Throw Back Thursday This blog was first published on July 16, 2014.
Waiting for a doctor’s report? Waiting for a project to be finished? Waiting for a response via phone, text, Instagram or email? Waiting to see if someone is mad at you? Waiting for the right time to start the new health plan? Waiting for a pay raise? (Waiting for COVID-19 to be over?)
The great Dr. Seuss had a few things to say about waiting.
You can get so confused that you’ll start in to race down long wiggled roads at a break-necking pace and grind on for miles across weirdish wild space, headed, I fear, toward a most useless place.
The waiting place…
….for people just waiting. Waiting for the mail to come, or the rain to go or the phone to ring, or the snow to snow or waiting around for a Yes or No. …Waiting for a pot to boil, or a Better Break or a string of pearls, or a pair of pants or a wig with curls, or Another Chance. Everyone is just waiting.
Tony and I are in a waiting place. We feel God is up to something in our life. It is scary and exciting at the same time. The problem is we don’t know exactly what God is up to and we don’t know what it all means. We are waiting for God to show us. Waiting can be a difficult place.
I disagree with Dr. Seuss, though. Waiting IS NOT a useless place. What we do while we wait is what will determine whether it is useless or useful. Perhaps what Dr. Seuss may have been trying to convey was a warning. Waiting can be a dangerous place where we can get stuck immobilized leaving us in a pile of discouragement.
There’s a parable in the Bible, Matthew 25, about 3 servants who were given talents. Their Master gave each talents to manage while he was away. All three waited for their Master to return home with the hope of an “at a boy” or “good job.” What did they do while they waited?
Two of the servants took their talents and invested them, worked them, and used them. The return for their work while they waited for their Master to come back home was profitable. Their choice to actively wait multiplied their talents to give their Master back more than what he had entrusted them with. This granted them the “at a boy” they desired and resulted in the Master trusting them to manage even more talents.
Then there was the one who nervously waited for the Master’s return who did nothing with his talent except bury it in hopes it would not be stolen. This servant did not fare as well as the other two. His waiting fostered fear and it paralyzed him. His inactive waiting cost him his job.
We could wait with worry, what ifs, anxiously wanting to know an outcome, playing out in our mind every possible scenario. The more we wait like this the more we become stuck. Worry wants to grab the hand of waiting and drag us off to a dark alley whispering all sorts of nightmareish thoughts. Doubt emerges from the shadows and questions the goodness of God in our life. Fear joins this gang wanting to bound us and gag us while telling us to “stay put, stay safe, don’t move, do nothing.”
If we give into this type of waiting, then it is wasteful. Dr. Seuss’s picture of waiting becomes our reality. We become like the one servant who buried the talent. Waiting is a useless place.
We could wait with anticipation, expectantly with trust in God, maker of heaven and earth, trust He has a plan for us and holds our future regardless of any conjured up scenarios. Worry wants to grab the hand, but wonder wants to grab the hand too. Wonder leads us to a vast open field beaming with rays of sunshine encouraging us all the way with the truth of possibilities through God. Trust grabs the other hand and reminds us how faithful God has been throughout our life. Hope seizes the heart bursting with ideas of all that can be done while we wait. We need to be grateful and look for God’s presence right now, live fully in the now, be diligent with what we have now, and know God’s plans for us is a future filled with hope.
Waiting IS NOT a useless place. Waiting IS A most useful place. Waiting is a place of growth and grace, buds waiting to burst into bloom, a chrysalis waiting to become a beautiful butterfly, an acorn waiting to sprout into a mighty oak tree.
What can we do while we wait? What we do while we are waiting will determine whether our waiting is useless or useful.
Worry, doubt and fear call from a distance and brush over my hand wanting to drag me away from the warm field of possibilities. Dark alley or open field. Worry or wonder. Doubt or trust. Fear or hope. Useless or useful.
Writing this blog to encourage others in their waiting was one useful thing I did, while I am waiting for God to show me the next step. What are you going to do while you wait?
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Quote taken from Oh, The Places You’ll Go! by Dr. Seuss.