Are we there yet? Are we there yet? Are we there yet?
Chances are if you’ve ever taken a road trip with your kids or grandkids, the above question was repeated from the little folks in the back seat of the car. We humans tend to be focused on getting there…anywhere…somewhere. We think in linear terms of moving toward an objective. We don’t do well with waiting. Even in our prayer life we point our prayers toward a particular direction and outcome. We prayforsomething which may or may not be the heart of God. We live in the past or the future and forgo the present moment missing the One who is waiting just to be with us and us with Him. We are always waiting forsomething from God rather than onGod Himself.
As I write this blog, I recall a trip our family made returning home from Pennsylvania to Illinois in the early 1960’s. Somewhere on the Indiana Turnpike, the engine in the family’s Rambler station wagon blew up. It was a big deal that caused us to get off the turnpike to find a garage to repair the car. As I recall the car was towed to a little town in Indiana. Dad found a motel cottage for us to stay for the few days it would take to get back on the road. While I remember Dad being concerned about the cost of the engine repair and getting back home to go to work, my memory goes to playing a game called Password in the cottage and playing catch with my brother Joe next to the cornfield behind the cottage and eating pancakes at a local diner. I don’t remember being concerned with getting home as much as enjoying just being in the moment in the old cottage. We were waiting together.
Recently, I was in the hospital with a perfect storm of medical issues, and felt totally out of control having to waitforthe doctors to get me right again. I lay in bed waiting for the doctors to let me go home even though I was in no shape to go anywhere. I was not able to sleep more than a few hours here and there due to the constancy of medical attention I required. I felt like the little kid again in the back seat of the station wagon asking, “Are we there yet? Are we there yet? After a few days of those times of seemingly purposeless impatience, I turned my attention to the present moment with God by listening to Scriptures via my cell phone. I immersed myself in the presence of God around me. Rather than waiting forthe next word from the doctors, I began to wait onthe Lord. I began to appreciate my wife and family and friends who came to visit me. And, amazingly, the same brother I played catch with in the cornfield behind the cottage more than fifty years before, drove several hours to be at my bedside again. (No catch or pancakes this time.) All of these represented the graceful presence and provision of God to me again. Rather than waiting forrelease, I was waiting onGod.
So what does it mean to wait on God? The common thought on waiting is standing around impatiently tapping our feet for something to happen or maybe for God to say something to us. Waiting seems like a static time when nothing is happening. But, in fact,waiting is active.
The Hebrew word translated wait, QAVAH, is first seen in Genesis 1:9 when God says, “Let all the waters under the heavens of the earth be gathered together into one place.” This is the key to waiting on God, to have all parts of us gathered together in one place focused on the presence of God. We find it difficult for all parts of us to be in one place at the same time. Our hearts, minds, and even our physical bodies are fractured and going in several different directions. We are not attending the presence of God. Our greatest resource for life comes as we are gathered together in one place waiting on the Lord rather than waiting for some outcome.
As I wait on the Lord, I am taught. Lead me in your truth and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all the day long.Psa. 25:5
As I wait upon the Lord, I find strength and courage. Be strong, and let your heart take courage, all you who wait for the LORD!Psa. 31:24
As I wait upon the Lord, I gain my inheritance and purpose in God. Wait for the LORD and keep his way, and he will exalt you to inherit the land.Psa. 37:34a
As I wait upon the Lord, I find hope. I wait for the LORD, my soul waits, and in his word I hope;Psa. 130:5
As I wait upon the Lord I am renewed. But they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.Is. 40:31
How, then, do we wait on God? We gather ourselves into the presence of God. Where is my heart focused? What occupies my mind? Where are my emotions coming from? Here are a few practical steps to waiting on the Lord.
Begin by sitting quietly in the presence of God. Be present to the moment and to the Spirit of God. As you sit quietly, do the following:
Take inventory of your thought life. Where does your heart go as you sit before the Lord? Does it go to worry or fear? Give them to the Lord.
What kinds of emotions flow from you? Anger? Shame? Anxiety? Release them to the Lord.
Your body may be an indication of a distracted unrest. Do you carry pain or stress in your body. As you become aware of any stress and tension release them to the Lord.
Revisiting the question, “Are we there yet?” the answer is, yes, we are there as we wait onthe Lord.