The Discipline of Waiting

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Of all things that we humans do poorly, waiting (for or on almost anything) is where we are most likely to score a poor grade. It’s strange that we struggle with it when we have so many opportunities to experience it. We experience it in big and small ways more times than we can count. If practice makes us better at anything, I wonder why we don’t improve more in this area?

Some of our “waiting practice” goes with whatever season of life we find ourselves in. As children we are waiting for a new bike, waiting for Christmas, waiting to go camping, waiting for the treat I was promised, and waiting to grow up to be able to do all the things I see older kids getting to do. A bit later those same children are waiting to graduate from school, waiting to buy their first car, or waiting on that right person to share the rest of life with.

Adulthood brings other waiting related to the season. There are things like waiting on a promotion or a raise, waiting for a child to be born, waiting for a service member to return home, waiting for a diagnosis, waiting on approval for a mortgage, and more.

There are all those mundane daily kinds of waiting too. There is the “waiting in line” at grocery stores, gas pumps, theaters, doctor’s offices, traffic lights, and toll plazas.

Waiting exposes the truth we cannot avoid: We are not in control.

Waiting tests what we know or believe about ourselves, the situation I am in, and certainly what I know or believe about the Lord and His faithfulness, mercy, and goodness. What I know and believe will have a direct influence on my level of hope.

In Learning to Know Esther Meek reminds us of what hope can be:

“…well-placed hope does not disappoint us. It is not a certainty, but it is perhaps delicious for its anticipation. We rejoice in the prospect of knowing.”

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As believers we wait in expectation for God’s coming. To the degree we know the truth Scripture teaches us, we watch for Him because of the fulfillment of the first promise of His coming to earth. Without a certainty of when He will arrive, we have the confidence that He will. The first knowing helps us to have confidence in the promise of His return. Wisdom teaches us what Esther Meek points out: “Certainty is an illusion.”

The discipline of waiting does help us to know ourselves and the Lord better if we are willing to recognize that, but it also helps the Lord to know us better. Perhaps we fear that as well.

For all the times in Scripture that we see someone long to know, see, or hear from the Lord, when He shows up as an angel, in a burning bush, or as a warrior what happens first is very often fear or terror. Quoting Esther Meek again, The gaze of God is both what we fear and what we can’t do without…Our knowing is warped, especially when it comes to knowing God, because of human rebellion against God. There is something inside us that doesn’t want to know him, even as another part of us does. Our blindness thus requires the terror of his meeting us.”

In the timeless work of C.S. Lewis in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, Lucy very much wants Mr. Beaver to assure her this lion he speaks of (Aslan) is safe. Most of us recall Mr. Beaver’s answer: “Safe! Of course, he isn’t safe. But he’s good! He is the king, I tell you.”

The discipline of waiting turns us toward seeking to know the Lord and His response to where we are and how we are.

What we miss is that He is the one who is pursuing us!

He pursues us in the midst of our waiting and for whatever we may feel about that, His pursuit of us is what will lead to calm during waiting. Lucy discovered that and chose not to run.

“Seated on the back of a loving lion, as Lucy found, is the best of all possible places to be.”

Esther Meek
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16 thoughts on “The Discipline of Waiting

  1. Pam, I think you’re absolutely right to think of waiting as a discipline! We’re all waiting, and it’s better not to be kicking and screaming about it.

    Thanks so much for joining the Grace at Home party at Imparting Grace. I’m featuring you this week!

  2. Pam, Fabulous post! My favorite part, “Waiting exposes the truth we cannot avoid: We are not in control.” Yes, that is exactly why waiting is so hard. Blessings, Maree

    1. I think that as the world becomes darker and more chaotic we can be tempted to feel more of this as we realize we are definitely not in control.⚓️

  3. Thank you for sharing on Traffic Jam Weekend at LifeasaLEOWife.com. We’d love to have you share on our other link parties as well, Happiness is Homemade and You’re the Star Blog Hop. I am so thankful that certainty isn’t an illusion when it comes to knowing that Jesus will soon return just as He promised! Waiting on Him in these very difficult times that we are living in, is the hard part!

    1. Thank You for for the invitation to other link sites. Amen!! He is a certainty we can trust and count on!!

  4. You nail it, Pam: “Waiting exposes the truth we cannot avoid: We are not in control.” I’m currently in waiting. It’s one of the hardest in awhile. And perhaps it’s because I have so very little control. Your words give me reason to hope: “The discipline of waiting turns us toward seeking to know the Lord and His response to where we are and how we are.”

    1. I can appreciate what a hard season of waiting is like. As you know we have had a number of those as a family in the last 18 months and I am not sure if I strengthened or weakened those muscles. They do turn us to the only source we have and the One we need to go to first.
      Hugs and prayers,
      Pam

  5. I always enjoy your posts, Pam. Waiting is one of those things we like to avoid, isn’t it? But it is good for us! That is one of my favorite quotes from The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. Thanks for sharing!

    1. You’re so kind, Donna. I am sure you know that one never knows how the words and themes we are led to write will impact those who stop to read. Most do not take time to comment so it is always a blessing when someone (like you) does.

      We do indeed like to avoid it and the pandemic has not helped us with that since 2020 either it seems.

      Be sure to look out for Patti Callhan’s new release on 10/19 Once Upon a Wardrobe. I pre-ordered it and will get to participate in a zoom session with her, Douglas Gresham and David Downing who wrote Into The Wardrobe (background on what influenced Lewis’s series) as a preview to the release.

      Blessings,
      Pam

    1. Thanks, Jennifer! Currently reading Into the Wardrobe by David Downing in preparation for a zoom session with him, Patti Callahan, and Douglas Gresham as a preview of Patti’s new book to be released 10/19 (my birthday) entitled Once Upon a Wardrobe💕 You might want to check these out if you want to go deeper into Narnia and C.S. Lewis.
      Agape,
      Pam

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