Tom Petty Was Right

If you’re of my generation – you know, the people who remember when MTV played music videos – then you know Tom Petty’s song “The Waiting.”  I have to tell you, he was right about one thing: the waiting is definitely the hardest part. Trust me, I’m not very good at it.

A lot of us aren’t very good at it.  Some people are just too type-A to wait well.  Some of us are too spoiled by a culture of instantaneous gratification (I still can’t believe I don’t have to drive to the record shop to buy my favorite music or the bookstore for a great book).  Our on-demand lifestyle has dulled us to one of God’s great promises:

Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength. Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint. – Isaiah 40:28-31 (ESV)

Have you ever watched an eagle fly?  My wife and I love to drive to different refuges and parks to witness these majestic birds in flight.  They glide effortlessly in great swoops across the sky.  They don’t struggle or flap frantically.  They move with great ease and focus, keeping their eyes on the goal (which, for eagles, is usually lunch on the ground below).

Here’s a lesson for all of us who are impatiently waiting for something in life, whatever that “something” may be: think about what your true goal in life really is.  Be honest with yourself.  Are you striving for success, or earthly gain, or some tangible improvement?  Or can you honestly rest and say, “God is sufficient.  Jesus Christ is enough for me.”  Consider the apostle Paul’s life goal: “Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus (Philippians 3:13-14, ESV). 

For those of us who find waiting so difficult, it would do us well to trust in God’s timing, rest confident that His will is being done in our lives and simply let the Lord be our sufficiency.  I write this feeling somewhat like a hypocrite.  After all, as I mentioned earlier, I am Type-A and things like letting go and waiting on God do not come easily.  (That may explain why God, in His infinite wisdom, seems to let me wait as much as He does.)  In the end I have to accept that I am not the master of my universe.  God is God and I am not.  Jesus is my Lord and Savior, God’s Word is Truth and His will and wisdom are utterly perfect.  If God says “wait,” I will wait.  When I surrender all to the Lord, I find great freedom and strength.

Yes, waiting is tough, painful… sometimes downright excruciating.  But it is in waiting and focusing on the Lord that I find my true strength, and soar.

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