“The waiting is the hardest part…” a friend of mine posted this lyric from Tom Petty’s song “The Waiting” in reference to hurricane season here in Florida. As most of you know, Hurricane Dorian has been wreaking havoc for almost a week now. I live in central Florida, but a good deal inland. Hurricanes are not new to Florida, and we know how to prepare. But the waiting….
Water bottles were stocked, ice was made, windows were boarded (or not depending on the Floridian), hurricane snacks were purchased, extra activities were readied for the kiddos in anticipation of power outages. And then we waited. We watched the news, we checked the National Hurricane Center reports, every three hours. And we waited.
Saturday, Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, finally some wind and rain on Wednesday. I learned a great deal during those long days of waiting. Here are a few of my thoughts:
Waiting is NOT Easy
Waiting is sooooooooo hard. It seems as though everything in our modern culture fights against any form of waiting. We had done all our preparations, now we just wanted things to be over and done. We want things on our timetable – even bad things. I know a hurricane is coming, I don’t want to wait for it to arrive, I just want to be done. I want to finish this unpleasant aspect of my life and move on. Is it possible that the reason I don’t like to wait is because of what is revealed in me?
Waiting reveals what’s really in my heart
Imagine several days, at home, with your family. Not on vacation. I have to be honest, my first thought is not “great! What a fabulous opportunity for quality family time!” I am a selfish individual. I like my personal space, I like my comfortable routine. Now everyone is home, everyone is stuck at home. And the ugliness really shows. Do I see the people who are with me in my waiting as inconveniences or interruptions? Unfortunately, too often, the answer is “yes”. My impatience reveals that I think the world should revolve around me, and anyone or anything that causes a delay in my wants simply needs to get with the program and reorient to me. “Wretched man that I am who will deliver me….” (Romans 7:24)
Waiting provides opportunities
When ugliness is revealed in my heart, that also provides an opportunity for growth and for change. Paul’s response to his question in Romans 7:24 is “Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 7:25)In His mercy, God will do His work in my heart, in the very waiting that I wish to avoid. As I see selfishness revealed, I can confess that and receive forgiveness. Then, I can look for ways to serve others. Or maybe I can check on my neighbors, to ensure their safety. I can play games that my children love, or bake a special treat with them. We can look for ways to show love to one another as a family and fight back the selfishness. We can pray for those affected by the hurricane for which we’re waiting.
You may not be waiting on a hurricane. But we all have seasons of waiting – whether it’s just in line at the grocery store, or for something far more serious. Don’t waste your waiting; let God reveal the ugliness that is in your heart and do His patient work of forgiveness and restoration.