One thing that most of us have a difficult time with is waiting. Right? At a stoplight…in a check-out line…for test results. Waiting seems pointless. It can make us edgy, disgruntled, and anxious. On the surface, the time we spend waiting each week simply feels like a huge waste.
But, could “waiting” and “silence” prove to be more than just fruitless time?
I often think that God is asking us to just sit in silence with Him, even though He may not be speaking any words or revealing anything at that moment. Simply waiting with Him can bring peace and comfort. True friends can wait with each other without saying a word. He may just want us to rest with Him, assured of our love.
I recently had the opportunity to enjoy a juicy example of how waiting can prove fruitful after all. We had planted a Satsuma orange tree about five or six years ago. We were immediately eager to reap the benefits of our little citrus tree. Nothing. Year after year, we watered and nurtured it, only to have small green fruit the size of a pencil eraser grow and then fall off.
To be honest, we wanted to give up on that tree. We had almost thrown in the towel because it didn’t bear fruit. BUT! Guess what? This year, our little green fruit didn’t fall off. They grew and grew…into nice, plump, juicy, ripe, orange, seedless, easy-to-peel, delectable fruit! And, all it took was….yes….waiting.
Should we allow God to spend more time on us? I think so.
Last week, God showed me another glimpse of how waiting can be rewarding. I was at church, waiting in line to go to confession. I was a bit antsy, since it had been, um, a little too long since the last time I stood in that line. In the quiet of God’s house, I examined my conscience and reflected on the ways that I had offended the Lord.
While I waited, an elderly gentleman slowly opened the church’s door. Step by step, he used his walker and carefully made his way to the line where I stood. We exchanged smiles and then he told me a story. He said he had just gotten back from the nursing home where his wife lives. He told me that he fed her her supper and proceeded to tell me that his wife suffers from Alzheimer’s. He said, “She doesn’t recognize me or even know that I'm there, but I still go. I’ve been feeding her her supper every evening for the last four years.”
Every single evening for the last FOUR YEARS! Of course, by this point, there are tears (big ones) welling up and I’m trying to fight them back. I don’t cry pretty. Never have. When I cry, it’s ugly – it’s a big, red, swollen mess of ugly. So, I managed to say, “Awww - she knows you’re there,” and then I quickly bowed my head to reflect on what I had just heard this man share with me.
I was so moved that I was able to witness an example of unconditional love – living in the flesh, standing right beside me. This is also the type of love that Jesus has for us. Doesn’t it all sound so familiar? God, like this sweet man to his wife, is there, day after day, loving us and caring for us and sometimes we don’t even recognize that it's Him? But, He still shows up. Every. Single. Day. This is God’s love. And, I experienced all of this while “waiting” in line.
After confession, I was reminded again of God’s beautiful grace. My burdens felt lighter. I was peaceful. It always amazes me how the sacrament of Reconciliation can do that. It’s like the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser – there is no stain that God can’t remove through His immense love for us. Incredible (both the Magic Eraser and the Sacrament).
Instead of fighting it, when God says, “Wait with me,” I think I will. I will learn to wait. I've seen that wonderful things can happen while waiting. My succulent Satsuma even says so!