|"They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint." - Isaiah 40:31
Waiting on God in Wal-Mart
By Jennifer E. Jones
Waiting in line.
I can see the hairs on the back of your neck starting to rise at the idea. Whether it’s at the bank, the grocery store or the airport, we as a human race are some of the most impatient people in the universe. We can’t stand to wait. It makes even the best of us moody and irrational.
Why are we like this? We spend hours in front of the TV and the computer everyday. Why is time suddenly of the essence when we enter a store? Are we going to be late for work? Are we going to spontaneously combust under the pressure of watching the customer ahead of us pay their entire bill in pocket change? Or are we just afraid that we’ll never get out of that line? That we’ll be 80 years old sandwiched in-between the tabloids and the racks of candy?
In this Instant Messenger world, the impatient child within has made us weird about waiting for things. It’s just so impractical; yet, waiting is a vital step in our Christian walk.
Patience is praised in the Bible as a characteristic of love (I Cor. 13:4) and a fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22). Jesus even mentioned patience in His parable of the sower in Luke 8. Life is all about waiting. As Christians and as human beings existing in a time-pressured universe, we can’t get around it.
Of course sometimes waiting isn’t as simple as our need to be at the head of the line. Sometimes waiting is a trial in itself. You’re waiting for God to heal your body. You’re waiting for a spouse -- or for a better relationship with the one you have. You’re waiting for an answer to how you’ll get the bills paid. The 11th hour can feel like an eternity. It can make you wonder if God will come through. And when He does, will it be too late?
To that question, I pose another: in your crazed busy schedules, have you ever etched out a moment to watch a sunrise from start to finish? I have and this same verse comes to me every time: “My soul waiteth for the Lord more than they that watch for the morning: I say, more than they that watch for the morning” (Psalms 130:6). As I sit in the dark, it feels like forever but I know that the sun will come up over the waters. The sand in my shorts and the cold wind on my face will be worth the beauty of a sky painted in orange, purple, and pink. I’m confident in nature. How much more should I be in God during my trials? According to David, it’s never a question of if but rather when God’s providence will appear.
So we have to wait, but does it have to be so painful? Not necessarily. Patience is nothing more than waiting with grace. If you can master the art, you may never groan in another line again.
Case in point: not too long ago, I was in Wal-Mart picking up a few things to feed the starving artist within me. I thought that on a Tuesday in late morning that I’d be in and out, but it was a Super Wal-Mart. Just finding the tuna aisle takes two hours. By no choice of my own, I got in a line about five people deep. The woman in front of me was already complaining.
I politely smiled because I wasn’t fazed. I picked up a magazine and told the woman, “At least I can catch up on my reading.”
She chuckled and said, “I guess so,” as she reached for some browsing material for herself.
I had time, and I had something to pass that time with. Sometimes that's all you need.
I was set for the long haul when a Wal-Mart employee passed by me with her black cash drawer, leaned next to my ear and whispered, “Register two is opening right now.”
I turned to see my escape route on the empty lane as the Wal-Mart Whisperer went to her register and flicked on the light. I glanced around quickly to scope out the competition, but this top secret intelligence was apparently only shared with me.
In a flash, I put the magazine back, rushed over and promptly put my things on the conveyer belt. A man and his wife came up behind me. “Honey, she beat us to it,” he said with a grin. “You must be fast.”
I replied, “Oh, it’s not me. She gave me the heads up.”
Okay, so I didn’t quite find God in Wal-Mart but I did learn something useful. Trials are inevitable, and as long as God is not subject to Eastern Standard Time, we will have to wait on Him. Scripture tells us “the trying of [our] faith worketh patience” (James 1:2). Be patient; wait with grace. And who knows when, but probably when you least expect it, God will brush by and let you know you’re next. So, when people ask you how you got there, you’ll know Who to point them to.
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