24 Jun Waiting Well (“Wait” Is a Four-Letter Word)
I’ve already settled in my heart that this Prologue message just might be the least listened-to message in the group. I’m fine with that; after all, who has time to wait or be patient? These are not necessarily the characteristics we pay the most attention to these days.
Reporter Linton Weeks put it this way:
In the past few decades we have become the Impatient Nation. We want quick answers to complex problems—the economy, diseases, personal relations.
We: Speed date. Eat fast food. Use the self-checkout lines in grocery stores. Try the “one weekend” diet. Pay extra for overnight shipping. Honk when the light turns green. Thrive or dive on quarterly earnings reports. Speak in half sentences. Start things but don’t fin…
We twitter stories in 140 characters or less, yet some tweets are too long. We cut corners, take shortcuts. We txt.
The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines patience as “the ability to remain calm and not become annoyed when waiting for a long time or when dealing with problems or difficult people.” We are all given opportunities to wait for a long time or to deal with problems. Many of us encounter this need for patience, perhaps at times with profound pain or frustration, in the waiting season before marriage.
Within a time of waiting, you will face off with the cheap or easy way out. At some point, most of us give into these opportunities—only to find ourselves in the same place somewhere down the road, again given the opportunity to acquire patience. This is no coincidence.
If you still don’t think this is on purpose, a lesson that must be learned—that patience is a characteristic that must be acquired for us to live vibrant, faith-filled lives—let’s get a glimpse of what Scripture says about it.
But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.… (Galatians 5:22-23 NLT, emphasis added)
Hopefully the Holy Spirit is operating in all of our lives. If He is, one of the attributes that should be active in us is patience. The most likely way that patience is produced is through our having to wait and hope for something past the point we think is reasonable.
Along with wanting to display the fruit of the Spirit, we all desire love—to be love, show love, have love. Here again we find the need for waiting, for love is patient (see 1 Corinthians 13:3 NIV).
Love is many things, but one of its primary attributes is patience. There’s no way around that. If you forfeit learning how to wait and be patient outside of marriage, you will certainly face off with it within the covenant of marriage. And even for those who do a marvelous job waiting outside of marriage, I’m sure a new level of understanding waits within it (I’ll let you know if/when I find out).
My hope is that this message will encourage you to persevere through your waiting season. Instead of viewing it as torture or punishment, view it as opportunity and advancement. And I pray that you will find yourself in community with others who encourage you along the way. I’ll be the first to tell you, “Nothing is wrong. This is purposeful.”
PROLOGUE is a series of free messages on marriage by members of the Messenger International team.