Between Lightning and Thunder

When I was in college, I was pretty busy. I was working part time at a video store(a) during the day and full time at Albertson’s stocking shelves during the graveyard shift. I was also taking a full load of classes while speaking a lot at Young Life. I worried my poor Mom so much during those couple years because the only time she would see me was when I’d stumble upstairs for a couple hours of sleep before the next class, speaking gig, or shift at work.

Despite all of the busyness, I look back fondly on that time because I learned how to wait on God. I used to read in the Bible about Jesus waiting forty days in the wilderness or Moses waiting forty days to carve out the ten commandments as something quite boring. I mean, you can only pace and skip stones for so long. Hurry up and do something God, I don’t have all day! Waiting is what we do in line at the grocery store. That busy period of my life taught me waiting on God is much more exciting than that. In fact, waiting on God was the most thrilling part of my week.
I remember sitting in my car in the parking lot of Albertson’s before work. I hadn’t slept in a couple days. I remember taking out my Bible and turning to the book of Isaiah and squinting my eyes to one particular verse under my car’s dome light.
“but those who wait in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not faint.”(b)
I took God at his word. I turned off my dome light, closed my Bible, and clocked into work. And as I worked, I would wait.
But this waiting was a joyful expectancy.
A giddy excitement.
Like a teenager waiting their turn to jump off a cliff into the water.
Like a child peering through the window at lightning flashing in the dark and waiting for the thunder.
Like a trapeze artist that has just let go, arms stretched out, waiting to be caught.
And while I waited, God would strengthen me. He’d carry me. He’d help me. Every. Single. Time. His faithfulness built a steady reputation in my life that I have leaned on all these years.
Now, I don’t think of waiting as a boring obligation. It’s become the best part of my week. Prayer ceases to be a painstaking ritual but a conversation with the One that promised abundant life. Waiting turns my attempts to follow Jesus into an adventure. When I wait on Him, this life opens up to me. I become keenly aware of His ability to do anything and his activity in this world. I heard someone say that grace is best received to those with empty hands. If that’s true, I believe waiting helps me open my hands up.
So, I got a lil “waiting” kind of prayer I’d like to share with you:
“God, can I be a part of what you’re doing today?”
Then wait. And see what happens.
I double dog dare you to ask Him that. This life may open up to you. Distractions may become divine moments. Inconveniences may become opportunities. Your answer may be right around the corner. Christianity may become an adventure again. You may find yourself between lightning and thunder.
a. Did you know they used to have video stores?
b. Isaiah 40:31