Grant me patience Lord – but hurry

I’m sure I spend at least half of my life waiting.

Last week, Anna and I sat in the examining room for 45 minutes waiting for a doctor. We had previously spent ten minutes in the waiting room, having arrived right on time for Anna’s appointment. The doctor entered, made the necessary examination, wrote out two requisitions and a prescription and sent us our way. Total time: a few minutes over an hour.

The following day I escorted Anna to another doctor’s office, a specialist. We arrived ten minutes early and finally, one hour later, met the doctor face to face. A half hour after that, tests all completed and prescriptions written, we left his office and looked for a restaurant to relieve the hunger knots in our stomachs.

Later that day, a friend phoned to tell me he would come by in 15 minutes to pick up an item he had left with me. I stood around waiting for him for a quarter hour. Tired by his nonappearance, I asked Anna to watch and returned to my computer to begin writing the column for this week. The belated friend appeared about one hour later than the promised time. Right about then it struck me: an hour in the doctor’s office, an hour in the specialist’s office, then another hour waiting for my friend. Of course. I should have expected it. My friend is also a doctor.

I shouldn’t just blame doctors. I wait for everything and everybody. I wait to go to sleep at night. I wait to get out of bed in the morning so I won’t disturb Anna. I wait for emails from family members. I wait for the letter carrier to arrive. I check the mail, discovering that I’ll wait even longer for those overdue cheques. I wait for the daily paper so I can do the jumble and crossword puzzle.

Looking at the calender, it tells me that Christmas will arrive in five weeks. So now I’ll have to wait for Christmas. That’s not such a big issue. I remember as a boy waiting and watching the months drag by before Christmas. Back then with Christmas fever rising, it seemed every week in actual time took about a month of waiting time. 

People waited hundreds of years for the first Christmas. They read the words of the prophet, who hundreds of years before Jesus’ birth, said, “for unto us a child is born, unto us a Son is given … and He shall be called Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” They read another prophet who said “But thou Bethlehem … out of thee shall He come forth unto me that is to be ruler of Israel …” And they waited, and waited, and finally He came. 

Devout Christians today not only look forward to celebrating the birth of Christ in five weeks time, but they also wait for him to return again. Two millennia ago another writer said, “This same Jesus which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner …”  

Where do we as a human race get our patience? Some folks would call it a result of thousands of years of evolution. I prefer to believe God designed us to wait.

He wrote it into our DNA.


Ray Wiseman