Hurry Up and Wait…
Those of you with excellent taste in music will recognise today’s title as lines from the brilliant Blondie song “Sunday Girl”, released in 1978 and still as good today as it was then. There are two stories about who “Sunday Girl” was – one is that she was a shop assistant whom worked on Sundays (go figure!); the other, more whimsical one is that Sunday Girl was a cat belonging to one of the band members or their family. I’ll leave you to decide which you want to believe!
But the cat story does allow me to make a tenuous link to our dog, Marley (pictured below).
Every morning he and I have a conversation that could well be described as “hurry up” and “wait”. As soon as he knows I am getting dressed he starts barking – “hurry up, I want to go for a walk” and every day I go to the top of the stairs and tell him, amongst other things, to wait…
His impatience, which some might think cute, can actually be annoying. And what might be cute in a dog is definitely not cute in a human being – yet so many of us want things to hurry up – hurry up and arrive, or hurry up and go, certainly in the case of Covid 19. We don’t want more restrictions; we want our old freedoms back again, and so often we find ourselves saying “I wish this virus would hurry up and go away” or “why can’t they find a vaccine faster?”
Part of our problem is that we have got used to getting things “on demand”, and not having to wait for them. We don’t like waiting. But sometimes that is exactly what we need to do – indeed we need to “hurry up, and wait” – choose to do that first and foremost, even when we are in the midst of suffering, whether that’s an illness or ill-fortune or something else. The Apostle Paul, in Romans 5, says, “we glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance, perseverance, character, and character, hope” (v4). He’s not talking about looking for ways to suffer, or even welcoming suffering, but rather when it comes recognise that if we “hurry up and wait” on God’s plans and purposes we can grow as human beings and we can grow in spiritual maturity. Instant change to our situation very rarely deepens us and grows us as people or as disciples – waiting, and enduring, and trusting God in a difficult season, on the other hand, can and does make us more like Jesus if and when we recognise that He is at work through our situation. And of course we have the promise of Isaiah 40, that “those who hope in (wait on) the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not go weary, they will walk and not grow faint” (v31).
Now I have to confess that I am not very good at this – it’s something God is still working on in me (and I wish He would hurry up!!) – but over the last week I have been privileged to see and hear from two people who have done exactly what we are thinking about today – they have learnt to “hurry up and wait” – to allow God to work in and through their circumstances, and to recognise and praise Him (glory in their sufferings?) in the process, developing a deeper relationship with Him as a result.
To quote my Spiritual Director, many of us long to go deeper but are afraid of what we might find out about ourselves in the process – that’s why we don’t like waiting. but maybe one good thing that can come out of this pandemic is that we learn how to wait on God, and that we do go deeper into a relationship with Him. So rather than moan about how long things are taking, let’s ask the question, “Lord, is there anything you are wanting to say to me, or for me to learn, in this situation?”
Perhaps we all, like Sunday Girl and Marley, need to simply “hurry up and wait.”
God bless, stay safe