This beautiful pink blossom, the color of cotton candy, appeared on an old bromeliad plant that had stood on our patio for several years. I lost patience many times and wanted to throw the plant out. It wasn't doing what it was supposed to do; produce a lovely flower now and then. Our neighbor Jim encouraged me to keep it, water and feed it, and one day we'd see the fruit of our labor. I had great doubt, but kept it sitting there, taking up room, doing nothing.
Jim was right, one day I was startled to see a blossom ready to open. I wanted to have him come over to see it, but he wasn't feeling well. He was then hospitalized and diagnosed with a bad infection. After a couple of weeks, he came home to recover. But the Lord took him to heaven on August 4th, and he never got to see the results of my impatient wait. Jim was a very positive person, always smiling, an artist, musician, surfer and a very good neighbor; we'll miss him. Every time I look at this flower, I think of him and appreciate his encouragement and zest for life.
"I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his word I put my hope." Psalm 130:5
Sometimes I feel life is a 'waiting game'. The one who waits most patiently, wins. We are always waiting for something - and this starts at a very young age. Parents wait for their child to be able to sit alone, crawl, and take their first steps. When they do, we parents often lament, "We want those wonderful baby days back, our child is growing too fast!" Human dissatisfaction abounds.
Most of us could make long lists of things we've waited for or are waiting for right now. I have no doubt that God's timing is perfect but always waiting can be agonizing. I want life to fall into place according to my timing. I think it's wise to look at the original Greek and Hebrew for a fuller understanding. Sometime a brief study will totally illuminate a passage of Scripture.
The Hebrew word for 'wait' is qavah and literally means to bind together like a cord made of several strings woven together to make it stronger. The Greek word is proskartereo and implies a consistent show of strength, endurance, a willingness to prevail and make an intense effort to stay in a fixed direction. As I write this last line, I'm reminded of a verse in Hebrews 4: 9 -11.
"There remains then a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; for anyone who enters God's rest also rests from his own work, just as God did from his. Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will fall by following their example of disobedience."
I find this to be a fascinating passage. The reference to God resting from his work refers to the seven days of creation. On the 7th day, God rested. You may believe that these were seven literal days, or picture creation coming from a 'timeless' God - "With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day." II Peter 3:8. Either way, God rested from His works and encourages us to also rest in His Son, Jesus. We can see a struggle is involved in these words, "make every effort." Our natural tendency is to roll up our sleeves, get busy and make it happen!
It doesn't work this way in God's Kingdom. We gain strength when we are 'bound together' in the Lord - Father, Son and Holy Spirit. He has a plan and purpose for all He's doing. We live out our life on earth one day at a time, but God sees the beginning and the end. The timing of our life events has been woven into the history He has purposefully planned for us. At an appointed time, Jesus Christ appeared on earth as our Lord and Savior. For those who believe in Him, Jesus has won the battle in their behalf. Do you know that Psalm 139:16 states that every day of our life has been written in a book before there was even one? Even in this age of the 'un-believable', this is hard to comprehend.
This doesn't mean we wonder about aimlessly or sit on the couch watching movies and eating popcorn all day - no, we'll have a plan and will find ourselves 'waiting' for something to happen. But, we'll be waiting on the One who holds time in His hand, not our imperfect world to 'get it done'. We will be able to adjust our agenda as we sense shifting sands around us.
"The one who calls you is faithful and he will do it."
I Thessalonians 5:24
When we replace waiting with faith, our wait will be more peaceful. Bottom line, it's the ONE we're waiting on that matters, not WHAT we're waiting for. I'm so glad I didn't lose patience and throw that ugly plant out; the Lord's timing was perfect.