Our high-productivity, multitasking culture abhors waiting. This is evident as I look around the packed departure lobby at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport. Everyone has their cell phone or laptop out; many have both going toggling attention from one to the other. Even the toddlers have their rubber-armored digital babysitters to keep them occupied.
A communal sigh comes up from the crowd as the very proper All Nippon Airways gate agent announces the second ‘mechanical issues’ delay for our flight to Tokyo.
Feeling the tension and aggravation rising within me and not wanting to go there I step over to the expansive glass wall overlooking our broken down plane and the miles of tarmac beyond. This transparent barrier keeping us manageable inside the ‘secure area’ like rhesus monkeys in a science lab as the ever-present video cameras monitor our Pavlovian responses to their audible cues. Outside workmen, busy as carpenter ants loading tons of air cargo into the bellies of flying Freightliners, pause to check their Facebook statuses. Lifting my eyes beyond this activity I see a splendid sun rise over the Southeast Asian jungle where I long to be. Golden shafts of light stream through the slits in the dark clouds calling my heart to praise for the Creator of heaven and earth, sunshine and rain. I stand in silence, in solitude among the crowd, alone with the Alone. Opening myself to hear the voice of God, to relax, to renew, to wait.
In a few minutes a pair of sparrows come hopping down the broad windowsill outside. The thick glass wall affords them the safety to move within a couple of feet of me as they peck at grit on the grimy concrete ledge. I recall Jesus teaching his disciples, “Aren’t two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them falls to the ground without your Father’s consent.” Our God is aware of these tiny sparrows and our broken Boeing 777 just beyond them. Neither will fall from the sky without our Father’s consent.
Whether it’s our 40-minute flight delay, Jesus’ 40 days in the wilderness, or the Israelites’ 40 years of wandering in the desert God uses times of waiting to teach us, to draw us closer, to show us his love for us and for all of his creation.
Waiting is an important part of the journey!