“40” from U2’s War album has been on repeat in my head for the past few days.
How long to sing this song?
How long…how long…how long…
I am in a time of waiting. Waiting for things that I presume shall fulfill my immediate longings and bring clarity and order to my life. Some of these things have been in the queue for months, and others for years. These desires can’t simply be forgotten. They are woven into my personal journey.
Waiting. Waiting. Day after day after month after month after year. How long will I wait? At this point, I am emotionally folding my arms, stomping my feet, and pouting like a 5-year-old in a corner!! I recognize this in myself, and it’s finally driven me to the question: How can I wait well with grace, poise, and dignity?
Compare the words of Isaiah 40:30-31 alongside those of David in Psalm 40, (which just so happens to be the “40” Bono is singing). Isaiah says that those who wait on the Lord will renew their strength, soar on wings like eagles, run and not grow weary, etc. Pssshaw! This all has not sat well with me. In my time of waiting, I haven’t felt exhilarated. I don’t feel strong, and I certainly don’t feel renewed. Waiting’s exhausting.
There’ s one keyword in these passages I’ve been glossing over: I’m weary because I am not waiting on the LORD….I’m waiting on the THING!!
So back to my question: how do I go about waiting well?
For one thing, the object of my desire simply cannot be a condition that defines my success. Consider the differences between a goal and a desire. Goals are achievable with hard work. Desires are different…think: aspirations, wishes, longings. They are arrows aimed at targets. We can do everything to set up perfect conditions for the arrow to hit that bullseye, and then we have to keep our fingers crossed that a rogue gust of wind doesn’t knock it off course.
I want some things really badly, but in reality, I have no control over whether they come to me. How much power am I giving those desires in my life? I don’t know. But it helps to identify what’s in my power to accomplish, versus what I can only cross my fingers for.
Secondly, I have recently noticed a few steps outlined in Psalm 40. I have to share, because it provides a little more clarity on how to wait, with excellence.
1. Choose patience in word and action. Though the waiting is at times a desperate feeling, our actions don’t have to be desparate. Feelings often catch up.
2. Believe He hears, upholds us and is our firm place to stand. No matter how long. He will deliver us from this, through this, or to something else. Belief is very empowering, and can carry us through times of uncertainty.
3. Get a new song in your mouth. (Sounds better than the 5-year-old whining I default to). The scripture says He puts it there! It doesn’t come from willpower! This new song is a hymn of praise for God and the beauty in creation that surrounds us. Honestly, it’s much more beautiful to everyone’s ears.
4. From a place of speaking, believing, seeing beauty…we are able to openly share the story of His goodness. What a place from which to encourage others!
Waiting, with his grace…