Eight years ago, my niece Amy married Nathan, a great guy. They moved into a starter home in the country. Over time, and with the addition of a son and daughter, the small house felt smaller. With a third child on the way, they decided to sell their house and find a larger home, a place closer to town with neighbors for the kids and a garage for the cars.
They put their house on the market late last October, and within four days they had signed agreement. Which meant they’d better start looking for their replacement home.
Two weeks later they fell in love with a house in their preferred neighborhood, at the right price in the perfect size, and with an attached garage. (It usually takes only one Michigan winter to make the most frugal-minded puritan lust for a garage. They endured seven winters.)
Their bid was accepted. But the inspection uncovered rotted roofing, siding, and windows, and substandard plumbing. All of which was going to cost them more than $40,000. The owners wouldn’t budge on the pricing, so Amy and Nathan reluctantly released the house. They moved in with Nathan’s family a few weeks before Christmas.
Imagine an extended time of suitcase-life with two kids, living in someone else’s home, and pregnancy. (I can imagine all but the pregnancy myself.) Their family-host was gracious, but weeks of this lifestyle took its toll, as though they were imposing on friends. They searched, and searched desperately, for their next home.
They soon found another house that thrilled neither of them (except for the hope of living on their own again); they made a bid that was accepted; the inspection turned up arsenic in the water; the owners refused to re-negotiate; and Amy and Nathan decided again to wait.
And they waited and waited, and weeks turned into months.
Patience Is a Pain We Try to Avoid
We all know the value of waiting. Aphorisms abound that extoll perseverance: “Patience is a virtue,” “Good things come to those who wait,” and even “April showers bring May flowers.”
But we all hate the wait. And we’re not alone:
- When Abraham grew sick of waiting, he tried to accomplish God’s supernatural promise of a son through natural means, and trouble flourished (Gen. 16);
- The Israelites rewrote history as they waited in the desert, dreaming of Egypt “where the meat and fish was free,” conveniently forgetting their suffering-slavery (Num. 11);
- King Saul lost his kingdom when he refused to wait an extra day for the prophet Samuel to preside at a celebration sacrifice (1 Sam. 13).
Why the Heck “The Wait”?
“The vision is yet for an appointed time … though it tarry, wait for it, because it will surely come” (Hab. 2:3 KJV). God says there is an “appointed time,” and it will “surely come.” We think we know both what we need and when we need it. God says, “Nope! My ‘appointed time’ also means my ‘perfect timing.’”
So what do we do while we wait? Oswald Chambers says,
The most important aspect of Christianity is not the work we do, but the relationship we maintain and the surrounding influence and qualities produced by that relationship. That is all God asks us to give our attention to.
We think we know the “what” and “when” of our lives, while God says our greatest need is the “who.” The“who” that is him always provides what we really most needwhen we most need it; he gives us exactly what (and when) we would ask for if we knew all that he knows.
The Perfect Home
When the arsenic-water-house deal fell through, the housing market just dried up. Nothing captured Amy and Nathan’s interest—and believe me, they were interested! —so they continued to live like the third-wheel on someone else’s bicycle. I’d love to say they waited patiently, but at least they persevered.
In early March their realtor called them with “the perfect home.” And she was right: it was far more beautiful than anything else they had seen; they made an offer that was accepted; the inspection passed with flying colors. And two weeks ago they moved into a house better than their dreams.
My niece’s comment on this entire episode of their life was simple. She said, “It was worth the wait.” What are you waiting for that will someday be worth the delay?
Wait for it.