After college I swore that I would never stand in a waiting line again. Cafeteria lines, registration lines, textbookstore lines all had eaten up more time than the studies themselves, it seemed. It was a vain resolution.

Lines and waiting rooms became a prominent feature of my career as a minister. Hospital waiting rooms, court house lobbies, city council chambers, and jailhouse waiting rooms took the place of earlier lines. In retirement, road and traffic delays and outer office sitting areas have continued to devour time.

Early line training introduced me to the art of starting conversations with strangers, if they were amenable, or preparing sermons, letters, or work outlines without the benefit of notepaper. Thinking through concerns in empty spaces of time also helped with the daily exercise of running. Regardless of work being accomplished and acquaintances being made, waiting is still waiting.

“Those who wait upon the Lord will renew their strength.” It is a running mantra that I used sometimes. I would say that waiting saps strength and waiting rooms are more tiring exercise chambers than gymnasiums and running tracks. What makes “waiting on the Lord” any different? While most waiting involves anxiety, is there at least the possibility that waiting on the Lord can involve faith, trust, confidence, and some assurance that all things work for good for those who love the Lord? Perhaps waiting on the Lord involves more serving time than leisure time.

Practicing patience and endurance is good for you, my significant other says. Where do these gifts fall in the series of spiritual gifts? Between suffering and hope, with one experience making possible the next, according to Romans 5.

“No waiting” is a good advertising ploy, but I have not found a commercial establishment that yet lives up to that claim. No waiting will be heaven.