Recently, I learned something about myself that I really do not like. I am very poor at waiting! I wake in the morning with a “Hurry Up” attitude. I rush to the kitchen to start the coffeepot and then wait for it to brew. While trying to listen to the morning news, I quickly made my toast. Gulping breakfast down with my second cup of coffee, I was off to the bathroom for a quick shower and shave. Then I jumped into my jeans, shirt and shoes and was off to my doctor’s office -- and then I realized that I had hurried only to wait! Waiting my turn seemed twice as long as it really was. Then I wondered, how much time had I really saved and for what?
For most of us, life is just one big hurry up and wait! Through the years, I have tried to make positive use of that waiting time. So, controlling my impatience, I returned to my effort to use each minute well. Looking around, I discovered the prettiest three year old, well-behaved little girl. I spent some time just soaking up the wonder of a little child. I got acquainted with her father and mother – Army people.
There was an elderly lady who had recently undergone surgery on her arm and we exchanged miseries and pleasantries, and then an acquaintance who I had known for nineteen years came in. I learned that because of severe illness, she had to retire. I offered words of encouragement. After a while, a lady with no legs came in, and all I had time for was a smile and she smiled in return; and then I was ushered into a little room to wait some more! What could I do while waiting?
I remembered some truths given in God’s Word. The Apostle Paul admonished us to “Buy up the time!” So, I began working on a sermon idea, “When Time is No More” and another idea, “While Waiting, What Kind of a Person Should I Be?” Sensing my failure to always use time well and my need for patience while waiting, I “gossiped” to the Good Lord about me and I prayed for the physicians who were so busy at the task of making life better for so many patients.
Reflecting upon my attitude and impatience at having to wait, I remembered a favorite Psalm, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in time of trouble, therefore we will not fear.” (Psalm 46:1-2) Regardless of what happens, He is in control! “The Lord of hosts is with us.” (Psalm 46:7) Then the verse really spoke to me, “Be still and know that I am God: I will be exalted in the earth.” (Psalm 46:10) I was reminded that this time spent waiting was just what I needed to “Be still” and experience God’s presence. Lord, thank You for time to wait in Your presence.
E. J. Bradshaw is Director of Missions for Vernon Baptist Association, Leesville, LA.