The Beauty of Waiting
by Katherine Britton
"Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord." - Psalm 27:14
Waiting seems to be a common theme in my circle of friends right now. For some, like my friend who was laid off twice in eight months, the long-awaited hope is a stable job in a tough economy. Others are biding their time, trying to find useful ways to serve and stay busy until God speaks. Some can see their heart's desire just across the room and yet must act as if it's a world away. Those finishing graduate school and starting new jobs find themselves waiting on new friends in new places.
This weekend, two of my dear friends reached the end of their wait. Their story waited for three years while they grew ever so slowly together. They might have constructed a different narrative for their story back then if they had had a choice, but as I watched her walk down the aisle, I wondered if she still felt the hurry. This bride and groom's circumstances refused to follow the seemingly most desirable timetable, and the monumental effort they both invested sometimes seemed ineffective. But I witnessed a tender moment as my friend walked towards her groom - her eyes never left his face, and he couldn't stop smiling at her. Those three years slipped by in a moment to reveal two people refined and beautiful.
I crave a destination, not the trip, so likening waiting to some over-spiritualized journey is lost on me. But I am a person who goes endures the racking climb to see the spectacular vantage point - I want to see the beauty of the Lord made known. Seeing my friends walk down the aisle gave me a similar feeling. I saw the beauty that had come from waiting - and that made the wait beautiful too.
Sitting at home tonight, my thoughts keep drifting back to Hannah, the prophet Samuel's mother. This dear woman endured years of childlessness, wanting a son so badly that the waiting made her sick. Her prayer was "remembered" after many tears and pleadings with God, and ultimately she gave the reward of her waiting. Yet her story concludes with a song, a beautiful meditation on the paradoxes of waiting on God to fulfill his promises. As she delivered her son to a lifetime of service - away from her, no less - she proclaimed, "My heart rejoices in the Lord… for I delight in your deliverance." This was a woman whose night of sorrow lasted for years, but even she saw the beauty of the morning.
My driving heart would like to think that good things come through waiting, but perhaps that understanding narrows the beauty of redemption. Why don't we extend the beauty to the waiting itself? As the song goes, "He makes all things beautiful in his time." Yes, even the waiting.