The difference between waiting and waiting well

(Photo: Unsplash/Levi Meir Clancy)

I meet people all the time who are waiting... Waiting on something, waiting for that next job to come along, waiting for a promotion, waiting for a special someone, waiting for a baby. But what I have learnt is at different seasons in our lives we are all waiting but not often do we wait well.

That waiting well looks entirely different to just simply waiting.

Recently I was waiting, waiting for a follow up appointment with a surgeon following an appendectomy. It was a straight forward procedure and I was convinced that I really didn't need this follow-up appointment. So after waiting for 60 minutes and having to already reschedule at least one other personal appointment that I had in my calendar I thought to myself if the specialist doesn't appear within 45 minutes I will leave.

Clearly I was becoming impatient, frustrated and I was just outright bored of waiting. Thankfully after another 35 minutes of waiting, having waited for a total of 95 minutes, the specialist came out and asked to see me. What followed was a shock to me. Though there were no complications with the appendectomy the pathology results showed I had a singular cancerous tumour growing in my appendix, which coincidentally the specialist had removed as a result of having removed my appendix.

Thankfully nothing further was required, only follow-up tests to confirm that no other cancer existed in my system.

Praise God that I had waited! That I hadn't grown so impatient that I had walked out and left the appointment that I deemed unnecessary.

But I just wonder how often we do this in life. We grow impatient, become frustrated and give up on things, give up on promises that Jesus has for us instead of just waiting that little bit longer to inherit them. The Bible talks a lot about waiting but more importantly, it teaches us how to wait.

The first thing we ought to do is to wait patiently. David teaches us this in the book of Psalms (Psalm chapter 37, versus 7). This should encourage us that sometimes we do have to wait a little big longer than we would actually like, that waiting patiently is actually an act of obedience in following Jesus.

The second thing we ought to do is to wait quietly (Psalm chapter 62, versus 5). You see people who have been waiting for even a short amount of time for something become angry and frustrated that things aren't going in their favour. You see this when driving and at the traffic lights.

Let alone people who have been waiting for years for something to come to pass. Often you find this type of person bitter, upset and very vocal about the injustice that they have felt. They often seem angry at the world and at God and generally they are doing anything but waiting quietly.

The third thing we ought to do is to wait expectantly (Psalm chapter 130, verses 5). I just spoke about the person who has grown impatient, frustrated, felt injustice but there are also people who become despondent, dismayed and depressed that the thing they have been waiting on hasn't yet come to pass. However, Scripture teaches us that we should wait with eager anticipation and hope in our hearts. We should be willing and ready for God to move.

Earlier, I wrote about my experience of waiting for a follow up appointment. I had not waited well but I certainly learnt a lot through this experience and was at least glad that I had waited for the surgeon and hadn't given up and walked off. But what I did learn through this experience of waiting is that when God wants to move, you need to be ready, you need to be expectant.

I believe this is why God takes us on this journey or season of waiting so that we will be ready for when He does want to do something.

Had I not waited I would have been none the wiser of the miracle that had been performed without my knowledge. At some point in our lives we are each faced with a decision to wait, but what is more important than that decision is actually how we choose to wait. Because it is how we choose to wait that will determine the outcome.