"As for Saul, he was yet in Gilgal, and all the people followed him trembling. And he tarried seven days, according to the set time that Samuel had appointed: but Samuel came not to Gilgal; and the people were scattered from him."
I Samuel 13: 7, 8, King James Version
"Patient waiting is often the highest way of doing God's will."
What am I waiting for in my life right now?
What do I think God may be helping me learn during this, "waiting time"?
"Our impatience only learns patience through the thorn of delay and darkness."
J. Charles Stern
"Life is a symphony, and we lose a third of it by cutting out the slow movement."
I love music. Every morning, after thanking my Father for the new day, I go turn on the CD player. Much of what I enjoy relates to the classical music that filled our home as I was growing up. While my parents didn't have a lot of extra money, they faithfully saved each year so that at some point, we would get to hear a symphony orchestra play live.
A "symphony" is usually defined as a piece of music with at least three movements. Each movement has its own unique style and speed.
Of all the symphonies ever composed, my absolute favorite is Sergei Rachmaninov's Piano Concerto No. 2 in C minor, Opus 18. Forget all the numbers I just listed, there's only one thing I can say about this piece of music, it's "perfect!" Like most symphonies, this piece has three movements:
I. Moderato; II. Adagio Sostenuto; III. Allegro Scherzando. The first movement crafts a beautiful, well-modulated harmony for the piece. The final movement, number 3, is fast and precise. And then there's the second movement. If you have never heard it, I encourage you to lie down in a quiet place and let this soothing melody float around you. No matter how stressed-out I am, when I hear the second slower movement of this symphony, it calms me down. If I'm in a hurry, it slows me down. The frustration of waiting never enters my mind when I am listening to this piece of music. This fact set me to thinking about the way I normally feel when I have to wait.
I must admit, waiting is annoying. Several weeks ago I went to see my doctor. She usually runs behind but I forgive her because she never makes her patients feel rushed and she always takes time to listen. When I go to see her, I plan ahead. I take along a book or a journal to write in. However, on this particular day, there was a lady in the office who was furious because she had to wait. It became obvious she didn't have a critical medical problem, she just didn't want to wait to be seen, and I could understand her concern. We all can. But here's where things got out-of-hand. She started calling everybody (it seemed like) on her cell phone list, telling them about her predicament. As time went by, her voice got louder and louder until she was bellowing so noisily, everyone in the waiting room was staring at her and finally, the poor receptionist, had to ask her, politely I might add, to tone it down. The response from this woman was predictable. She threw her phone down on a chair, grabbed her purse, and in no uncertain terms informed all of us she would never be coming back to this office again.
Later, I found out that the delay that morning was due to the unexpected emergency of an
80-year-old patient who needed to be seen and it disrupted the entire schedule.
The story of Saul, which we are studying right now, reminds me so much of my "waiting room" experience.
Samuel told Saul to wait for him for seven days in Gilgal. Whatever the reason, after 7 days, Samuel didn't arrive at the agreed upon destination. At this point in time, Saul had two choices. First, he could have waited until Samuel arrived. Up to this point in time, Samuel had more than proved his trustworthiness, not only to God but to all the children of Israel. Samuel's delay didn't mean he wasn't coming. Samuel's delay didn't mean he didn't care about Saul. But instead of waiting and encouraging the children of Israel to do the same, Saul plowed ahead with his own ideas, the people scattered, and the result was disaster for everyone.
Author Harry Emerson Fosdick penned these words about what can result when instead of becoming impatient during "waiting times," we choose to wait with patience:
"The most extraordinary thing about the oyster is this. Irritations get into his shell. He does not like them. But when he cannot get rid of them, he uses the irritation to do the loveliest thing an oyster ever has a chance to do. If there are irritations in our lives today, there is only one prescription: make a pearl. It may have to be a pearl of patience, but, anyhow, make a pearl." How about today, during our waiting time, let's make pearls, those beautiful luminous gifts, which crafted during the tough times, are enjoyed so much when the waiting time is over.
"Never think that God's delays are God's denials. Hold on; hold fast; hold out."
Comte de Buffon
The Whole Earth's a Waiting Room
"We wait - all day long,
for planes and buses,
for dates and appointments,
for five o'clock and Friday.
Some of us wait for a Second Coming.
For God in a whirlwind.
All around us people are waiting:
a child, for attention;
a spouse, for conversation;
a parent, for a letter or call.
The prisoner waits for freedom;
and the exile, to come home.
The hungry, for food;
and the lonely, for a friend.
The whole earth's a waiting room!
"The Savior will see you now"
is what we expect to hear at the end.
Maybe we should raise our expectations.
The Savior might see us now
if we know how to find Him.
Could it be that Jesus, too, is waiting
for us to know He is around?"
Joseph T. Nolan
Let the Earth Rejoice!
Scripture, Prayers, and Poems for the More Abundant Life
Dorothy Valcàrcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
P.S. My book, When A Woman Meets Jesus, is now available wherever books are sold and on the internet at www.amazon.com, Christianbook.com, or by calling toll-free, 1-800-Christian. You can also go to www.whenawomanmeetsjesus.com and purchase the book through Paypal for $10.00.
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