I Hate To Wait…But It’s Good For Me When I Have To

Once when an old friend asked me how I was doing, I jokingly said Eeyore-like, “I have it worse than anybody.” This triggered about 15 minutes of sparring as to whose life is more miserable. He’d recently bought a house and lamented having so much “stuff” he just didn’t know where to put it. He couldn’t figure out where to store his boat and Corvette. His family and friends compounded his misery by giving him a ton of housewarming gifts.

“That’s nothing,” I said, “I have to live with myself in all my complexity and complicatedness.” He had to concede – I have it worse than anybody.

The truth is, I have it better than most people. But like most of us affluent Americans, I must battle discontentment. God has many weapons in his arsenal to search and destroy this sin, but one of his best is making us wait. As he says in Lamentations 3:

“The LORD is my portion,” says my soul,
“therefore I will hope in him.”

The LORD is good to those who wait for him,
to the soul who seeks him.
It is good that one should wait quietly
for the salvation of the LORD. (24-26)

I hate to wait. I’m like the band Queen, who sang, “I want it all and I want it now.” Why is it good to wait for the Lord? Because waiting is the soil where patience and contentment grow. And they are sweet when they bloom in our soul. How can we be content while waiting? By making Jesus Christ our portion, the one who satisfies us with his love as we wait for him and seek him. He gives us himself, the best thing he could possibly give us.

Why is it good to wait for the Lord? Because waiting is the soil where patience and contentment grow.

My mom first taught me a wonderful way to cultivate contentment while waiting. I was 23, jobless, broke and had just moved back home from an aborted attempt at making it as an artist in Philadelphia. She told me the Bible says to give thanks for everything. “For everything?” I blurted, “Even a flat tire? I’m supposed to thank God for a flat tire?” Mom said, “Yes, because up the road there’s an accident that God spared you from by flattening your tire.” So I tried it. I was building a patio for my parents. As I lugged flagstones in the summer heat, I said, “Lord, thank you for these stones. Thank you for this miserable heat. Thank you that I don’t have any money. Thank you that I don’t have a job. Thank you that I am stuck living here at home with my parents.” Do you know what happened? I gradually began to experience joy and contentment in Christ. Though Jesus didn’t immediately change my circumstances he began to change my heart.

Why not take a minute right now to give Jesus thanks for your life exactly as it is? Thank him for the stones and the heat and for having to wait for him. And ask him to be your portion.

Mark Altrogge

I’m a pastor at Saving Grace Church in Indiana, PA. I’m married to Kristi, have 5 kids, and a growing number of grandkids. I enjoy songwriting, oil painting and coffee, not necessarily in that order.

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