“It is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the LORD.” (Lamentations 3:26)
Let’s face it: none of us likes to wait. When there’s something we’d like to do; somewhere we’d like to get to; the rule of thumb is – the sooner, the better. How can waiting ever be good?
Wise Solomon wrote that waiting makes the heart sick. “Hope deferred maketh the heart sick: but when the desire cometh, it is a tree of life.” (Prov. 13:12) The word “sick” also means “weak.” Weakness can be a good thing if strength is propelling us down a foolish path. The only check upon evil men, who are bent on using their “freedom” to harm others, is a stripping of their power. Prison makes them weak. What they would do if they could do they can’t.
When people or circumstances stand in the way of us getting what we want, there is a natural impatience that unless tempered becomes rage. A child likes the word “wait” only a little less than the word “no.” A large part of child training involves helping a child deal with frustration.
Always giving them what they want to avoid a temper tantrum doesn’t prepare them for the world they will live in. Learning how to wait is a very good thing. Patience is learned through facing frustration in a right manner.
But isn’t God a good father, who wants to give good gifts to His children? Does He want to provoke us to wrath by withholding from us the things we desire? No, but He is not raising spoiled brats who grow up to be raging oppressors, or criminals. There is a yoke to be borne in our youth that is easy. When we are willing to wear it we grow in the blessed virtue of patience and become mature people.
Waiting is not high on our list of favorite things. But a wise father knows how vitally important it is to his child’s growth. Embrace the times in your life when you must wait for something you long for. The patience and maturity you gain will be far more valuable than the tree of life you long to eat from.