In early May, my daughter Abbie experienced a unique car accident. A large round of tree stump fell off the back of a landscaping truck into Abbie’s lane on the expressway. With heavy traffic on all sides and behind her, Abbie couldn’t avoid the stump. She ran right into it.
The stump wedged itself under her car. Abbie nursed her car along to a nearby friend’s house. After their slacked-jaw response to her arrival, her friends pried the stump from under her car. The stump was big enough for them to roll it into their backyard as extra seating around their fire pit. I’m grateful that a more serious accident didn’t occur.
After eight weeks in the repair shop and many thousands of dollars later, the body shop called. Abbie’s car was almost complete. I was relieved! We’d been sharing my car since the accident. since Abbie lives close by. Even though Abbie lives close and works nearby as a NICU nurse, and I work at home, it was still tricky sharing a car.
The day before Abbie picked up her car, the body shop called again. Her driver’s side seatbelt didn’t pass the electronic safety tests. While her airbags didn’t deploy during the accident, the force of the collision damaged the integrity of the seatbelt. Even though the repairs were complete, her car was legally non-drivable.
Then, an even bigger problem popped up. The shop manager broke the news that there were no seatbelts in the entire country for her vehicle’s make and model. Not in junkyards. Not in the aftermarket. Honda factories weren’t making them. I asked when a seatbelt might become available. The manager let out a long sigh and said: “Ma’am, I don’t know.”
It’s been five weeks since that phone call. Still no seatbelt nor a hint of when one might arrive. Could be tomorrow, could be two weeks from now, or could be Christmas.
My daughter and I continue to share a car. In the moments when I want to grumble, I remember that this situation is giving me an invitation to grow in my least favorite aspect of the Fruit of the Spirit: patience.
Who loves waiting for something to happen that is out of your control? Answer: Not me.
God knew what He was doing when He designed the Fruit of the Spirit as a singular analogy of what the Holy Spirit grows in our lives. Otherwise, I’d cherrypick the other fruits like love, joy, or kindness of the Fruit of the Spirit tree and leave patience hanging for someone else to figure out. Instead, the Fruits of the Spirit are one because God intends for us to reflect all that Jesus is, not only the parts that we’re interested in.
I don’t enjoy being impatient. I want to pray, “God, take as long as You’d like.” However, once I say “Amen,” I usually expect God to deliver an answer via Amazon Prime in two days or less, preferably overnight shipping.
Can you relate? If patience is hard for you, there’s a popular verse on waiting that sparked an a-ha moment for me that I’d like to share with you. This discovery didn’t make waiting easier, but it has helped me to remember that waiting on God is always worth it.
“But those who wait for the Lord [who expect, look for, and hope in Him]
Will gain new strength and renew their power;
They will lift up their wings [and rise up close to God] like eagles [rising toward the sun];
They will run and not become weary,
They will walk and not grow tired.”
Isaiah 40:31 AMP
My a-ha moment was this: This journey of patience is often where I can have the most impact in my Christian life. If God instantly gave me what I wanted, I’d probably not stop to look around at what other people needed.
What if your waiting room season included this prayer:
“God, while I’m waiting, You have permission to work through me to help others.”
For example, if you’re waiting on God to bring back the prodigal in your life, you can invest in young people at your church or in your community. While you’re waiting on God for a baby or grandchild, you can volunteer at your local school or make meals for new parents. For someone like me who is praying for God to bring a future spouse, I began meeting with another single woman at our favorite ice cream stand once a month to pray for her. Letting God work through us while we’re waiting encourages us and actually makes us stronger during the wait.
Where has the waiting been heavy for you, my friend? God knows that your wait is hard, but don’t jump ahead just because you’re tired of waiting. I love this wisdom: “You can save a lot of time waiting on God.”
Perhaps your prayer today could be: “God, while I’m waiting, please use me to make a difference. Work through me, God, for Your glory and my good. Amen.”