Waiting is part of our human experience. It fosters patience and, like a thread, weaves together our hopes. Waiting becomes key to expressing faith. It is necessary, working in the heart of every believer. And yet, waiting is tough.
Three-year-old Kyle had his heart set on a He-Man action figure, and this first-time dad was not going to let him down. I made a plan: I shopped all of the toy departments in all the stores in Baton Rouge. Kathy called family members to scour their hometowns. It was only weeks before Christmas and the toy could not be found.
Days passed and all seemed lost until I spied a full-page ad in the Sunday edition of The Advocate. D. H. Holmes, the New Orleans-based department store, was one of the largest store chains in the South, infamous for having the “hard-to-find.” The ad featured a number of items not found in other stores. Among the items listed, “He-Man Action Figure” jumped from the page with a disclaimer, “while supplies last.” Doors opened Monday at 10:00 a.m.
He-Man is the key figure in the Mattel “Masters of the Universe” franchise. An animated television series debuted in 1983 introducing an array of characters. He-Man is the hero and “the most powerful man in the universe.” Kyle loved to mimic him, raising the wooden spatula his mom lent him to serve as He-Man’s sword, declaring: “By the power of Grayskull!” He swirled the spatula in the air, defeating Skeletor and saving Eternia.
With only days to spare, I reasoned it was wise to show up early. When I pulled into the parking lot a few minutes before eight, there was a coiling- snake of people outside the store’s
main door. I took my place and waited. I do not like to wait in line. Waiting is not my strong point. I like to get things done—“plan the work and work the plan.” Finding a solution, getting the answer, and solving the problem is at the core of my being. It is so hard to want something and have to wait.
The doors unlocked exactly at 10:00. People broke from the line, heading to the departments that offered their must-have gifts. I was part of a fierce-looking group of moms, dads, uncles, and grandmas weaving through the aisles to the toy department where the line re-emerged and we waited. Ugh. Nearly 30 minutes later, boxes finally appeared from a storeroom and the treasured He-Man figurines were in sight. There was a push toward the counter as we all went from standing one after another to standing shoulder to shoulder, pressing forward with arms flying upward, exclaiming, “I want one! I need two! Give me three!”
Reaching forward like a running back stretching into the end-zone, I grabbed an action figure, breaking from the pack, tucking the toy close to my body, and darting in and out to the cashier—only to wait again. (Did I mention that I do not like waiting?) Yes, waiting is part of our human experience. None of us can avoid it, and in fact, it is essential.
The Israelites wait, and God delivers them. All the earth waits upon the coming of the Messiah, and Jesus is born. Today, we wait for our Lord’s glorious return, and we are confident that it will come to pass. Waiting is an expression of faith—believing in what is not seen, what has yet to happen, and what is hoped for in the “fullness of time.” God’s time. God is not defined by the word “if ” but “when.” He does not faint or wither. He is infallible and true to His word, driving away fear. Faith is the immovable belief in an infinite, living God who loves beyond our finite understandings.
The writer of Hebrews draws from the stories of Abel, Enoch and Noah and writes: “And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who seek Him” (Heb 11:6 ESV). God is real. We can rest in His never-changing character, waiting with confidence and a sure faith.
After a total of three hours, I returned to my car with the elusive toy in my hands and thought, “Christmas for Kyle is saved!” I must
confess that there would be other times like this, but all these years later, waiting is less an adversary to me. Instead, waiting is a time to cherish. I express faith in my waiting upon the Lord,
knowing He cares for me (1 Pet 5:7). Waiting is now a precious, golden thread woven through the fabric of my faith. Join me. Let us wait for the good our God will bestow in the fullness of time. Let us begin the new year with determined faith.
Written by Jim Edminson, Editor of Charity & Children