Waiting for...something

Have you ever been to a restaurant that was super busy and your server never could quite refill your tea fast enough or get your food out soon enough? First world problems, right? For some people, minor inconveniences like these drive them absolutely crazy, to the point that they will stiff their server on the tip or even chew them out for the poor service. You've seen the guy, the one who keeps looking around for his server, visibly fuming because his food isn't ready, unable to keep his ridiculous comments to himself. Maybe that's you.

Having been a waiter before I can totally sympathize with servers. What happens in the kitchen is beyond their control, yet they are the "face" of the restaurant and so they become the proverbial whipping post when service is poor. It is my strongest belief that everyone, before they finish high school or college, should have to wait tables at least once just to gain a little bit of perspective.

We could all probably benefit from lessons in waiting.

Think about Noah. In the Old Testament book of Genesis chapters 6-9 we find his story. Basically, by the time Noah came on the scene the whole world had already gone to pot and God was pretty much fed up with everybody. And you think things are bad now! God decided to wipe the slate clean and send a deluge of water that would scour the earth and take with it every living creature. All but Noah, his wife, his sons, and their wives that is. Noah was righteous in God's sight - he walked with God (Genesis 6:9) - so God's plan included repopulating the earth with Noah's family after the flood, giving everything and everyone a fresh start.

God told Noah to build an ark that was huge in its dimensions - 450 feet long, 75 feet wide, 45 and feet high. I'm not sure how old Noah was when he started this project but he had just turned the tender age of 600 when he finished. Yes, 600 years old. When the rain started, Noah gathered his family and the animals into the ark and he waited. The rain only lasted 40 days and 40 nights but Noah was holed up in that boat for far longer. In fact, he didn't step out until he was 601 years old, 1 year and 10 days later.

I couldn't imagine what it must have been like to be boxed in with elephants, giraffes, beavers, and birds for over a year while a giant storm raged all around me. I'm sure the smell was quite pleasant. But Noah waited on God to finish His work and to calm the storm. Only then did he step out of the ark into a world transformed by God. If he had stepped out any earlier, he would have sunk in the waves.

Waiting is hard. Nearly impossible for my six-year old son. Yet it is during the times when we are forced to wait that God is doing His most critical work in us. If you've been too impatient to let paint dry or bread to rise fully, then you know the results never turn out well. The same is true when we fail to wait on the Lord.

What God accomplishes in me when I wait on Him may not be the same as what He completes in you, but finish the job He will (sorry, that really sounded like Yoda!). If you are in the middle of stuff right now and are itching to take the bull by the horns and fix it yourself, can I encourage you to pipe down for a minute and trust God that He is working in the midst of the waiting. His plan will become clearer soon enough but only if you patiently trust Him. Let me finish with this great promise from God found in Isaiah 40:31:
But those who wait upon the lord will renew their strength.

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