We’re all playing the waiting game.
The thing about waiting is that it’s not partial to the good or the bad. We can wait for good things to come…that special someone to share life with, a new house or job, a proposal or wedding, the end of the work day. We can also wait for the bad things that life throws our way…death of a loved one, that unfortunate meeting with your boss, a call from the doctor.
I’m no different. This past year has been a year of waiting in our family. We’ve waited for test results, surgeries, appointments, difficult decisions to be made, more visits with doctors, dreaded medical bills and the death of my sweet grandfather. But we’ve also waited for birthday parties, vacations with family and friends, weddings, and even quiet nights at home in front of the TV.
Whether we are waiting for something good or bad, we plan and prepare and work for whatever is coming next.
And here’s what I’ve learned: the waiting is just as important as the arrival of what’s next.
At the end of August, my grandfather asked to be discharged from the hospital to spend his last days at home with his family. We all knew that his death was coming and since we didn’t know when it would happen, we waited. In our waiting, we could either remove ourselves from time with him because the pain of watching him die was too great, or we could embrace the waiting and enjoy every last moment of his time with us. And so, we chose the latter. During the 12 days he was home, we celebrated his seventy-third birthday with a big family party. We spent afternoons on the porch with him. We spent nights caring for him. We talked about life and memories and stories that made up his 73 years. We loved and loved and loved some more. Sure, we cried and grieved his imminent passing. The time was so bittersweet. And as the Lord called him home that Saturday afternoon, the waiting was over. The “what’s next” had arrived.
I can confidently say that for me, that waiting period taught me more than the event of his death. Those 12 days taught me the importance of family, that time is really all we have and how we invest it makes all the difference and to say “I love you” every chance you get. And that the waiting is just as important as the arrival of what’s next.
In our waiting, we let human nature take over and quite often choose to focus so much on that thing that’s coming that we forget to really learn from the waiting. We let the world tell us that it’s up to us to make something happen, to rush the thing we’re waiting for. I believe that God sometimes does the best work in us during the waiting.
Bethany Dillon’s song, “To Those Who Wait”, has been one of those go-to songs for me anytime I feel myself struggling with the waiting. It’s a reminder that the Lord is good to those who wait on His timing and His will. My favorite line from the song says this:
You can do more in my waiting than in my doing I could do.
The difficulty comes in not being able to see all that God is doing behind the scenes. We believe we can do better. We believe we can do more. But that’s not the case. In our waiting, God is doing immeasurably more than we could ask or hope for. Whether your waiting game lasts a few days or a few years, know that God is at work.
The waiting game comes with time. We can choose to let our minds and hands run wild as we are obsessive in our attainment of the next thing. Or, we can choose to take advantage of the opportunities for learning and growth that the waiting game inevitably provides.
We’re all playing the waiting game.
What’s your move?
Sarai Gilbert grew up near Western Carolina University. She married her summer camp sweetheart in August 2004 and they currently reside in Mars Hill, NC. Sarai works from home, but also travels with The Andrew Brown Band playing keys and blessing the world with her beautiful voice. She enjoys all things DIY, organizing, music (of all varieties, but especially Shane & Shane), coffee, her super cute niece, Reagan, and quoting “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.” Like the other guest bloggers I’ve featured so far, I met Sarai at Truett Baptist Camp. To this day, I drool over her amazing vocal chords and am thankful for her influence on my walk with Christ. She blogs over on One Butterfly’s Journey and you can follow her on Instagram (saraigilbert), Twitter (@sarawithani), or Pinterest (sarawithani). You can also become friends on Facebook (facebook.com/sarai.gilbert).