The phrase “Waiting is a kind of suffering” leapt out to me as I was reading an article by Claire Dwyer recently. This particularly holds true in my life right now as I am accompanying my mom on her journey of recovery from a stroke that she suffered at the end of June.
The process of recovery from any kind of major medical event can be challenging and tedious, but it’s the length of time that recovery can take that usually causes us to experience “waiting as suffering.”
However, I think that anyone who has lived through a time of waiting–waiting for a phone call about a job offer; waiting for an acceptance letter from a college; waiting on a decision about an offer on a home purchase; waiting for test results from a medical procedure; waiting to see what path life is going to point you next; can all attest to the challenges and struggles that happen in the midst of the waiting.
But how is it possible that the simple act of waiting is a kind of suffering?
Isn’t suffering only associated with physical or emotional pain? Kind of.
Suffering is actually anything that we do not like, do not choose, and cannot change. (Thanks, Mike Scherschligt! 😉)
So if we think about suffering in this light, then it almost becomes easy to see how waiting, too, is a kind of suffering.
Why is that?
Because how much of waiting is something that we do not like, do not choose, and cannot change?
Just about every single moment.
So if the reality is that waiting is suffering, how are we making use of it?
Are we complaining and railing and struggling against it?
Or are we accepting it with faith and hope and obedience and looking to unite it with Christ to help bring about reparation for our sins and the sins of others?
Are we using the times of waiting to open ourselves to being more fully transformed through our suffering into the witnesses of God’s love and mercy and joy in the world that He created us to be?
For me, that’s my hope. I want to use my times of waiting well.
But what about you? How are you going to use your times of waiting that come to us throughout our lives?
Will you rail against it?
Or will you use your suffering well?
The choice is yours. So choose wisely.