My grandma used to say. The best things come to those who wait.
Grandparents are good for that kind of thing aren't they? Words of wisdom accumulated over years of just living out life. Putting things to the test. Learning from their mistakes - hopefully. And passing on the best nuggets down to the rest of us.
The best things come to those who wait.
Its one of those things that I don't actually recall her saying all that often when she was alive but in the 10 or so years since her death I have heard it a lot.
Mostly from my mum whom in both situations trivial and deep reminds me that its something grandma used to say. So I assume that to be the case. I remember her saying it to me shortly after I proposed to Holly. I had told Mum and Dad a few weeks before hand and despite their slight worries that we were too young (we were) and too in experienced (we were) and had no money (we didn't) - they were very excited to soon to be having Holly as a daughter in law - despite her being as odd as she is. And I remember quite vividly that a few days after the proposal Mum saying to me...
The best things come to the those who wait.
Sound good doesn't it. I m not entirely certain that it's a biblical phrase nor theologically correct but gospel or not its proved time and again to be a fairly solid mantra in my life and for that reason I like it.
To be honest its most potency has come from times not when I have actually been all that disciplined in waiting but far more son in the moments when I all but forgot the sage wisdom of my maternal grandmother.
You see I'm not all that good at waiting.
In fact I'm pretty terrible at it. this may be genetics , habit or just bad practice but it's something that I have always struggled with.
I tend to live life in the now and not quite yet most of the time. Not paying all that much attention what is going to come in the future. This of course manifests itself quite a lot in an inability to remember to do simple household tasks like renew the car insurance, take the bins out on time and remember when she or i are supposed to be seeing friends (all of which happened jus this week!)
As you can imagine this creates a certain amount of annoyance to my wedding PLANNER wife who lives life to timelines, schedules to do lists and excel documents. She actually LIKES making them.
My "here and now" living also has the rather unhelpful side effect that I am quite impatient.
I can't quite determine whether my impatience is bred out of living life-like this - so that any sort of waiting for something that is remotely far off becomes untenable or if I have always been impatient and have subconsciously circumcised my mental calendar in order to not have to deal with the inevitable waiting that life brings.
Of course I am sure it's not just me. We are an impatient generation with overgrown expectations of what we shall achieve in life. It seems our default position all to often is that we deserve more than we have right now and the waiting for the next thing is always frustratingly out of reach.
It is this phenomena that curtails the time people are spending in one job and what draws lines of Steve Jobs devotees to the apple stores across the globe with every I device launch.
It appears that really when it comes down to it - We are not great at waiting. How waiting can teach us About 2 years ago I was into my 4th workplace in 3 years. Drawn by the lure of more money, fame, responsibility and respect I had jumped ship from the firm I had been at for about 18 months (after a 6 month and another 18 month stints at the two firms prior).
I was thinking to myself. this is the one that's going to stick. Here is where I will make a name for myself and cross that crucial 2 year mark on my CV doing 1 thing.
I have never been great at staying in one job. I did all sorts of things growing up from working 2 different paper routes, driving a promo car for heart 106.2 (a bright red Prius with the words "ask me for a sticker" on the side which constantly resulted in listening knocking on the window when pulled up at bus stops or traffic lights and asking for a sticker - and possibly the most odd of the lot - pulling that horrible plastic sheeting stuff over peoples dry cleaning just after having it pressed for clients including both Kate Winslett and Cliff Richard.
It was in Weighbridge so maybe that explains it.
To be clear I had never been fired from a job thankfully nor been made redundant - for which I am highly thankful. I think it's that in all honesty I had always just got bored or the bright lights of the next opportunity distracted me to the point of jumping ship.
So I found myself working at this new job in Soho. This was the job I had supposedly been waiting for. The one for the long haul.
However 5 months later would find myself stepping through the doors of the next job.
You see after the honeymoon period had fallen away I found myself stressed and worried about being there. I had bitten off more than I could chew. I had gone on and over promised and under delivered and it felt awful because I knew I was out of my depth.
