“Hurry up and wait!” I heard that often enough during my years of military service. Waiting was as difficult as busy work, which was meaningless toil, drudgery, to prevent just sitting around waiting. There are other sorts of waiting, too. School kids “wait” for the bell to ring during last period so they can zip out the door to freedom. A parent waits late into the night for his or her teenager to return home from a date. And there’s the waiting of a Believer, a Follower of Y’shuaJesus, waiting for the Trumpet to call us to be with the Lord.
Waiting’s hard work. While driving truck, after delivering a load I often had to wait for another assignment. It could come at any time, too. Depending where I was, I might be able grab a quick shower at a truck stop that was close to where I delivered. Or perhaps grab a meal, if convenient. More often, I simply parked in the parking lot outside the plant to which I’d delivered and waited. I tried to read, but would find myself looking often and anxious at the Qualcom, the communications system on which I’d get a load assignment. It was hard to relax between loads unless I knew I had a set amount of time. Once, after delivering a load south of Dallas, Texas, I pulled into a dirt lot next to a restaurant, and went in for a meal. Every fifteen minutes I’d go out and check to see if a message arrived on the Qualcom. I was there about a couple of hours when I received a telephone call from the dispatcher asking why I hadn’t responded to the dispatch message. I went immediately out to the truck, but there was nothing there. He had to verbally dispatched me to a steel plant for a load going into Georgia. Not a bad run, but one I almost missed if I hadn’t had a cell phone with me. I took another twenty minutes or so after pulling out of the parking lot to receive the written dispatch on the Qualcom. Perhaps the metal building walls reflected the satellite signals, preventing me from receiving the dispatch. I don’t know.
Waiting is hard work. It is also a dangerous time; it is a time when we can be distracted and wander off in some other direction. There’s a story that Y’shuaJesus told about the maidens that fell asleep, letting their lamps go out. And in Luke chapter 12, after Y’shuaJesus talks about laying up treasure in Heaven, He talks about what to do while playing the waiting game.
Let your loins be girded about, and your lights burning; And ye yourselves like unto men that wait for their lord, when he will return from the wedding; that when he cometh and knocketh, they may open unto him immediately. Blessed are those servants, whom the lord when he cometh shall find watching: verily I say unto you, that he shall gird himself, and make them to sit down to meat, and will come forth and serve them. And if he shall come in the second watch, or come in the third watch, and find them so, blessed are those servants. And this know, that if the goodman of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched, and not have suffered his house to be broken through. Be ye therefore ready also: for the Son of man cometh at an hour when ye think not.
Matthew Henry commented on this scripture that Y’shuaJesus, “charges them to get ready, and to keep in a readiness for Christ’s coming, when all those who have laid up their treasure in heaven shall enter upon the enjoyment of it.” So there are two elements, according to Mr. Henry, in this waiting game. First, get ready; second, stay ready. That means waiting is active. It isn’t just standing around. Sometimes we are likened to servants whose master has gone away. Picture a servant standing by the door awaiting his master, doing nothing, just waiting. Probably not the best way to wait, I’m thinking.
So it seems there is good waiting and poor waiting. I’m on the poor side of waiting a lot of the time, especially when it comes to cooking. Even with a timer set, I’ll often just stand watching, waiting for the timer. In some of my best moments in the kitchen, I’ve put a pot of water on the heat, and while waiting for it to boil, done other things in the kitchen, or in the laundry room next to it. I’ve gotten distracted, too. I’ve left a pot to boil until nearly dry, and once totally ruined a batch of steamed vegetables.
Additionally, playing this waiting game takes balance and awareness. I’m thinking of when Y’shuaJesus went into the house of Martha and Mary. Martha was too busy to sit with Y’shua while Mary did only sit with Him. Y’shua said Mary picked the best of the two extremes. Y’shua hasn’t come into our house physically yet, so perhaps we need to be active while at the same time foster the spiritual communion with our Lord that He desires. But is our activity just busy work. What we do, is it necessary? Or is just something to fill the space between other things? Back to the kitchen. Perhaps when there is two minutes to wait for some vegetables to steam, it’s okay not to always have to be doing something. Perhaps standing in front of the stove is okay, and using that very moment to consider the One for Whom we wait to return. We can offer words of Praise, offering hearts of Worship, and we can offer prayers.
Occupying my waiting time then is a balance of activity that is purposeful, balanced with the spiritually uplifting elements of Praise, Worship, Prayer. And in all this activity, in all that I do, all must be done as to the Lord.
Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men. . .
Lord Bless, Keep, Shine. . .