Some birds, King Fishers, for example will sit on a rock with their beautiful wings stretched to the sun, waiting to dry off and give them a choice again. Once they are dry, they can choose to fly, or spotting an opportunity to do a little more fishing, they can get back in the water. Either way, they wait patiently as they dry their wings, humming to themselves perhaps, praying a little, or simply letting the world pass them by as they wait for the warmth of the sun to free them. As I spotted these incredible birds along the Serapiqui River in Costa Rica, I couldn’t help thinking how much they offer a lesson to me, the one who resists waiting, the one who struggles with patience.
What does it take for human beings to wait patiently? The psalmist says, Wait and hope for and expect the Lord; be brave and of good courage and let your heart be stout and enduring. Yes, wait for and hope for and expect the Lord.
It’s hard to wait. Sometimes I think the hardest part of waiting is that we’re not usually sitting on the bank of a river, knowing full well that what we wait for will happen. We don’t always believe that as soon as our wings are dry we’ll be able to fly again, or that new opportunity will present itself. Often, we don’t even have encouragers around us who will remind us that waiting for the Lord, expecting and hoping in Him are even the answer. We live in a culture that keeps demanding our action and as soon as we try to wait patiently, we’re regarded as simply being unwilling to act. What would happen if the King Fisher didn’t let his wings dry? Clearly, he might not fly again. He might fall in the water and catch another fish, but eventually he would need to rest so that he could perform in the way he was designed to perform. We’re designed in a similar way. We’re designed sometimes to sit and be patient and lean on our hope, not hope in anything we’ve done, but hope in the One who already prepared us for the very next mission, the next important role in life.
I’m sitting here today with my arms outstretched, watching the ripples in the water, paying attention to the changing skies, but knowing that I don’t have to go anywhere. Today, I’m meant to rest. I’m meant to wait with expectant hope. I’m meant to believe that all is well and that everything doesn’t depend on me. My job is to be patient and to surrender. You can only surrender with open arms and so I offer that image to each of us who patiently wait for new jobs, new opportunities, new love, new possibilities. Open your arms, open your heart, and surrender to the One who designed you so perfectly that as soon as you embrace the Son on your back, the warmth of His love, you’ll fly again and opportunities will be right in front of you.
There can be some real beauty in waiting, especially if we do it together. Just look for me along the river bank and then open your arms and say it with me, “All is well, all is well!”