Waiting and Living

  • Sept. 22, 2009
  • #7147

Hi, I'm Joni Eareckson Tada and I know something about... waiting. 

I have spent so much of my time waiting in this wheelchair.  After the diving accident in which I became paralyzed, I waited to be moved from the intensive care unit to a room on the hospital floor.  Once there, I would wait all day on a stretcher outside the urology lab waiting to go in... or waiting to go to radiology or some other "ology."  From the hospital, I waited to go to the rehabilitation center and once there, it was more waiting to go to physical therapy... or from therapy to waiting to be pushed back to my room.  In the evenings, of course, I'd always be waiting for my friends or family to come for a visit; and it seems I was forever waiting to just go home. 

Back then, for me waiting was killing time.  I was just hanging around.  Unfortunately, many of us look at waiting that way and I'm sure you do, too - you wait at the dentist, then the check-out line.  You're waiting for a phone call or a promotion or a good medical report.  And usually when we think of waiting for these things, we get a mental picture of leaning up against a wall with our arms folded, yawning, glancing at our watch and just killing time.

But, friend, God has not given us time to kill.  He gives us time for us to use.  In His vocabulary, there's no such thing as wasted time.  Because there's far more to waiting than just lying down on the job until we receive what we're hoping for.  George Matheson once wrote some great thoughts about the way we should wait:  "We commonly associate patience and waiting with lying down.  We think of it as the angel that guards the couch of the invalid.  There is a patience that I believe to be harder - the patience that can run.  To lie down in the time of grief, to be quiet under the stroke of adverse fortune, implies great strength.  But I know of something that implies a strength greater still.  It is the power to work under stress, to wait under hardship, and to have anguish in your spirit yet, nevertheless, perform your daily tasks.  This is a Christlike thing.  The hardest thing is that most of us are called to exercise our patience - our waiting - not in the sick bed, but in the street." 

That's quite a quote you almost have to read twice to get the full gist, right?  It tells us how to wait, how to endure and how to live; how not to kill time, but to invest time, because there's a lot more to waiting patiently than simply glancing at our watches and yawning every now and then.  It takes courage to live out our patience... to wait and yet be active, to hold onto hope, and yet still be involved.  I'm sure this is why the Bible tells us in Psalm 27 to wait on the Lord and be of good courage.  Why?  Because usually, we think nothing's happening during that time.  We assume nothing's going on; that God has taken a break or He's taken a vacation from us or at least a vacation from doing anything directly with us. 

Well, friend, you might be single and find yourself waiting for a marriage partner.  You may be a senior in high school and already you're waiting for graduation.  You may be in a wheelchair and waiting for someone to come along and give you a push.  You may be married and waiting for your husband to change.  If so, would you please make sure you keep living while you are waiting.  It takes great courage to get out there and continue to embrace life even while you are waiting for things to change, but just remember that those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength.  They shall mount up on wings; they shall run and not grow weary; they shall walk and not faint.  Friend, it takes courage to live while you're waiting, but you can do it - you who wait.  How do I know?  For the Bible tells us so.

©  Joni and Friends

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