DMVs, airports, Post Offices, the doctor. What do these places have in common that causes me to cringe even typing the words? Waiting. Standing still. Not being somewhere else. Having zero control over anything. Never mind the fact that nowadays we have the entire Internet at our fingertips and can read a book, creep on the activity of all of our friends who are not presently stuck in a waiting room or purchase something on Amazon. It is an awful feeling to have to sit in a holding pattern and have no guarantee when the waiting will end.
Life these days is more and more being engineered to where we don’t have to wait. New phones show up in the mail without having to go stand in line at Verizon or the AT&T store. New movies are downloadable without even having having to go to a RedBox, much less a Blockbuster store where you would rent a VHS tape that had to be rewound like back in the day. (To my younger readers, yes that actually happened.) Arguments are easily settled simply by asking Siri or spending ten seconds on Google. Less and less is gratification deferred. More and more everything we want is available on-demand. That phrase is telling. On-Demand. We strut about like little emperors receiving everything we want simply by pushing a button or voice-cue (a buggy feature which we complain about when it doesn’t works as though life were just oh so cruel.)
There is no doubt the world has violently changed and it will only get crazier in the days to come. One has to wonder what impact this will have on the invisible parts of who we are. One obvious downside is that the less we have to wait the worse we become at waiting when we have to. Flight delays, full queues, and lines of people stress me out to the max. I went to the DMV needing to renew my drivers license a while back. When I saw the crowded waiting room and began to comprehend the fact that there was no way around this line, I genuinely felt myself panic.
What about the upside of waiting? The character that it builds. The way our souls are stretched and honed through it. The way it gives us the opportunity to exercise faith and build patience. In the book of Proverbs we are told that when hope is deferred it makes the heart sick, but when the desire comes it is a tree of life. Translation: Good things come to those who wait.
I saw a special on Tabasco sauce recently that was stunning. What was most amazing to me was hearing that it takes four and a half years to make a batch of the hot red condiment! They put it into barrels and let it age for almost five years. Talk about patience. Why? You just can’t rush perfection. Think about that next time you douse your eggs with a bottle of the stuff. No, it is no fun to wait. But if you feel like you are in limbo today, know this, God hasn’t forgotten you, He is trying to grow good things inside of you. I don’ t know about you, but I want to be like Tabasco.