So the Lord must wait for you to come to him so he can show you his love and compassion. For the Lord is a faithful God. Blessed are those who wait for his help. Isaiah 30:18, NLT
Have you ever had a student ask you to wait for them? Maybe she is daintily placing every one of her little things into her pencil box as the class is leaving the room. Or he has not finished writing down the important details that everyone else already finished writing. Or you are dashing to the copier between classes and a student wants to ask you a question.
“Wait up!” they plead. It can be annoying.
I am, by nature, an impatient person. I have learned to cope with delays by always carrying with me something to do. But having a smartphone has given me only the illusion of patience. I am still annoyed when I get trapped behind a slow walker in a crowd. I hate to wait; it seems like such a waste of time.
Imagine my surprise when I learned that the Lord must wait for me! Isaiah 30:18 is part of a long message from God to His people. He warns them not to rely on other nations for help but to return to Him, Who alone is able to save them. Then He says that He is waiting, waiting for His people to repent and return to Him. Some translations say the Lord longs for us to come to Him.
When God waits, He is not annoyed. He is full of hope and anticipation because He is waiting for those He loves to come.
I think if I loved people as God loves us, I would be more patient with them. I might take the time to discover why all those little whatnots are so important to that student. I could offer to help the student learn the strategies for notetaking, and I would be grateful if a student is willing to ask for help or clarification.
As I enter my classroom today, I have a different perspective on my time. Instead of considering waiting as wasted time, I can use it as an opportunity to connect with people. I might use it to celebrate the joyful absurdity of students, pray for discernment, or engage in a conversation.
Dear Heavenly Father, we are thankful that You patiently wait for us to come to You. Lord, we confess that we are not always patient and do not always love as You love. Help us to be mindful of others and look beyond our inconvenience to their real needs. We know that our love for each other is a defining characteristic of a true Christ follower. Thank You for faithfully showing us Your love and compassion. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Copyright Diana Anderson.
Diana Anderson is a member who teaches history and art to secondary students at a Christian school in Kennewick, WA.