But God is gracious. 2 weeks before my probation period was due to come to an end which was due to be a difficult meeting and may not go my way I got a phone call.
The agency I had really wanted to work for all along. Edelman where I work now was calling me and saying the budget for my role I had interviewed for 6 months previously had been signed off and did I want to come and interview?
Of course I did.
1 me meeting later and 2 weeks after that phone call I walked through the doors of my new job.
Good things come to those who wait.
We are all waiting for something. Here on earth we wait for boyfriends and girlfriends Wives and husbands. For healing from wounds. From sickness of body and heart and mind. We wait for babies and birthdays and breakthroughs. We wait. Were all waiting for something.
How waiting builds faith
Scripture is packed full of stories of people waiting for something.
The bible's opening sentence is one of God waiting. Get ready this may blow your mind a little bit.
"In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth."
If God is infinite and then he "created" - what was he up to before hand? Waiting I expect. There wasn't anything else there. God - all-powerful can choose to create the world anytime he likes - choses a specific moment to bring all we have into existence. To release Higgs' Nobel Peace Prize winning Bozons into the world to give it all its shape and form and matter.
Fast forward through the bible and you come through stories of men and women and entire generations and people groups waiting.
Abraham waiting for a child.
Moses wandering around in the desert with a bunch of whining Israelites.
Armies walking around and around a city 7 times because one wasn't enough to do the job.
People. Waiting. Why?
Because when we are made to wait it shifts our focus from us. When we face obstacles that we alone are powerless to control. When solutions are outside our own reach - we run short of places to turn. And we are forced to fall back on God's promises.
When we are waiting for something we have only two options - struggle, or surrender.
We can try in our own strength and mental muscle to get ourselves out of the situation we find ourselves in - or we can turn it over to God and sa - I trust you with this.
Which in all honestly can be the hardest thing to do. And only by the grace of God and the help of the Holy Spirit can we do it.
What are you waiting for? How are you handling it? How are you looking after the hunt for a husband? Or dealing with those bills that you're not sure how are going too get paid? Or that job you are longing for?
struggle or surrender.
I think one of the best places to delve into when thinking about this stuff is the Psalms, they are chockkablock with song of waiting and longing and how people dealt with it.
Particularly those of David. Now there was a guy who had to learn how to wait.
We read in 1 and 2 Samuel his story and we know that eventually he was crowned King and Successor to Saul - but had to wait nearly 20 years to see that happen - which may explain the content of many of his Psalms.
I love Psalm 130 for its honesty and yearning - it reads
Out of the depths I cry to you, Lord; Lord, hear my voice. Let your ears be attentive to my cry for mercy. If you, Lord, kept a record of sins, Lord, who could stand? But with you there is forgiveness, so that we can, with reverence, serve you. I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits, and in his word I put my hope. I wait for the Lord more than watchmen wait for the morning, more than watchmen wait for the morning. Israel, put your hope in the Lord, for with the Lord is unfailing love and with him is full redemption. He himself will redeem Israel from all their sins. (Psalm 130:1-8 NIV) Read on YouVersion HERE
I want to read to you a short section of commentary on this from Charles Spurgeon - not just because Dan read some of his stuff last week but because there is literally no better way of describing what David is going through here
Verse 5. If the Lord Jehovah makes us wait, let us do so with our whole hearts; for blessed are all they that wait for him. He is worth waiting for. The waiting itself is beneficial to us: it tries faith, exercises patience, trains submission, and endears the blessing when it comes. The Lord's people have always been a waiting people: they waited for the First Advent, and now they wait for the Second.
Don't you long to be able to wait like that - with out whole hearts.
We are a people who are called to wait. We stand in the now and the not quite yet, that painful yet hopeful place where we have tasted and have seen but not fully - not everything he has for us - and we are called to wait.
How waiting gives us perspective
But what if you aren't waiting for something physical or as tangible as that.
