I spent time in a couple of airports last weekend, where I was forced to experience my personal version of hell: waiting in line. Security scans. Food lines. Queuing up at the gate, all while schlepping baggage from here to eternity.
I hate waiting for anything. I will go to great lengths to avoid it, possibly creating more trouble for myself than if I’d just gone along with the waiting, but who says humans are rational? I’m first in line at the oil change place and the BMV. I never schedule late-day doctors’ appointments. I consider it a personal challenge to carry in all the groceries from the trunk of the car, pack-mule-style, in one huge trip.
Maybe one of the worst types of waiting is for something you’re not positive is coming. I have finished up my summer job selling bread at the Farmer’s Market, and now I need to find something else to do. I have a few irons in the fire, and I’m in that uncomfortable position of waiting – for something to happen, for the phone to ring, for another job to which I can apply. Mixed into this is the nagging sensation that it’s all up to me, that my job prospects will only be as strong as the effort in which I put forth. Whether this is true or not, I don’t know. What’s the relationship between my effort and God’s provision? No idea.
What I do know is that I’m waiting. Recently our worship pastor Chad shared something from Isaiah 40:31, the lovely passage that tells us those who wait on God will renew their strength. Chad had found a new way to look at how to wait. The usual interpretation is that we’re waiting for God. But the verse says that we’re waiting on God. So another way to understand waiting is that we’re like servers in a restaurant with God as the object of our service. We’re serving Him ourselves, which is all He really wants.
I can wrap my head around this because to me, it’s active waiting. It feels like participation in my own life instead of passivity. Sure, there are times when we’re forced to pause and wait (such as in the airport), but when it comes to life with God, I’d much rather be a busy server than a discouraged traveler.
I remind myself that even the most discouraged travelers are still going somewhere. Waiting may be what I’m doing at the moment, but it’s still a necessary means to an end. While I’m standing in the line of my life, I can choose to trust that I will eventually reach my destination because there’s Someone directing my path.
So I’m just going to keep trusting. But if God sees fit to shorten the line, I won’t mind a bit.