The other day I was talking to my dear friend Stacy about waiting.
I shared with her the circumstances in my own life that have driven me back to those many and varied "wait on the Lord" Scriptures.
And then she told me a story that she prefaced by saying, "Jennifer, I always go back to this...and it may be a horrible analogy, but I'll tell you about it anyway."
So she was genuinely surprised when I called her back later to seek her permission to write about her story that I liked so much. This is what she told me.
Back in the 1980's, ID bracelets were popular. Stacy was in 3rd or 4th grade, and all of her friends were proudly wearing bracelets that had their names engraved into them. She wanted one so badly, she said.
She had a favorite aunt who knew of her heart's desire and one day presented her with a gift to open. But unfortunately, this particular aunt could never remember how to spell Stacy's name correctly on birthday cards or anything else. And in typical fashion, the ID bracelet that Stacy lifted from the box that day had the letters S-T-A-C-I-E emblazoned on it. When her aunt realized her mistake, she said, "Oh! I'm so sorry, dear. Why don't you just give it back to me, and I'll exchange it for another one with your name spelled right?"
Stacy, clutching the precious bracelet, refused. She had wanted one so badly, for so long, that she just could not bear the thought of parting with it for a short time, even though her name was wrong. So she kept it.
And the end of the story is this - she never even wore it.
"At that time," Stacy said to me, "I would rather have possessed that bracelet immediately and have it wrong - than to wait...and have it right."
When my friend made that statement, a thousand implications came to mind...but one thought in particular began to crystallize for me. Our culture of instant gratification doesn't encourage us to be patient for much. Not for our fast food, not for U.S. mail, and certainly not for our internet connection speed. Which makes it all the more difficult to wait for the big things in life - the right opportunity, the right spouse, the right resolution to a difficult problem or trial. Everyone agrees that it's hard to be patient.
But as I sit here in life's waiting room, I am pondering this possibility, thanks to Stacy's story:
The Lord, in His amazing sovereignty, sometimes keeps us from getting stuck with those incorrectly-spelled ID bracelets. The wait is what enables us to bypass the things that aren't in His plan for us. That is why we can trust Him, even while we're twiddling our thumbs in the waiting room.
And when the phone finally does ring, and the person on the other end says, "Your bracelet is ready now," it will be a sight to behold. Not a mis-spelled name that fills you with regret every time you lay eyes on it, but a personalized work finished by the One who promises this very thing...
"...that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus." (Philippians 1:6)
I'm trusting Him today.