“Teach us, O Lord, the disciplines of patience, for to wait is often harder than to work.”- Peter Marshall
In one of Vicki’s previous work lives, she was employed as a tour director for World Wide Country Tours. When her assigned tours coincided with vacation breaks from my teaching position at Northwest Lutheran School, I was able to accompany her. Our most memorable trip was a two-week excursion to Alaska. Following our arrival in Anchorage, we traveled to the town of Talkeetna (population 876). Talkeetna is approximately 150 miles from Denali National Park. Denali (aka Mt. McKinley) rises to a height of 20,237 feet. All or part of the mountain is obscured by clouds and fog 80% of the time. Yet, the evening we arrived at Talkeetna Alaskan Lodge, we were blessed to experience a clear view of Denali from the lodge’s “backyard”.
Timing is everything. The next day at Denali National Park we were greeted by fog, wind, and rain. Only twenty-four hours kept us from being a day late and a mountain short. Developing the disciplines of patience while awaiting the perfect timing and implementation of God’s plan for our life requires a patient trust, as John Ortberg writes in If You Want to Walk on Water, You’ve Got to Get Out of the Boat:
“But in the real issues of life, we are not just waiting around- we are waiting on God. Therefore we can trust His wisdom and timing. We can wait with confidence. Because waiting reminds us that we are waiting for someone, the single most important activity in waiting is prayer.”
Patiently waiting on the Lord necessitates an inexhaustible hope. St. Paul writes: “For this hope we are saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience (Romans 8;24-25).” Edward Hoffman defines New Testament hope as waiting with patient, disciplined, and confident expectation for and of the Lord as Savior. The prophet Isaiah promises us that as we wait for the Lord our strength will be renewed (Isaiah 40:30-31). Old Testament scholar David Hubbard exhorts us to live Isaiah’s inspired words “one line at a time.”