OK, things could be worse, but when you’ve planned a trip and you want to escape the day to day routine and relax and refresh your spirit with people you love, or return home from business, you just don’t want a delay.
But here I sit, on a Sunday afternoon at the airport, waiting out a delay. In the end I trust the delay will not end in disappointment. I expect that I will be reunited with my friends and we will fill in all the gaps that have transpired since we last saw each other.
I find it interesting that the departure sign doesn’t say, “Delay.” but rather, “New” Hmmm, we aren’t delayed, we just have a new time! How exciting! It’s almost as if being new makes it better. NOT.
God has his reasons for every delay, including this one, and I feel like I need to apologize to everyone on this flight. I think this delay is my fault. You see, I didn’t write a blog post for Tuesday, I just ran out of time, and now, suddenly I have a few hours to kill, an iPad in my lap, and a topic… Delays.
I don’t do waiting well. I never have. I don’t know too many people who do. Most of us, I think, would prefer to rush from point A to point B with little time to spare, but God often has a different idea. God often has us wait. Sometimes God has a new time for us, other than the one we scheduled.
When you think about it, much of life is spent waiting. We wait for people, appointments, and phone calls. We wait for job interviews and pay days. We wait for birthdays and holidays. We wait for test results. We wait for prodigals. We hold hands and sit by hospice beds and wait for death. We wait for God to draw our friends and family members into saving faith.
Waiting is a power tool in God’s hand! And as long as Romans 8:28 is in the Bible (and the last time I checked it was still there), we know for a fact that God uses our waiting periods for his purpose and our eternal good.
As I sit, waiting for this plane, I did a search on waiting and I found an interesting little detail: wait, hope and trust are interchanged in several verses between the NIV, NLT, and KJV versions of the Bible.
Isaiah 40:31 “But they that wait upon the Lord (who hope in the Lord… NIV), (who trust in the Lord… NLT) shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” KJV
Psalm 37:9 those that wait upon the Lord, (trust in the Lord… NLT) (hope in the Lord…. NIV) they shall inherit the earth. KJV
What do we learn from this? Is waiting the same as hoping, as trusting? Yes, I think so. Can we truly wait if we don’t have some assurance that what we are waiting for will come to pass? I don’t think so. Otherwise we are simply killing time. I feel fairly confident I’ll eventually get on a plane today… So I wait.
What about waiting on God — when he chooses not to fly on our timetable? We can trust that he is never late; his timing is always perfect. His timeframe may not be what we think we want, but it is always exactly what we need! Therefore we can place our trust in him. And our hope, placed in him, will never disappoint us.
God’s faithfulness should enable us to wait with patience, and glean everything we can out of our times of waiting. When we grasp the idea that God is with us in the waiting, why should any delay bother us?
There are many facets of God’s character that are revealed to us in our periods of waiting…
Exodus 34:6-7a “And he passed in front of Moses, proclaiming, “The Lord, the Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin.” NIV
Our times of waiting are perhaps God’s times of slowness to anger. Perhaps his slowness to anger is the grace that enables us to see his love, faithfulness and forgiveness. Maybe this is why hope and trust are interchangeable with waiting. Perhaps we should welcome his delays.
We also see God’s patience in his delays…
2 Peter 3:8-12 “But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” NIV
We may never know all that God is doing while he has us wait, but we know that our responsibility is to wait well. Maybe we need to think of waiting not as a delay, but as an opportunity to embrace a new time; a time God has set.
What are you waiting for? Will you trust that God is faithful and has a purpose in your waiting. Will you place your hope in him and work with him for his glory, and your good, as you wait. Will you choose to trust that his arrival is always perfectly timed.
My plane is here!