Waiting is hard. We have to do it all the time–waiting in line at the checkout, waiting in the doctor’s office, waiting for test results, waiting for Christmas…
Many times it is so hard to wait. We get impatient and take a different street if there’s a red light. We look for the shorter line at the toll booth.
Some things are better if we wait. The flavors of a stew blend when we wait for it to be done. We appreciate things more if we wait for then to finish.
Recently I gave thanks for the discipline of waiting.
My husband and I took a few days away so he could go fly fishing with a guide. He had high expectations. I went along but had low expectations of the day. I learned something about waiting while watching the guide.
The water of the Little Red River in central Arkansas was so clear that we could see the trout under the surface. The guide watched and pointed them out. We waited for the right time to cast. He then instructed Rick in a quiet voice on how to cast the fly in front of the fish so that it would float right toward the fish. Rick cast the line fifteen feet out in the water, it floated down to the fish, and we watched the fish bite on it! The fish swam downstream to get free, but only succeeded in setting the hook. Rick and the guide worked together for longer than five minutes, letting the fish swim, giving it more line. The guide walked downstream with a net, far enough that he came upon the fish and captured it in the net. Together they landed the eight pound rainbow trout.
Catching the trout was a combination of waiting and action–waiting and watching the surroundings and then taking appropriate action. When the guide stood next to Rick, he quietly gave instructions on how and where to cast the fly. I stood behind them, and saw this as a picture of how we wait on the Lord as our guide. While waiting, the guide was close to the fisherman. The fisherman listened to the guide carefully and successfully caught a large fish.
Next it was my turn. I cast incorrectly, five feet out in the water where there was no fish. The fly didn’t float, but got tangled on a branch. I tried it again and again without have any success. The guide said I wasn’t pausing at the right time in the motion of casting; I was too quick to send the line out. Finally, he came over to try to redeem my day. The weather was cold and windy, and I was shivering. He pointed to a fish in the water, and gave me instructions while also having his hand on my reel. I cast and the fish bit on it! I jerked on the rod but the fish got away. I felt defeated. The guide saw another trout–this time I waited for the right moment to cast and I landed it!
From all this, I gave thanks for waiting. The guide said “be patient” many times, but I kept casting the line instead of letting it float. Waiting and watching preceded action. Many times in life waiting is a good thing. We get impatient and want to rush ahead, but then can end up with frustration.
In his book Prayer: Finding the Heart’s True Home, Richard Foster makes this observation on waiting.
In waiting we get in touch with the rhythms of life–stillness and action, listening and decision.
“Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.” Psalm 27:14
Watch and wait. Listen to the Guide.