Updated: May 27
As a kid, I experienced it all the time. Most of us have. Who among us had the patience as a child to wait for the glue to dry on that model airplane, antique car, or house built of popsicle sticks? If you’re anything like me, that model completely fell apart in our hands because we picked it up too soon. Usually my impatience stemmed from the anticipation of something good. “I’m hungry, what time is dinner?” “Mom, when is Grandma coming?” Or, “I’ve been waiting forever. How many more days until my birthday?” I would mark the days on my calendar. I made a chain out of colored paper and eagerly ripped away each ring in the chain every morning counting down to the first day of summer vacation. I wrote down each number of the 45 days in a little assignment notebook and ripped out a numbered page each night as I counted down to leaving for college. Suffice it to say, I’ve never been one to enjoy the wait.
Now, before you jump to conclusions, insisting that my impatience was just a normal part of childhood, let me assure you, I am no better as an adult. Nope, not one bit. Of all of life’s experiences, simply waiting is the greatest form of torture I know. Waiting to hear if you got the job. Waiting to see where you would move and in which city you would be living. Waiting to meet your future spouse. Waiting 9 months to see your newborn. No, wait, I was okay with waiting for that- I mean who really looks forward to going through labor? I digress. Waiting for months for a specialty doctor’s appointment. Waiting for weeks for a surgery date. Waiting for 12 more weeks to return to work. It seems that life for adults and children alike is all about the wait.
Now while we all complain about things like waiting in line at the DMV, apparently there are those among us who are just fine with waiting. Who make the most of time while they are waiting. Who even ENJOY waiting. While I don’t claim to know such unicorns, some of their personality traits may include being resilient, silent observers of the world around them, or those who prefer investigating every fact to mitigate any potential risk before moving ahead with decisions. For some folks, taking their time is a way of life.
For those of us of the Christian persuasion, waiting literally is our life, as our hope in heaven is far off. Although the rapture that could occur at any time, it is far more likely that we will not see the gates of heaven until our time of death. Even Jesus came to Earth knowing he would one day die on a cross to redeem the sin of all mankind. But this process took 33 years to complete. The nation of Israel roamed around in the wilderness for 40 years, relying on God daily for their source of food called manna, before reaching the Promised Land. When I need to feel better about myself, I often remind myself of Israel’s horrendous inability to wait, whining and complaining, worshipping false gods and idols, and even cursing God as they waited. Apparently, perfect patience is not a gift given to many.
If patience is a virtue, there must be a reason for the wait. Many times, we don’t know what that reason is, which makes it all the more challenging. Other times, we don’t even know WHAT we are waiting for. We know something needs to change, but what change will look like, we cannot yet see. The Apostle Paul talks about this in I Corinthians 13:12, “For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.”
According to the Bible’s 154 mentions of the word wait, there is something to be gained by waiting. Courage, strength, blessings, endurance, understanding, goodness, mercy, justice, grace, experience, hope, steadfastness, and faith that grows each day. Isaiah 40:31 states, “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.”
The good news for impatient folks like me, is that waiting brings about an amazing opportunity for growth. How much faith does it take to get up each morning believing that what you are desiring will come while continuing to put your head down and work, while taking moments to look up and praise God in the midst of the struggle? But even more, what if God has something in store for you that is beyond that which you could have ever asked or dreamed of? “Now until Him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, unto Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end,” Ephesians 3:20-21.
So, in the words of the latest gospel song, “I’m gonna wait.” How about you?
Jill Murphy is a Doctor of Physical Therapy and founder of MotionWorks Physical Therapy and an advocate for patient-centered care. A Christian mom of three, she survived a seven year journey through the broken American healthcare system in search for an answer to a heart arrhythmia that appeared during pregnancy. A stroke, open heart surgery for constrictive pericarditis, and several other surgeries later, Jill is telling her story of unfailing resilience in her upcoming book, Doctor Heal Thyself.
Having grown up on a dairy farm 40 minutes from Lambeau Field, Jill is an avid Green Bay Packers and Wisconsin Badgers fan, and is up for any activity with her three children, including walking, biking, throwing the football around, hiking in scenic locales, gardening, playing piano, singing, and coaching a middle school basketball game or two.