The doctor will see you “soon”.
You can pick up your Medium Mocha Frap, no whip, at the end of the counter in five minutes.
Just long enough at the red light to check gmail.
I’m sorry, the doctor is running a little behind, could I get you some coffee?
A bit over a month and it’ll be my birthday.
One Hundred Eighty-Four days until Christmas.
The doctor had an emergency and was called away. Could we reschedule your appointment? We have openings in six weeks.
Escaping Walmart starts with the stress of picking a cashier. I’m convinced this feeling that “I always end up in the slowest line” is universal. You can imagine standing, watching the shopper at the register hand over coupons and wrestle with their ATM card. Three people who were behind you are checked out! The kids are fidgeting. You have to go to the bathroom. Your nose is dripping, but you don’t have a Kleenex. You tailgate whoever is ahead of you all the way home. You stomp into the house, throw the plastic bags on the counter and jump into the App store, looking for a grocery delivery service. Like that would fix your problem.
There are a couple significant challenges with waiting. We are focused on what is coming – the weekend or a tasty beverage. Waiting is this collection of moments in which we do NOT have what we seek. It’s annoying, wasted, pointless time. We would rather simply have our needs met and move on.
What if something deep and valuable could happen in those spaces of unfulfilled desire?
Another challenge of waiting is this perpetual human desire to compare. The other line ALWAYS moves faster. We compare our sad lot with our friends on Facebook who are sky-diving, eating incredible meals and posting videos of their talented kids. And we’re still standing in customer service forty-five minutes later.
What if comparison is counter-productive?
And then sometimes we wait, invest the time, keep the good attitude, but end up empty. You’re telling me you can’t fix the van today?! Next week you need the van for another WHOLE DAY? And I waited at this counter forty-five minutes for you to tell me that? Do you people know I have a job and a life?!?
What if what you thought you wanted, wasn’t what you really wanted?
There is a little story in the first few verses of 1 Kings 17 about Elijah at the Brook Cherith. Do you know what happened at the brook? Nothing. Do you know who lives close to the brook? No one. How long was Elijah by the brook? We don’t know. The drought lasted three and a half years and Elijah split that time between Cherith and Zarephath. What ended Elijah’s time at Cherith? The brook dried up and Elijah left. The net value of the months or years Elijah sat by the Brook Cherith is to us an open question. I believe it was a crucial, perhaps formative time. We know Elijah left the brook and went on to demonstrate the awesome power of God to a watching nation.
Being a Jesus follower should impact the moments that I spend waiting. The perpetual presence of desire should point me toward ultimate fulfillment of those desires in Christ. My experiences are valid in that they are ordained by God and not in that they appear to be superior to those of others. The lack of results I perceive might be the exact result I need.