Waiting is an activity with impressive documentation throughout Scripture, yet it’s
astonishingly ignored in most constructs of how to live the Christian life. Waiting isn’t a
passive occupation but an active and hopeful orientation toward the activity of God for which
there’s no present evidence. Refusal to wait is a refusal to trust. Paul never counseled
passivity or quietism. He did, however, commend the hopeful waiting that expects Christ to
save the day- not only at the Second Coming, but in all daily comings where he shows up in
our lives, offering salvation from one kind of doom or another, whether a doomed marriage or
a doomed business or simply a doomed attitude.
-Eugene Peterson Conversations: The Message with its Translator (pg 1858)
I lost my cool this week. Two weeks ago, the Mother Superior at the orphanage told me she was choosing our son the next day and submitting the match to the Minister's office that Friday. Soon after that the person appointed as the adoption coordinator resigned. I was told the replacement would be there last Friday, then Monday, then Wednesday. So on Monday, as I sat patiently in the Minister's reception room, my friend suggested that I confirm that the Sisters did indeed send in our paperwork. Turns out they had not - problems with the notary, problems with the replacement, too many families adopting. And my heart plummeted. All this time I thought the papers were in the Minister's hand just awaiting the replacement coordinator, but they still hadn't even been notarized. I expressed my disappointment to the Mother Superior and was told to, "Be Patient."
"Be Patient." As this is my third adoption in seven years, I have truly sought to be patient, but for some reason I couldn't quite handle those words on that day. I wasn't rude, but I wasn't pleasant. I felt like I was being made the bad guy. If a doctor ever told a pregnant woman that she had to carry her child for another term because the doctor just wasn't prepared to handle her delivery, you bet she would fight and find a way to give birth to that child. Yet, often adoptive parents are called, "impatient, headstrong, annoying." It's true. But we're really not. We just want the longing of our heart and the longing of our child's heart to be fulfilled.
Today is Ash Wednesday, a day to reflect upon the start of Lent, to confess and seek forgiveness. I open up the first page of a Lenten devotional a friend compiled and read this section on waiting. In spite of my feeling self-righteous in how I responded to the Sisters, I know, deep down, that I was wrong, that I am not trusting, that I am seeking control. Why is it so hard to give that up? And so I seek forgiveness, I relinquish control, and I wait. I pray our son will come soon and I know he has already been chosen, so he will. Until then, I will change my attitude. I will pray for the Sisters who bathe and clothe and feed and clean up after not only these small children, but widows and handicapped men and women. I will trust the One who guards my child at night, that He will truly save the day.