Learning to Wait
Those that wait on the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not faint.
— Isaiah 40:31
As I write this, my multiple sclerosis is causing some balance difficulties. My doctors are working with me to figure things out. MS is as unique as its victims are unique. Necessary to “figuring things out,” is waiting. There is a lot of trial and error, investigation, and time. It takes time. And then more time. I struggle to wait; to be patient.
Time is a valuable commodity to me. Part of my position in leadership was to make things happen in the appropriate time frame, to meet deadlines, to plan ahead timely to allow others to make their plans to coordinate. My pace has always been to move quickly between one thing and another. (My staff would often tease me, calling me the Energizer Bunny.) When I host our family of 19, I will spend the extra money to use the higher end disposable dishes, so I can have more time with them instead of cleaning up in the kitchen.
Wait can seem like a bad four letter word. (My mom used to refer to bad words as “four letter” words?) Waiting often feels excruciating to me, but I use the wait time to think through solutions. Perhaps losing weight will help with my mobility – my attempts all seem to fail. Failure feels very heavy to carry. Perhaps a defined exercise routine would help - I struggle to motivate myself to override the chronic pain I feel. Right now, I feel weak all over, physically, emotionally, and spiritually.
My first thought of the word “wait” is to be patient and still. I know the Lord is asking that of me in this season of my life, but a recent devotional encouraged me to also think of “wait” as being expectantly watchful … to wait on the Lord like a waiter watches his customers. This viewpoint interests me.
His Word says He will renew my strength. Not having a set structure or routine actually makes me cringe some days. I have grown so accustomed to living that way. But I can choose – Will I be frustrated or will I be intrigued? I choose the later. I want being intentional with my attitude to be my goal.
Making a list of the good reasons for waiting seems like a good idea. For a long time, I have served large groups. Now I have more time for one-on-one relationships. Rather than leading groups to follow a vision, I can discover unique qualities in individuals and suggest ways they can use them in ministry. I can work alongside people whose expectations might be different than mine. I know that as I step out of my human response and love others as the Lord does, He is glorified. In those moments, I can live out the Gospel.
I am looking to the Father to see how I can serve in this season of limitations. It is my heart’s desire to please Him. I am enjoying being “available” as needs arise. I am able to help those who are hurting by being a good listener, sharing my story and God’s story. My grandchildren and children call me to help out with transportation. (Thankfully I can still drive, at least locally.) I love having time to Skype with my sister. We enjoy devotions together. I am so grateful for the time and great technology that allows me to connect with my sister who lives over 6 hours away. I can spend more time with my prayer partner. I can reconnect with old friends. I look forward to my husband’s return from work each day, I even stenciled on the steps from the garage to the house, “So glad you’re home”. While I am waiting in a line at the grocery store, I silently pray for the people around me or the cashier as they busily handle each customer. My need to always be doing something insists I search to find movement, even in the “wait.”
Choosing to be comfortable with “waiting” takes the sting out of being still. My life story feels more like a new adventure unraveling.
Be still and know that I am God
— Psalm 46:10
I am learning to avoid the rush. Actually, my brain no longer allows me to do anything quickly, my speedometer is stuck on slow. My doctor tried to explain this to me. Fast, which felt comfortable to me, now triggers a stress emotion. However, me being me, I had to discover this new reality my doctor tried to share for myself, and the hard way.
I have always believed that rushing allowed me to accomplish more – and that was more helpful to others. I’ve had to rethink the wisdom of that perspective.
Even though my life still feels awkward at times, I am learning to savor waiting on the Lord. Maneuvering through life daily, waiting patiently for solutions, is teaching me to live at a slower, more restful pace. Living expectantly feels exhilarating. I am grateful. I am watching and waiting on the Lord for what is to come, what He has in store for my story.
Lord, please help me to celebrate waiting on You. Help me to use the time that I need to be still to lift others up in prayer. Help me to be watchful, expectant, and in awe of Your incredible love for me as I wait for Your plans for my story. Thank you for the many blessings I enjoy. Please help me to live grateful.
— By Sherry Bitler, Guest Writer