No Sold Sign…Yet

My house is still for sale. I was hoping it will sell quickly but it’s been a month now.

I hate waiting.

I’ve never been a good waiter. The other day I was sitting at a light and heard myself say to my daughter, “Geesh, this light is long.” We had been sitting there for maybe three minutes and I was itching to step on the gas. Seriously? There minutes isn’t a long time…unless you’re a bad waiter.

But there are good things about waiting. For me, knowing a realtor can call any day to ask to bring a potential buyer helps me keep my house tidy and vacuum dog hair more often than I would otherwise. It helped last week when someone showed up without calling. (After they left I wondered if they noticed the pair of one of my grandson’s underwear on the floor in the guest room? Oh well.)

What are you waiting for?

Sometimes waiting is something we can control. Like when you walk into a restaurant and choose to go elsewhere rather than standing in a crowded lobby for an hour while your stomach growls. But often the waiting is providential: God is in control and there’s nothing you can do to speed Him up.

Psalm 40:31 tells us that waiting on God renews our strength. I’m been thinking about this lately. How can waiting make us stronger? Too often for me, waiting makes me nothing but impatient, discontented or self-pitying!

Waiting on a house to sell is nothing compared to waiting for a baby to fill your empty arms, money to buy groceries, relief from chronic pain or that a loved one will turn to God. But I don’t think the reason for the wait is as important as the intended strength the Lord can forge in the process.

Strength through waiting is something only He can grow.

Strength to say no to whining and complaining at His timetable. To trust when delays assault His faithfulness. To cry out for comfort and help when weakness sets in. To repent when treasonous thoughts tempt us to doubt His fatherly love. To fight for joy when yet another day or week or year or decade goes by without getting what we want.

Getting impatient is a common temptation in our debt-infested, eat on the run, hurry-up culture where nobody wants to wait on much of anything. I’m realizing that it’s likely God’s kindness that motivates His slowness at times. Wise parents realize that character is built when kids learn they can’t always get what they want when they want it. And God, as our Father, is the best parent of all.

There’s a part of me that keeps thinking, “Once I really get to the place of trusting God for the sale of our house, then it will sell.” Silly me. That means God is the one waiting for me to get my act together before He answers my prayer. Who does that mean is actually in control, then?

No. God’s plans are not controlled by me or you. Thankfully, even our salvation was His initiative. “While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” He didn’t wait for us to pursue Him, but pursued us when we were helpless sinners. I think He demonstrated then that the  waiting was on us, not Him.

My house won’t sell because of something I’m doing or not doing…well…other than keeping it clean and attractive for potential buyers. It will sell when God moves the heart of someone to want to hang pictures of their family members on the walls here. Until then, I wait.

And gain strength to be patient, trusting and joyful until the “sold” sign shows up.