First half of January: “How are you feeling?”
Second half of January: “Were those real contractions or was your body faking it?”
The past few weeks: “Do you think you will have the baby today?”

This has been the progression of questions I’ve posed to my wife over the past month as we prepare for the birth of our second child. Reflecting on this season and anticipating the next, I can’t say I’ve been the most patient. However, I’m happy to say that, as I’m writing this, the baby has not come yet.

Let me explain.

There are seasons all of us long for but have a difficult time waiting for. Graduation during your senior year, marriage while you’re engaged, a new job when your current one is beyond stressful. Whether the future seasons are imminent or mere possibilities, we want the good of the future and we want it now.

In today’s world of instant gratification, patience is seen more as a vice than a virtue. We’re accustomed to streaming anything we want in seconds, receiving meals in minutes, and expecting packages in two days or less. Unless the present season is fulfilling, or at least stimulating enough to carry us along, we are anxious to see what the next season brings.

Patience is old hat, and waiting is for the birds.

Now, I’m not saying that we should try to block the hope that accompanies the future from our minds. Rather, when the future is all that we think about, and when everything is available to us almost immediately, it incorrectly shapes how we think the world functions. It forms our expectations, molds our relationships, and can leave us off-beat with the cadence of reality. We can become so fixated on the future that we are blind to the present.

Is there any benefit to waiting? Could there be any enjoyment in the present season even when the future’s so much brighter?

Solomon has something to say in Ecclesiastes 3 (and the Byrds put a tune to it)

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven… God has made everything beautiful in its time.

There is a season for waiting, and God has made it beautiful in its time.

Waiting is not mere idleness or an indefinite time of mediocrity. Waiting allows us to witness the beauty that God is working all around us in his timing. It humbles us and allows us to acknowledge that we aren’t in as much control as we would like to think (and this is good). When that anticipated season comes, waiting creates a backdrop for that season to be treasured.

So, when I say I’m happy the baby hasn’t come, it’s not because we are unprepared or unexcited. Rather, it’s out of gratitude for the time I’ve had to reflect on the beauty God has woven into this season. In the coming days, when the baby arrives, not only will it bring a season of insurmountable joy, but it will cause me to appreciate the season of waiting we have been in.

I don’t know what season you’re in, but whatever it is, may you find contentment in the waiting and see the beauty that God has created in it.

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