When I was in college, I commuted to school. My campus was in the heart of downtown Denver and I lived in a suburb of the city. It might have seemed like an inconvenience to some but to me, it was a huge benefit because of public transportation. The Lightrail was my best friend! The farthest stop to the south of the city was literally a block from my apartment so I just hopped on the train and road it all the way to campus.
When it was all said and done, I spent about an hour and a half on the lightrail round trip each day. That might sound like a long time, wasted time to you but it really wasn’t. While I sat on the train I got to finish up homework, read for school or for fun (let’s be honest, school reading was fun reading for me), catch up on phone calls or emails, or sit next to friends and chat to our hearts content. I filled that time to the brim and by the time I got to school, I had accomplished something. I was prepared for where I was going.
The lightrail ride is a lot like life I think. During certain seasons, I think it feels like we are just on a never-ending train ride. We know where we want to go but it just feels like we never get there. We see person after person get off at their stop but it’s never our turn. The ride goes on and on and we’re constantly wondering if we’re there yet.
Maybe you’re waiting to get married. Maybe you’re waiting to get pregnant. Maybe your train ride is taking you to a promotion that seems like it will never come or a break through for your child that just doesn’t seem to have a grasp on right and wrong. Maybe you’re looking out the window and seeing the life you want just up ahead but the train just can’t seem to get there.
I want to tell you that there is beauty and benefit in the waiting. There is something to be gained, blessing to be found, and joy to be had even in the commute. You might have something better in mind for yourself, but the ride that you’re on right now, is not half bad.
You see, the lightrail ride was not my main objective for my day. My goal was to get to school, earn my degree, learn new things but I had to get on the train to get there. I had to wait for forty five minutes while the train plugged along, stopping every few miles to let people on and off. I had to be patient. And I had to find a way to fill the time. I had to decide to take back those minutes of simply getting there and lead them to my advantage.
“Only let each person lead the life that the Lord has assigned to him, and to which God has called him.” 1 Corinthians 7:17 (ESV)
I think that God assigns us to wait sometimes. Sometimes he sends us to destinations that are far away from where we are now and the only way to get there is to commute. God is wise though and he doesn’t waste our time. Each moment we live, each breath we breath is valuable to him and he promised to give us life to the full. Do you think that that only applies to the times that we are living in “the destination”? Do you think that He made it so that we can only have a fulfilling life when we’re finally married, finally pregnant, finally on top? I don’t.
I think that there’s life to be lived while we’re traveling to our next stop. Just like I found fulfillment by doing something on the train each day, we can find fulfillment by doing something in our seasons of waiting.
“But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” Isaiah 40:31 (KJV)
Look at that verse closely. It’s talking about people who are waiting on the Lord. Are they just sitting around though? No. It says that they that wait on the Lord will mount up, run, walk, renew their strength. In case you’re a little rusty on your parts of speech, those are verbs-action words. They that wait will renew their strength in the Lord and will take action! Even in the waiting.
Sure, you might be stuck in the commute, riding that train that meanders along to wherever it is God is sending you. But He sent you and He knows just how long it will take to get there. His plan for you is good and full and big and grand and this time that seems useless is not.
You, the one who is waiting, are not irrelevant to the world. Nowhere in God’s word does it say that we must “arrive” before we can mount up and go. In fact, it’s in the waiting that we can run and walk and fly with wings as eagles! How else do you think we’ll get to where we’re going?
So if you are on that train to your hearts desire, ask the Lord what it is that you are supposed to be doing right now. Settle into this ride with The Good Book and pick a seat next to some friends. Fill it up, live it up, and find value in the commute. You’ll be there before you know it.