I admit it. I’m an impatient person. So much so that I never pray for patience. Oh, I know I should. But I can’t risk it. God might decide to teach me patience and the only way to learn patience is to practice patience. So no. I can’t risk it.
I’m one of those people who has always hated waiting in long lines. I know hate is a strong word. That’s why I chose it. I’m that person that’s counting the people in each line at the grocery store. And not only the people. I’m looking in their carts counting their items. Trying to calculate how long it will take to get through each line. Then when I choose a line, I make a mental note of where I would have been in each of the other lines to see if the people currently in those spots beat me to the check out. Pretty bad huh? I’m sure you’ve never done that.
But last weekend, I think God was teaching me a little something about patience. No, I still didn’t pray for it. But, I guess He’s working on my rough spots anyway. Probably a good thing.
I was on a weekend trip with my women’s group to Gatlinburg, TN. Now Gatlinburg is always a busy town but even more so when the autumn leaves are changing color and the Smoky Mountains look like the most beautiful Fall paintings you’ve ever seen. So needless to say, there was traffic. And lines. Lots of traffic. And lots of lines. And we were right in the middle of it all.
We had planned and pre-paid to ride a chairlift up the mountain. The wait in line? 75 minutes. Yikes! I thought that was bad until that 75 turned into 90. Ninety minutes of waiting… and talking… and sharing… and laughing… and learning about my friends. Wait a minute! Was I actually starting to enjoy the wait?!? Who IS this person?
Then on the way home, we were re-routed on the interstate only to get caught in traffic behind an accident on our new route. Our 2 hour trip became a 3 hour trip. And there I was with nothing to do but talk and laugh and get to know the ladies in my vehicle. Hmmm…. was God up to something? I think so.
The bible tells us in Isaiah 55:8 that His ways are not our ways. That’s for sure. My way would’ve been to drive straight there, be first in line at everything, drive straight home and call it a good day. But God had another plan. Another purpose. And I have to admit, I’m glad. I’m glad I got to have detailed, distraction- free conversations with my friends that I otherwise would not have had time for. Or sadly, would not have made time for.
I put this little learning experience into action a few days later when I traveled to another town with my 2 teenagers. It was a necessary drive for a doctor’s appointment and I usually lament the fact that 3 hours of the day are “lost” in drive time. But the good Lord changed my attitude on that and I decided to look at it from His perspective. I turned off the radio and valued the 1 1/2 hours each way that I had my 2 beautiful daughters trapped…. I mean captive… I mean contained?… in my car. It’s not often that we have such undistracted time together. I might as well use it for the good and make conversation… and laugh… and connect… and enjoy each other. And that we did.
Yeah… maybe waiting isn’t all that bad. Maybe… just maybe… it’s the most important part. Heavy traffic? Long lines? Yippee! Let’s go!
“’For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways,’” declares the Lord.”