SPIRIT TRAINING: The Strength of Waiting

“I just can’t wait.”

Have your kids ever said that before? As parents, our best answer to that might be, “Yes, you can.”

“They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength.” (Isaiah 40:31)

Wait on the Lord and be of good courage; and he will strengthen your heart.” (Ps. 27:14)

Strength comes when we wait. What better gift than strength can you give your children? And strength often comes wrapped in waiting. It is a gift of character. It is a facet of self-denial that allows us to follow Christ.

As people we want God to use a clock and a calendar, but God doesn’t. He uses fulfillment, maturity, ripeness, readiness, fitness, appropriateness. A major weakness of our humanity is that we want to shortcut time. We just can’t wait.

The society that we live in is a society of pushing limits. Parents take pride in the fact that their four-year-old can read, or hit a homerun in T-ball, or sing like Celine Dion. In the minds of many parents today, “early is always better.” But it may not be. Perhaps waiting is better than trying to microwave our kids.

At this time of year, we have a small opportunity to instill this strength in a son or daughter. We can insist that she wait to open a gift; and waiting builds strength of character. By itself, the wait for a gift might not be much; but as one building block added to others, it can help strengthen her character. Learning to wait is vital.

Scripture teaches us that if we are faithful in little, we will be faithful in much. As we teach our children to wait in small things, they gain strength for things that matter much more. Waiting to open a gift. Waiting until after the blessing to begin to eat. Waiting for the lifeguard at the pool. Waiting instead of buying on credit. Waiting until marriage to become sexually intimate. Waiting—and growing stronger.

Stan and Dancie have a beautiful daughter that is lively and alert. That pregnancy for them was very normal. Their second pregnancy did not go so well. The baby was born prematurely because of a rare medical condition. He did not survive his first day.

The third pregnancy was full of hope, but after fourteen weeks proved to look like a repeat of the second. The same medical condition required that Dancie stay in bedrest for the remainder of the pregnancy. She could not do any normal activities. She had to stay either seated or in bed. Meanwhile, doctors’ visits were full of endless pricks, pokes, tests, and needles. The prognosis was not good. The goal was to make 28 weeks. Then it became 32, then 35, and miraculously full-term. Dancie’s courage during that time was incredible. She said, “Every needle that I take is one that my child does not have to take.”

In the middle of this long process, Stan said, “Usually we pray that our pain will end quickly. But in this case, we are praying that our pain will last as long as possible, because we know that the baby is forming inside and growing stronger.” His prayers were answered.

What is God forming in us? What is he forming in our children when we teach them to wait? Waiting makes them stronger.

Wait . . . and see!

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