toward resolution, but patience in waiting on God will be rewarded. "Therefore the Lord will wait, that He may be gracious to you; and therefore He will be exalted, that He may have mercy on you.... Blessed are all those who wait for Him" (Isaiah 30:18).
God provides strength for those who wait on His response. Waiting can drain our physical, emotional and spiritual resources. But if we trust in God's timely answer, He will restore the strength necessary to proceed. "But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall wait and not faint" (Isaiah 40:31).
Robert J. Tamasy is vice president of communications for Leaders Legacy, Inc., a non-profit corporation based in Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.A. A veteran of more than 35 years in professional journalism, he is the author of Business At Its Best: Timeless Wisdom from Proverbs for Today's Workplace (River City Press) and has coauthored with David A. Stoddard, The Heart of Mentoring: 10 Proven Principles for Developing People to Their Fullest Potential (NavPress). For more information, see http://www.leaderslegacy.com/ or http://www.rivercitypress.net/.