The Waiting Vigil–A Lesson in Patience

The lights are on, but nobody’s home

            The bathroom heater quit this week. One minute it blew hot air across my face and in the next instant nothing. I twisted the thermostat up and down to see if I could jiggle its memory awake, but the heater stared back in stony silence. Chagrinned, I wondered if I should check the warranty. Wasn’t it installed two years ago?

With the temperature outside riding in the twenties, the once warm bathroom didn’t stand a chance. As the day progressed, the room chilled, as did the toilet, sink and marble surfaces.

            I told my husband about the defective appliance when he returned home from work and he approached the matter with determined enthusiasm. Something about the thought of warm skin on cold porcelain in the middle of the night fueled his efficiency. By nightfall, he’d shopped the local hardware store, purchased a new heater (it even fit the hole in the wall!) and had connected the power source.

            The next morning I showered in amazing warmth—not only was the water hot, but the air circulating in the room bathed my skin in tropical-like temperatures, blowing down on me like a breath of heaven.

            Sometimes life can grow cold as we wait on answers to prayer. God can seem far away, disinterested or too busy to care. Writers know this kind of waiting all too well—replies from editors, agents and publishers take time.  College graduates wait on answers to job applications or responses from interviews. Patients anticipate the diagnosis a recent blood test will reveal. Answers can seem as slow as a snail in Montana snow.

            In  Psalm 40:1-3 (NKJV), King David speaks of waiting. “I waited patiently for the Lord; And He inclined to  me, And heard my cry. He also brought me up out of a horrible pit, Out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my steps. He has put a new song in my mouth—Praise to our God.”

            Like a breath of warmth from heaven, God smiles down on us, bringing us answers, hope and a new outlook on the future—if only we can have the patience to wait.

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