The last day of school has finally arrived and the children are anxiously anticipating our awards program. Even though I have set the movable hands on the demonstration clock at the front of the room to 12:15 one little guy continues to ask, “How long ’til awards, Mrs. Gatts?”
After answering him multiple times throughout the morning I finally point to the clock and say, “What does the clock say?”
He screws up his face in concentration.
“Try again. The little hand points toward the hour. The big hand tells how many minutes past.”
“Three after twelve?”
I sigh. Great. It’s the last day of school and he still doesn’t know how to tell time. Trying to maintain a happy heart I muster a smile.
“It’s 12:15,” I tell him.
He smiles back.
“But how long ’till awards?”
This time I can’t help but chuckle.
“I tell you what, darlin’, ” I say. “When it’s time, I’ll tell you to line up. I promise I won’t let you miss it.”
His freckled nose crinkles up as he grins. “O.K.,” he says.
I get it.
Waiting is hard work. And not just for little boys. It’s hard for us big kids, too. It feels unnatural and uncomfortable.
“How long, O LORD?” I cry out. “How long before You hear my prayers and answer them?”
I want answers to my questions, solutions to my problems, sometimes even an end to my sufferings and I want it right now.
Actually, yesterday, if possible.
But God doesn’t schedule in His answers according to the calendar I keep. He loves me too much to rush the process. That intricate process of me becoming who I am to be.
Learning to be content in the waiting rooms of my life allows me to cultivate trust and obedience. Character traits that can only be grown in the slow, steady light of the Father’s perfect timing. Resting in the knowledge that God alone knows the when and where of my life.
So when impatience gets the best of me and I cry out, “How long, O LORD?” I can be confident that He sees me, freckled nose and all and says,
“I’ll tell you what, darlin’. When it’s time, I’ll tell you. And I promise I won’t let you miss it.”