Beauty in the Waiting

Wednesday 20 April 2022


Last month I boarded a flight at the Miami airport, eager to get back to the little island I call home. We had, to my surprise, boarded early - a rare event in my experiences of traveling. I happily pushed my bag under the seat and buckled my seatbelt, fairly optimistic that I would be getting back home even sooner than expected. The time for takeoff came and went, yet we remained on the ground. The pilot assured us there was no mechanical reason for the delay - just a busy, backed up runway.  Finally, almost one and a half hours after boarding, the plane began to move. As I sat there, it annoyed me to think we had been waiting on the plane longer than the duration of the flight. (The flight from Miami to the Cayman Islands is a short one - about one hour.) I was tired and frustrated, but relieved that we were finally on our way.

About fifteen minutes before we landed, I looked out the window and saw an Instagram-worthy sight. Brilliant streaks of gold and orange were painted across the sky, as the sun dipped below a sea of clouds. I immediately grabbed my phone and took one photo after another, trying my hardest to capture the beauty through the hazy airplane window.

The sun disappeared beneath the clouds a few minutes later, and as the plane began its decent, I thought about that incredible sunset. The words of Psalm 19:1 echoed through my mind: "The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands." I had beheld God's glory in that sunset-in-the-sky, all because of an unexpected delay. My flight was originally supposed to land at 6:00, a whole thirty minutes before I snapped those photos. If we had taken off at the scheduled time, we wouldn't have been in the air during the sunset, and I would have missed that beautiful moment. 

God used that experience to remind me of an important truth: There is beauty and purpose in our waiting. This may seem like a cliché, romanticized statement, especially in a culture of immediate gratification where waiting is seen as a major inconvenience. And yet, we are all waiting on something. It may be a new job, a spouse, a baby, or something else entirely, but we all have our own unexpected delays and unfulfilled longings to deal with. In these waiting seasons, it's easy to grow bitter, frustrated, and hopeless, especially when our circumstances aren't changing on our timeline. Our waiting can feel pointless at times, like sitting on a grounded airplane for over an hour. Proverbs 13:12 describes it this way: "Delayed hope makes the heart sick, but fulfilled desire is a tree of life."

But what if our waiting is really just a hazy airplane window, a lens through which to see God's glory? Could it be that there is beauty to behold in these seasons, if only we would look up? If we would look at what God is doing instead of keeping our eyes on our circumstances? A few years ago, in one of the most difficult waiting seasons of my life, God brought my attention to Psalm 63. This beautiful psalm was written by King David - someone who knew an awful lot about waiting. After being anointed, he waited 15 years to become king of Israel, all the while running from jealous King Saul, who wanted to kill him. He spent much of that time waiting and hiding in the wilderness, not knowing when God's promise to him would be fulfilled. Psalm 63 in particular was written while he was in the Judean desert. And yet, in the midst of that desert, David writes these words:

"You, God are my God,
earnestly I seek you;
I thirst for you,
my whole being longs for you,
in a dry and parched land where there is no water" (v. 1).

Right there, in the dry wilderness, David had discovered the beauty of waiting. Though there was nothing physically beautiful in his surroundings, the real beauty was seen in his wholehearted longing for God. Although God could have certainly let David become king of Israel sooner, He chose to have him wait. And during that time, He revealed more of His glory as He transformed David's heart. The beauty of this transformation is evident throughout David's prayer:

"I have seen you in the sanctuary
and beheld your power and your glory.
Because your love is better than life,
my lips will glorify you.
I will praise you as long as I live,
and in your name I will lift up my hands.
I will be fully satisfied as with the riches of foods;
with singing lips my mouth will praise you" (vv. 2-5). 

Are you in a season of waiting today? If so, I encourage you to let David's heartfelt prayer become your own. Instead of complaining, ask Christ to strengthen you and teach you to be content in this season (Philippians 4:11-13). Ask Him to open your eyes to the beauty of waiting on the Lord, and trust Him to transform your heart to be more like His. And as you look up, may you see unmistakable glimpses of His glory shining through, like a golden sunset in an endless sea of clouds.

"And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit." - 2 Corinthians 3:18

1 comment

  1. Thank you so much for this. I have been praying for patience in many areas in ny life.


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