A toddler pouting

Children often have trouble waiting for their turn. What about me? How do I respond when God asks me to wait?

I just got home from another day of teaching. My head is still ringing with “Teacher!” “Teacher!” “Teacher!”

If you work with young children you may understand. One of my classes today included several children who were eager for adult attention. It seemed any time I got down to play with them, more than five children surrounded me eagerly calling for my attention: “Teacher, watch me!” “Teacher, here’s ice cream!” “Teacher, I want to play!”

And then came art time…

Today we were using watercolour paint. I had four chairs at the art table and four paint brushes.

As I got four children settled and painting, others came by.

“I want it!”

I reply light heartedly “Okay. You will get to paint, but you have to wait until your turn. Why don’t you go play while you wait?”

The child groans and folds his arms.

Another child comes and takes the paintbrush out of another’s hand.

I return the paintbrush to the child currently painting, then turn to the second child. “Do you want to paint?”

The child nods with a frown.

“Okay, you will have a turn, but the art table is all full now, so you go play.”

The child begins crying.

A third child comes. “Me turn! Me turn!”

I ruffle her hair. “Not yet. You go play. I will call you when it is your turn. Don’t worry. I will make sure you have a turn.”

This child scowls and stands watching for a few minutes before moving elsewhere in the room.

I wrote this early in the school year. Thankfully, after a few months, they learned that there is no need to get upset if it isn’t their turn yet. It took time for them to learn that I mean what I say when I tell them that everyone will get a turn. They needed to learn to trust me.

Then I stop and think. How did I respond the last time God asked me to wait?

Honestly, I was frustrated. I didn’t see any reason for me to wait with the plan I had in mind. I wanted to do it right then, but God said wait so many times in so many ways I would have been a fool to ignore it!

I pouted, asking, “But why, God?” I was impatient and waiting made no sense to me.

The Bible mentions waiting for God many times. Sometimes it is the psalmist waiting for God to answer his plea for rescue. At other times it is a command to wait.

One of my favourite verses about waiting for God is Psalm 37:34: “Wait for the Lord and keep His way…”

This time, when God instructed me to wait, I felt incredibly impatient. I did not want to wait! Therefore, He led me across another verse which I then placed by my lamp as a daily reminder.

“The plans of the diligent lead surely to abundance, but everyone who is hasty comes only to poverty.”  Proverbs 21:5 (ESV)

I look forward to the day when I can join in saying:

“Look, this is our God;
we have waited for Him, and He has saved us.
This is the Lord; we have waited for Him.
Let us rejoice and be glad in His salvation.” Isaiah 25:9

For me, that most recent thing God asked me to wait for involved moving towards publishing a particular picture book. At this point, I really don’t know why He told me to wait. It makes no sense to me, but perhaps one day I will see the reason.

What is something God has asked you to wait for? What was the result?

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