I don’t like waiting. In fact, I am probably one of the world’s most impatient people. I am always looking for ways to make things better or do things faster. And I don’t want to wait for change to happen.
But many times we need to wait. Lasting relationships usually take a long time to develop. Pregnancies need to last 9 months. Some decisions turn out better for having been made slowly. And sometimes we have to wait a long time for an answer to prayer.
He had to wait a long time to see the Messiah. Some times he probably felt like giving up. Maybe he wondered if he’d misunderstood God’s message. Maybe he’d been sick or distracted and missed his savior’s arrival.
But he waited.
And so did Anna.
She had served the Lord at the temple for many decades. And still she waited.
God’s timing isn’t our timing. We pick our “deserved” timeline based on our needs, wishes, hopes, and prayers. We forget about all the other people in the world–people we may never meet–who’s lives are connected with ours. They have needs, wishes, hopes, and prayers, too. And sometimes someone else needs more time. Or an event needs to take place. Or God just has a different timeline.
It’s hard, when we are weary with waiting, to remember that He knows what is best. The creator of the world and savior of mankind knows far more than we can ever know. He knows when our best thoughts and dreams will not produce the best results. And He knows we cannot, should not, be forced into accepting Him.
Some times we find out the why of waiting. At other times, we never know. It is frustrating and lonely when we fight it. But there is a joy in waiting when we trust He knows best.
I was reminded of that this week. We’ve prayed for a friend for over twenty years. And laughed, talked, sweated, and laughed some more with her. And there has been no answer. Well, no visible answer. No interest. No change.
And then Friday I received a letter. She’s studying the Bible. Willingly. Eagerly. And then she says the words I thought I’d never hear: “I want to find a church family.”
It wasn’t God’s timing twenty-three years ago when we first met her. It wasn’t God’s timing a few years later when we gave her her first Bible. And it wasn’t God’s timing when my mom tried to have a Bible study with her. But maybe now is the time.
And if it’s not, God knows the perfect time. He knew her and loved her before the world began. And I have to accept it.
In the meantime, I’ll keep loving and waiting and praying. Some things just take time. Like Simeon waiting for the Messiah.