While printing off documents, my printer suddenly decided to morph into la-la land. Electronic devices are wonderful — until they don’t work.
Frustrated, I tried to print the last document, not realizing what was happening on the other end of cyberspace. After rebooting, unplugging and still not printing, I turned everything off and quit for the day.
The next morning, the printer decided to resuscitate itself. It spewed out page after page of documents hidden in the queue. Eventually, it stopped — but not before adding several inches to my pile of recyclable scrap paper.
Sometimes, the electronic world imitates life.
How many times do we pray for something, wait and wait longer while heaven lives in introverted silence? Nothing happens for weeks, months, even years.
Our prayers are stuck in the queue of God’s waiting room.
Then suddenly — an avalanche of answered prayers, all bunched up at the same time. We gasp at the range of unexpected blessings, certain once again that God does indeed love us.
What can we learn from our moments stuck in the queue?
Persistence is a worthwhile virtue.
The best writing, the purest answers to prayer, the most productive days evolve as a result of self-discipline. When we give it our best and keep at it — over and over — we eventually see the results.
We may not currently see the finish line, but it WILL appear. Persistence produces results — one of the key principles of life.
Nothing worthwhile happens easily. When we have to work for it, we fully appreciate the results. We are then energized to persist with more fervor.
Effective Results Require Patience.
Patience and persistence are twins. They sometimes look alike and often require the same disciplines to feed them.
But the persistence twin is a process while the patience twin reveals a quality of life.
Patience reminds us to wait, then wait more. And when we can no longer stand the wait, we dig deep. We learn how much strength authentic waiting requires.
Patience is the months-or-years-long battle, waiting for the chemo to take effect and save a life.
Patience allows the preschooler to tie his own shoes even while the school bus honks.
Patience sits beside the Alzheimer’s resident and responds to the same question again and again.
Patience learns the passage of time, because the process cannot be rushed. If we want the best results, we must not deny the waiting.
Patience turns off the printer, instead of continuing the process of frustration, adding more documents to the queue which then wastes paper. Lesson learned.
Sometimes the Best Action is No Action. For planners like me, it feels better to do something — anything — to help the process along.
But sometimes, the cyberspace universe has to arrange its pixels and find its missing megabytes. I don’t even understand its language. How then, can I make it do something?
When we’ve prayed and prayed, waited and persisted, yet nothing happens, we can use the prayer of relinquishment. I don’t always understand God’s language. I cannot make him do something, so I relinquish the problem to him.
“Oh God, I can’t stand this. I have absolutely no clue what to do. Please take over and do whatever is needed to mend this problem. I give up.”
This prayer seems counterintuitive to what we have been taught about productivity, but the Psalmist declared the same advice, “Be still and rest in the Lord; wait for him and patiently lean yourself on him” (Psalm 37:7 AMP).
Be still. Unplug. Stop trying to figure it out. Don’t worry. Let go and let God salve your weary soul.
If we won’t learn how to be still, then we end up with a heap of nothing: wasted words, frustrated prayers and sometimes — piles of worthless paper.
But if we let go and let God figure it out, then we return to the task refreshed, ready for whatever he will give us and grateful for lessons learned.
Waiting in the queue is rarely easy. We may tire of the time required before something happens.
But God knows what he is doing. Maybe he’s waiting for us to trust him so he can finish the job.
©2021 RJ Thesman – All Rights Reserved
Pastor Tanner struggles with what to do. He can’t make himself well, even by praying about it. And his cat thinks he’s a bit weird. Check out The Year of my Redemption.