Standing in line at Walmart to return a string of lights ignited my impatient heart as if it was a rocket. Upon arrival, my #8 place in line might as well have been on the moon as there was only one customer service representative. It didn’t take long to determine she had no interest in moving this line along. After ten long minutes of watching her struggle to help the woman at the front of the line, she left mid-transaction and a new gal took over for awhile. Before me stood four cash registers crying for a representative to help speed this line along. Just to our left six female customer service reps stood talking to each other about their weeekend. And to our right, one young male representative spent over 15 minutes chatting amiably with an elderly woman as he held her new cat house. I began to fantasize he would take her purchase to her car and return to rescue us from this line. The clock on the wall ticked and after 45 minutes my internal clock was going bonkers. We had not moved one inch in this line and no one was rescuing us. I knew we were a thin cord away from my finding a manager and giving him or her a piece of my mind. Then reason arrived and I realized I didn’t have any gray matter I really wanted to leave at WalMart. So I took a deep breath and maintained my #8 place in line. With a little effort, I diverted my mind to more productive uses and lowered my blood pressure in the process. It was obvious I wasn’t going anywhere in the near future, so I might as well make the best of it. Maybe I’d just make a list of all the things God has done for me this year and praise Him. No doubt He would pay closer attention to me than any manager to a complaining customer.
I’d been patting myself on the back these past two weeks as we waited on word from our prospective buyer for our home. They had called late on a Friday afternoon to say they were removing the contingency off the contract and that all the paperwork would come on through on Monday when the banks opened. Believing her at her word, we set out for Nashville to select a neighborhood, a lot, and a floor plan so we could get a contract in place for our new home. After all, it would take 150 days given the holidays and impending bad weather at this time of year to build the house. Since we had to make a trip there anyway, we decided it wouldn’t hurt to clear the house of all the boxes we had packed–just get this stuff a little closer to its final destination instead of having it underfoot. And the weather was good at the moment which we couldn’t count on at the end of December/January. So my husband drove the truck packed with our belongings and I followed in our car. We accomplished all the things we set out to finalize, but the paperwork hadn’t come through from our buyer. When we returned home on Saturday, we discovered our buyers had hit a snag in financing. Now what? Start marketing the house all over again? Are we to continue waiting on this prospective buyer or are we waiting on another buyer? It didn’t really matter. . . we were thrust into a holding pattern. CHOICE! Would we throw up our hands in despair. Maybe a rant or two would feel good especially if we could stomp our feet a time or two. You know the feeling.
Instead, we looked at each other and said, “God’s got this. He knows where we need to be and when we need to be there. He has promised to lead, guide, guard, protect and provide for us. Let’s trust Him with this.” So we took a deep breath and found that faith and trust is a good place to dwell. The Lord has assured us we need not be anxious for anything but simply to pray and trust Him. He says if we wait upon Him, He will renew our strength and we will mount up with wings like eagles(Isaiah 40:31). While our faith in the economy, the real estate process, our buyer, etc. isn’t very high, our faith in God is at an all-time high. Faith isn’t faith until it’s tested.
That Sunday morning’s message was on Paul’s journey in Acts 16. He had set out for Phyrgia and Galatia, but the Spirit did not permit him to preach in Asia. Then he tried to go to Bithynia, but the Spirit did not let him go there either. My husband and I looked at each other. Was this message for us? Over lunch as we discussed the message, we felt comforted that even the Apostle Paul didn’t always know where God wanted him to go next. The important thing was that he made himself available to God — wherever/whenever. And God led Him and used Him.
Are you feeling anxious over little things that cause you to wait? Are major life changes or choices looming overhead causing anxiety about your future? Is God testing your patience? God didn’t promise us He would lay out our life’s plan like a roadmap and send us off to complete it. Instead He said, “Come, follow me. I will lead you. I will be with you” (Matthew 4). He promises us that patience will have a perfect work and we will be wanting for nothing (James 1).
While the control side of me likes to know all the details and have a plan I can execute, I’ll gladly trade it in for the promises of my great and gentle Shepherd. So if you find you are anxious in the waiting, find a quiet place, if only in your mind, that you can fill with praise. God promises us that if we keep our minds focused on Him, He will keep us in perfect peace. Why? Because we trust in Him (Isaiah 26:3).
So next time you are forced to wait, thank God for the opportunity to build strong muscles of faith in you. Our faith pleases Him (Hebrews 11:6).