“I do not know why there is this difference, but I am sure that God keeps no one waiting unless He sees that it is good for him to wait. When you do enter your room, you will find that the long wait has done you some kind of good which you would not have had otherwise. But you must regard it as waiting, not as camping. You must keep praying for light: and of course, even in the hall, you must begin trying to obey the rules which are common to the whole house. And above all you must be asking which door is the true one; not one which pleases you best by its paint and panelling.”
— C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity (1898–1963)
As perennial as summer sunshine and winter rains is the commonness of both trials of situations and human trials requiring patience. In other words, there are so many trying situations we find ourselves in, as well as the frustration of much waiting.
We all get to ask, “How long, Lord?” many times during our lives.
Some times are easier to wait for than others. But in the waiting we often get disconsolate, angry, fatigued, and resentful. We think, “If God really loved me he’d give me what I want, and now.” Part of us knows this is an immature expectation, but part of us also needs to believe that God is interested in giving us what we want—especially if it is truly good for us and others.
The Opportunity Is a Season of Faithfulness
C.S. Lewis’ imagery is poignant. If we imagine ourselves within the house of life, not camped in the hallway, but waiting, we don’t feel comfortable, but at least we are near the room we plan to enter. Whilst we are in the hallway, praying for the light of insight regarding the right time and door to knock on, we can deploy our minds in strategies of preparation.
It’s no good being in this house of life and not obeying the rules, for we only hurt our chances of advancing through the right door at the right time. None of us want the regret of having missed a crucial opportunity.
The opportunity we have before us—in spite of our impatience and foolish temerity—is to get active in the hallway by studying each door and the make up of the parts of the house we have access to. We get interested in the things we can be proactive about. We push our case gently but with sublime consistency.
Getting curious about the parts of life we have access to is an appropriate distraction.
When we are mindfully occupied we get creative whilst working within the boundaries which contain the rules of the house. We have sufficient access within those boundaries to explore and prepare. We keep ourselves healthily stimulated.
Waiting for the desires of our hearts isn’t a waste of time. We can be busy clarifying our desires and working faithfully toward the fulfilment of them. Waiting contributes a large part of the reward value when we are blessed as we look back—God is faithful.
© 2012 S. J. Wickham.