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Reaping the Rewards of Good Waiting
Like most Americans these days, I do enough waiting that is tedious. For example, I frequently get in airport security checkpoint lines where the only happy people present are those who haven’t flown since September 11, 2001 (rare birds they are!). They appear ignorantly blissful, not realizing that when they finally reach the TSA agent’s control, all their personal belongings might be removed from their bags and strewn around the area for the disgustingly curious to see and for sticky-fingered thieves to assess. That kind of waiting I can do without.
Or how about the unfortunate and frustrating standstills that many of us have driven up to on interstate highways or a doctor’s holding room? That’s not good waiting either.
But there is a good kind of waiting. It’s when there’s something positive at the end. Thankfully, there are plenty of lines in which to linger that offer better rewards, such as movie theaters, concert halls, NASCAR events, a favorite restaurant, and checkout counters at Bass Pro or Cabela’s. The lines at these places are not at all toilsome. I gladly bear them because of what I expect to find in the distance. But of all the places that involve waiting, the deer stand is definitely my favorite.
I can confidently say that as far as I’m concerned, sitting alone on a deer stand has not once felt like drudgery. Even when I head home empty-handed, I still feel refreshed for having been out there.
Good deer-stand waiting means that even if the critters don’t show up, there is always something about it that makes the waiting worth the effort. One reason most hunters agree this is true is that hunting is something we want to do. And though we might go home with an unpunched tag, that doesn’t mean we’re leaving the woods empty-handed. There have been times when I’ve left the stand with the memory of a sunrise that genuinely melted my emotions, a sight so lovely that I was reminded to say a quiet thank-You to the Creator. Is that a trophy? You bet!
On more than one occasion I have unloaded my bow or gun and headed to the truck with the refreshment of a few hours of blessed solitude. During these valuable breaks from the rest of the world, I am often able to concentrate on praying for those I love. Or I get to go through some things I need to think about. Is that a good use of time? Yes, sir!
If you and I redeem the time on a hunt in this way, we’re doing the kind of waiting mentioned in the Old Testament book of Psalms: “Wait for the LORD; be strong and let your heart take courage; yes, wait for the LORD” (27:14). On the surface, this passage seems to imply that when it comes to waiting for God, all we need to do is find a park bench and sit there quietly with folded hands, and sooner or later He will come strolling by. That is not the meaning at all.
To “wait” has a proactive meaning in this verse. The original word (qavah) means to “bind together by twisting.” Essentially, those of us who effectively wait for God will redeem the time by “wrapping ourselves around” Him. To get that tightly intertwined with God requires an active approach to a relationship with Him. Conversing with Him in prayer, listening to Him through His Word, studying and worshipping Him, allowing Him to influence every aspect of our lives… this is good waiting.