For When the Answers Take Forever

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My heroes are the people who have to wait.

In Gary Paulsen’s Hatchet the protagonist Brian has a survival mantra: self-pity does no good. Waiting in the wilderness, he had to live with what he had handy and be content – even savvy – with nothing but bare essentials.

Frog in Chrono Trigger had to wait ten years to avenge a friend’s death, and even longer to be freed of his own curse. That’s what makes his character stick with me the longest out of a game with a widely endearing cast.

In Scripture there’s the stories of Sara, Ruth (and Boaz), Hannah, Elizabeth, the woman who bled for years, the many lame and blind healed by Jesus, Saul who became Paul – all of them given a time to wait without answer.

I see modern-day waiters who parallel the Biblical figures: waiting for companionship, waiting for children, waiting for healing, waiting for a call. It takes steady faith to press ahead and trust when God seems to be repeating “No”.

What do we do with the rescue plane doesn’t come? When the curse isn’t lifted? When we send up prayers that return back to us empty?

We take courage. We work. We examine what God holds out in His hands for us and say, thankfully, “What can I do with this, with what I have this moment?”

It’s not easy. I’m not saying it is. How many nights have I fallen asleep numb from waiting for someone to love? How many mornings have I woken up sunk down in the unfriendly quiet that smothers me as soon as the alarm clock shuts off? Many times I’ve wussed out and said, “I’m done, Jesus.”

But as Brian would chime in: self-pity does no good. Literally! What’s the use in sitting to sulk? Better instead to struggle against every enemy who wants to keep you from the Kingdom – what we all wait for, in the end.

So build that fire from sticks and sparks. Defeat the warlock despite every disadvantage stacked against you. Pray – pray and pray and pray even while people call you a fool and tell you God’ s not true if He hasn’t answered you yet.

Because just you wait. WAIT. Time is the fire in which we are forged.