I hate waiting! We live in a society that hates waiting. The faster, the better. It’s especially obvious for me when I’m on the computer. I want the fastest processor available, and I want the wait time to be microseconds! I can’t stand it when I have to wait for the processor to catch up to me. When it’s time to eat, I want my food when I want my food. Like the rest of us, I want what I want, and I want it now! I just found this entry in my daily journal from 2018. “Kathy was up, and I had to wait for her to get her coffee before I could get mine. I hate waiting. I set my clock five minutes earlier to prevent that, but it doesn’t matter. I still can’t guess when KJ is going to be at the coffee machine.”[1] Wow, that’s bad! Bouchelle confesses to a similar problem. He writes, “As a child, my impatience caused me problems in school. In junior high science class, we were all instructed to plant two red beans in separate styrofoam cups. We were to place one in a window and the other in a dark closet and water them both regularly. The idea was to chart the difference in how they grew. My experiment did not work. I kept digging in the soil to see what was happening and killed both plants. Waiting seems so unproductive—like nothing is happening. I am ready to get on with it. I want things to happen now, in a hurry. My epitaph will no doubt read, ‘Come on, let’s go!!’”[2]

Habakkuk knows what that’s like, but his impatience is for something much nobler than Mr. Bouchelle or mine. He wants the fulfillment of God’s promises now. His “vision” of God’s putting the world right is what he’s longing for and yearning for, and he wants it now.  There’s been enough evil and injustice in the world. He calls for its resolution now! Even for something as important as this, God has a purpose in making us wait. Habakkuk 2:2-4 gives us God’s response to his impatience. God consoles him in verse 3, “Wait for it. If it seems slow, wait for it. It will surely come.” God wants us to trust Him. That’s why in 2:4, he says, “The Righteous shall live by faith.”

 I’m truly an impatient, restless person. When I have to stop and stare at the screen for a few minutes, or even seconds, for the process to complete, I get restless. Yet, slowing down and waiting is part of the human condition. I like how Henri Nouwen talked about waiting. He said, “Waiting is a period of learning. The longer we wait, the more we hear about him for whom we are waiting.” Eugene Peterson’s paraphrase of Romans 8:24 is a perfect expression of the positive aspects associated with not getting what we want when we want it. He says, “Waiting does not diminish us any more than waiting diminishes a pregnant mother. We are enlarged in the waiting.” In our hours, days, and months of waiting, God is vibrantly at work within us.

[1] Larsen, Charles. 2020. 2018 February Journals. MYJOURNALS. Larsen.

[2] Bouchelle, Dan. 2005. Acts 1–9: The Gospel Unleashed. 3:16 Bible Commentary Series. Joplin, MO: HeartSpring Publishing.