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It’s hard to wait.

I’m reminded of this each night at dinner when my children get their plate of food placed in front of them and quickly want to begin eating their favorite food even before we all sit down together to thank God for our food and to enjoy the time as a family.  It is a struggle at times to wait.

I’m reminded of this when a present is brought into the room and there is longing and anticipation to open the pretty box and see what is inside.  It can be painful to have to wait for the person to whom the present has been given to take the time to open the gift.

I’m reminded of this when a vacation lingers in the distance and it seems so difficult to continue to work and be apart of the rat race longing in anticipation for the time at the beach, or the theme park, or the mountains.

It’s hard to wait.

And while each of these moments can be difficult, the waiting and longing in prayer can be debilitating.  We read verses from Jesus in which he says, “ask and it will be given to you, seek and you will find” or “if you have faith and do not doubt you can tell this mountain to go into the sea and it will happen” and we believe that our prayers will have a quick response.  We fall victim to the surface reading that assumes that just because Jesus cursed a fig tree and it was dead within a day that our prayers should come true just as quickly.  That we should be able to see the miracles happen before our eyes, for the mountain to be raised up or the tree to be uprooted.  We begin to believe that prayer should be answered on our time-table, the way we want.  That just like the popular slogan, we should have it our way right away.

But in our more mature moments we know God doesn’t work that way.  We have lived life long enough to know that we can’t always get what we want when we want it.  That God is not a genie in a bottle who is just waiting to grant our very wish the moment we ask for it to happen.

Still, we believe and trust the words of Jesus.  Jesus was not lying when he said, “when you pray believe that you have received it and it will already be yours.”  We may not understand his statement or be able to explain how it is true but we trust that if we had eyes of faith we would see and know.  And so we pray, and we wait…longing to see faith come to fruition.  Longing to have our deepest dreams and longings realized.  Hoping desperately for a miracle and for life to change.

While we wait maybe we can gain strength from the Psalmist who said:

How much longer will you forget me, Lord? Forever? How much longer will you hide yourself from me? How long must I endure trouble? How long will sorrow fill my heart day and night? How long will my enemies triumph over me?Look at me, O Lord my God, and answer me. Restore my strength; don’t let me die. Don’t let my enemies say, “We have defeated him.” Don’t let them gloat over my downfall. I rely on your constant love; I will be glad, because you will rescue me. I will sing to you, O Lord, because you have been good to me. (Psalm 13, Good News Translation)

The Psalmist is in turmoil waiting for the deliverance of the Lord. The Psalmist is seeing his enemies triumph over him, gloat over him, laugh at him.  The Psalmist is longing for God to answer, to respond, to act.  The waiting is getting difficult, it is more than he can bear, he is about to give up.  Yet, he remembers the goodness of the Lord and so he continues to wait, trusting God to answer.

It is difficult to wait.  But if we are honest, we know the goodness of the Lord.  We have seen it in our lives.  He has been good and he will continue to be good.  And so, even though it is difficult to wait…we wait trusting in the promises of God.