“And now, Lord, for what do I wait? My hope is in You.” (Ps. 39:7; NASB)
The plight of Merhan “Alfred” Nasseri was an unusual one, to say the least. In 1988 he arrived at Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris on a two-day trip, but without a visa. Apparently his Iranian passport was confiscated when he took part in an anti-Shah demonstration in 1975. But without a visa, he became a man without a country, and he was unable to either enter or leave France. By May, 1995, he had spent seven years living in the airport in Paris! Airport employees brought him food and newspapers and he passed time by writing in his diary (by 1995 some 6,000 pages long!) and studying the history of economic analysis. (He was finally released to a homeless shelter in Paris in 2007.)
There was a man who was forced to learn patience!
Most of us are not particularly ready learners of that discipline. One study found that the average person becomes visibly agitated after waiting 40 seconds for an elevator. Another found that the average web surfer will wait an average of only 8 seconds for a page to load before attempting a different link.
We are not naturally patient people. But it is in waiting that we learn the sufficiency of God. As God is trusted, He is found dependable. That is the essence of our hope (i.e., confidence). We know that as we wait, He will answer, in His own time and in His own way. Rushing to the mailbox every day will not compel Him to answer more quickly. Lying awake at night will not answer our problem. Murmuring will not provide relief to our anxious souls. Waiting with confidence in God’s faithfulness will enable us to be patient when those around us honk the horns of their worrisome hearts.
To balance this perspective, it must also be noted that, “waiting does not mean doing nothing. It is not fatalistic resignation. It means going about doing our assigned tasks, confident that God will provide the meaning and the conclusions.…It is the opposite of desperate and panicky manipulations, of scurrying and worrying.” [Eugene Peterson]
For what are you waiting today? What is the source of your anxiety today? Is it something that falls inside or outside the bounds of God’s control? If it is inside His sphere of control (and everything is), is He wise and able and loving to provide the solution? If He is (and He always is), then wait, and He will do what is best for you and for His glory in His time.
MEDITATION: “It is in waiting upon God that our eyes are opened to believe in His wise and sovereign will, and to see that sooner and the more completely we yield absolutely to it, the more surely His blessing can come to us.” [Andrew Murray]