Most of us are just waiting to feel understood. Or that we've finally made it.
It's commonly known in Hollywood that the day after the Oscars is the saddest day in Hollywood.
For years - actors, musicians, directors, editors, sound designers, producers, lighting engineers, leading ladies and best boys toil at their craft, hone their skills and perfect their speeches and best teary eyed face in hope of standing on the stage and saying those fateful words
" I would like to thank the academy..."
To win an Oscar has to be the highest achievement in film and very few ever make the cut - but every year a few do. They make it. They stand on the stage and say their piece and then they go back into the darkness of the crowd, on to the after show party, home to bed.
But what then. The day after the Oscars is the saddest in Hollywood because for so many it's the day they wake up and find out that the thing they were striving for to give them meaning, to be validated by, to have been applauded for actually is just a tiny gold man on a box.
It's like reaching the top of the highest peak you can see from the ground only to realise at the summit that there is another to climb on the other side.
All good things to wait for of course. Whatever you are waiting for I am sure is a good thing, But the truth it appears to me is that ultimately we find when we get them or get there that we aren't all suddenly fine. We don't have it all figured out.
Because the truth is we can't. We can't figure it all out. We just aren't big enough for that.
We are still waiting for something far greater. We wait to see him. We wait for Jesus. For the kingdom. For our fathers house with its many rooms and the one whose door bears our name.
And sometimes it takes losing it all or waiting for a LONG time to make us realise this. There is this passage of scripture in Job where God reminds him how small he is. How his perspective is so much greater than ours:
Job 38:4-11 NIV Read on YouVersion HERE
“Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation? Tell me, if you understand. Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know! Who stretched a measuring line across it? On what were its footings set, or who laid its cornerstone— while the morning stars sang together and all the angels shouted for joy? “Who shut up the sea behind doors when it burst forth from the womb, when I made the clouds its garment and wrapped it in thick darkness, when I fixed limits for it and set its doors and bars in place, when I said, ‘This far you may come and no farther; here is where your proud waves halt’?
If you ever find yourselves in a place of waiting for something that you think will help you have it all figured out - give that one another read over.
By now you may be asking yourselves the questions "does God make us wait" or "why do I have to wait".
My answer is a resounding I don't know. Ask God. He might tell you. He may not.
I am not certain that God orchestrates our waiting, but in the same turn I know he can use waiting to build character in us.
Some of you know I have recently taken to bread baking. Its become somewhat of an obsession actually! People are often scared of bread making at home because they worry about rising, and proving and kneading but really - the best of bread making is the waiting.
As I'm sure you're aware in most bread making - the rising of the dough is in the yeast. That amazing little ingredient that is so powerful you only need 10 grams of so to raise an entire kilogram of dough.
But what I only learned recently is that yeast is also the main ingredient in giving your dough flavour. Without getting too technical the yeast in bread basically feeds of the natural sugars in the flour and other ingredients you are using to yes - raise the dough, but give it character, flavour and stature. And the longer you leave it to work its little wonderous magic - the more flavour it packs into your bread.
I sometimes think that God uses waiting with us in the same way that yeast works through the dough. Once you've kneaded into the dough you can't see it any more but as time goes by and the bread lifts and grows - you can see it at work. But you won't know the character, the flavour until you taste and see that the bread is good.
As I have waited for things in my own life - sure there have been moments where I have doubted , where I haven't always been able to see what the outcome was going to be - but all the while there have been touch points along the way where I have seen faith rising within me - little nudges along the way from God saying that I have been on the right path.
My short and limited experiences have been that sometimes I have seen how he has used waiting to teach me something. Like with the job or through relationships with people who in thought were meant to work out but didn't. So my awful but honest answer to the question of does God make us wait - or just us it, is yes. And no.
I know God has us waiting for his return for good reason.
I know he can use all things for the good of those who love him.
I know he doesn't make us wait any longer than he needs to.
I know he like us to learn from our experiences but had enough grace for us when we don't.
I know good things come to those who wait.