Distraction / God's Plan / Wait

What It Means To Wait (6 of 6)

Wait as – being bound by the ‘other’


Although this category is represented by only one term, the idea was prominent enough in other places that it deserved specific attention.

            As we have seen before, waiting affects both the person waiting and the one waited for. This last category adds a third subject, an obstacle to the wait. Everything would be as it should, on schedule, if this particular obstacle did not appear. Therefore, both the waiting and the subject of the wait are impacted. There are three instances which clarify this idea. First in Acts 17:16, Paul alters a step in his mission as he waits for Silas and Timothy to arrive. Next, in 1 Peter 3:20 God delayed his action for the sake of Noah and so the ark could be completed. The final instance is slightly more complicated. What could be considered the obstacle is a group of disabled people. Specifically Jesus makes his way towards one (v.5-6) and heals him (v.7-8). Who this group was an obstacle to is not entirely clear, perhaps to the Jewish leaders mentioned in verse 10. Or it could merely be pointing out the fact that Jesus made a turn towards this man so that their paths would have to intersect.

The definition of being ‘bound by the other’ implies that our coarse of action may at times depend upon the action of others. We cannot control the whole world, and in reality, what little control we believe we have is often an illusion. This definition of wait suggests that even with all of our planning and all of our waiting on God, we are by no means the only factor in our wait. Furthermore, even what can be seen and understood about the delay – its reason, subject, timeframe, geography – all of these are subject to interference from the unknown. And with billions of people headed in countless direction, it is more likely than not our waits are going to be influenced by factors well off our radar. Yet we may rest in knowing they are seen and known by God and ultimately under his authority.


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