Can You Wait?
Photo credit: Jacob Bøtter, retrieved from http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Crocus-jakecaptive.jpg)
by Susan Hitchman
Why do we buy potted tomato plants in spring instead of tomato seeds in winter? Why do we see movies on their opening weekend instead of several weeks or months later? Why do we stop by fast food restaurants instead of pulling a recipe book out of the cupboard?
Because we are a generation that just cannot wait.
Some things can’t be rushed, though. The crocuses and hyacinths that are flaunting their purple petals in the garden kept us waiting all winter to see their fresh spring faces. The newborn baby that was due a week earlier kept her family wondering, breathlessly awaiting her arrival.
And prayer is a lot like spring flowers and babies’ births.
James, bishop of the first church in Jerusalem, wrote about the relationship between prayer and waiting, saying:
Be patient, then, brothers…( James 5: 7-18, NIV).
Just like the farmer waits for crops to ripen and rains to come, we pray and wait. Just like believers anticipate Christ’s return, we pray and wait. Just like Job yearned for better times and we long for suffering to be over, we pray and wait.
There is nothing instant about the process of prayer, is there?
James reminds us that even Elijah, the LORD’s prophet, needed to wait. He waited three long years to have his prayer answered, ending a paralyzing drought. And somehow, James invites us to be women and men like Elijah.
He coaxes us to accept the challenge, to see prayer as an identifying marker of our faith. It is an expression of our belief in the immortal, invisible, eternal One who exists outside of time. For Him, a day is no different than a thousand years, or a thousand years than a day.
From His vantage point, God can see when a prayer’s answer will most transform lives.
And while we wait, God is not idle. We who pray are being changed; our faith is stretched, our motives are purified, our concern for others is deepened. We become as we pray.
Make a mental note: the next time we see a spring flower or a baby, a new blockbuster or a fast food restaurant, let’s think about prayer and waiting. Let’s embrace the partnership between the two that can be, as James reminds us, powerful and effective.
We who believe are called to wait.
The One who calls us is faithful and He will do it.
There is nothing instant about the process of prayer, is there? (tweet this)
We who believe are called to wait. (tweet this)
Sue seeks to integrate the adventure of following Christ with her roles as wife, mother of five, co-leader of a women’s Bible study group and parent prayer group, and retreat speaker. She is a member of The Word Guild and NCWA. Outdoor pursuits (cycling, gardening, hiking, & kayaking) remind her of God’s creative bent and constant presence. She writes to encourage others in their journey of faith in God. Visit her blog at: Word Made Flesh