Guessing you OR your child has bemoaned this at some point and time. “This is the longest wait EVER!” I’m sure standing in line for an amusement park ride, an impatient child has shrieked this in dismay. I imagine a hangry stomach has stomped one’s foot at the restaurant’s hour plus wait to be seated. Withholding that special treat from your child til the end of the day felt like an eternity. But the “longest wait EVER” feeling likely has extended beyond these more day-to-day. Have you ever reached out to a long-lost friend OR even someone you’ve had a conflict with waiting in anticipation for his/her response? Have you ever prayed and prayed and prayed, feeling like it was the longest wait ever for God to answer? Not to mention this past year plus of seemingly “waiting” for the COVID pandemic to abate?
When you are in the midst of waiting, it truly does feel like an eternity. Our family experienced this firsthand during the COVID summer. Hours felt like days that turned into weeks and months of waiting. All but one of our children had gotten into private school. And I had sworn that I simply could not homeschool. Well, clearly God laughed at my stubborn response as the summer turned into fall of what was our seemingly longest wait ever. I’d love to say we prayed fervently and patiently. However, disappointment and impatience probably more so ruled the day evidenced by what felt like desperate cries out to our prayer community and too many check-in emails to administration. I thought that if somehow I reached out enough we would magically get the answer we had been waiting for. Yeah, not so much.
Rest assured, there is a happy ending to our story as our son did finally get into the school on October 1st. But WELL beyond the happy ending was the “longest wait EVER” over those 10 months that felt like years. Just a few quick lessons from my impatient waiting that feel like “duh” insights now but man they would have been lifechanging if I truly believed them over the “longest wait EVER”:
- No matter how much I want to be in control, God is always and ultimately in control.
- Prayer is powerful. For me, it needed to come from a more surrendered heart of faith and belief. For others, I needed to reach out likewise in a great spirit of faith that our community’s prayers would be heard.
- Never say “never” or “no” to God. He knows best and who am I to question Him?
- Instead of tapping my foot in impatience, move into action in another direction. Focusing on what was NOT happening only added to angst. Focusing on what COULD happen or what else WAS happening would have maximized my joy in the present.
- Never give up! God is good all the time whether the answer to our prayers is “Yes!,” “Not yet,” or “NO!”
- Model well to your children so they can see how they should respond in times of waiting. And if you don’t model so well (like me) be willing to share your learnings with your children so they too can grow and be better next time.
I cannot believe I am saying this, but thank goodness there will inevitably be another “longest wait EVER”. That way I have another chance to do better next time. I hope you’ll join me in responding better in the waiting next time too.