by SHERYE S. GREEN
Beating Solitaire and waiting for God
Have you ever been in a place in your life where you were diligently searching for answers, but none had appeared? Have you ever asked God to let you know which direction to take regarding a specific situation, but as of yet, no direction had been given? I have, and that unspecified period of time between the prayer and the answer can be incredibly awkward.
When I’m in one of these seasons, I’m not always particularly patient. I’m in God’s waiting room right now and, although He’s not answered me, He recently gave me an object lesson to remind me of some of His purposes for such a time.
A few weeks ago, I needed to make a substantial number of photocopies at the local office supply store. Two sets of copies needed to be made of a collection of letters and cards, each of differing sizes and page lengths. Because the papers could not be copied uniformly, I figured it would be easier to use the store’s self-serve copier. Although my stack was thick, I didn’t think the task would take that long.
I placed the first card on the glass surface of the copier. After bringing down the machine’s lid, I swiped my credit card. The machine then asked: Did I want the copies in color or black and white? How many copies of each document was I making? Did I need the copies collated? After each question, a little circular symbol would appear on the screen and rotate until my answer was processed. This little swirly motion occurred after every question. This was going to be an incredibly slow process.
After 25 minutes, only three of some 25 cards had been copied. Yikes! I could feel a bad attitude coming on.
I took out my cell phone and located my Solitaire game app. Surely a few minutes of uncovering cards would kill time. Solitaire is my go-to stress reliever and besides, I love the game! While I feigned patience as the little swirly symbol rotated, I also had an internal conversation with myself. You can get mad and lose your temper, I told myself, or you can chill and enjoy this morning.
As I alternated between playing Solitaire and punching the “Next” button on the copier, the Lord brought several thoughts to my mind about waiting.
Frank Pollard, a beloved former pastor, once explained that “waiting for” God is not the same as tapping my foot while waiting in a checkout line, or huffing and puffing like the Big Bad Wolf until I get my way. Dr. Pollard said “waiting for” God means “to habitually trust in” Him. The Hebrew word for “wait” is qavah and it means “to wait for,” to “hopefully wait,” to “look eagerly.” Dr. Pollard cited Isaiah 40:31 – “Yet those who wait for the Lord will gain new strength; They will mount up with wings like eagles, They will run and not get tired, They will walk and not become weary.”
Once I finally decided to stop fretting, and instead wait patiently through the copying process, I settled down to enjoy probably 10 or more games of Solitaire. Overjoyed each time the machine finally began copying a particular card or letter, I’d return to my game until the copied version of the document swooshed out into the tray. Before long, I had two neat stacks of copies.
The time in which we wait, whether on a copy machine or for God to move in our lives, is never wasted, although it can be incredibly frustrating. Our attitude is what makes the difference. Waiting creates focus. As I stood in front of the copier, I had to concentrate on one task at a time — making copies or playing Solitaire. Waiting affords us a chance to place our attention on what is right before us, just as I chose to focus on Solitaire and not my frustration. Waiting also forces us to make a choice — God’s way or our own.
It took me an hour and a half that Thursday morning to make all my copies. I think I beat Solitaire about six times. Even though I lost several games, I won a spiritual victory. God used a game to remind me that when I trust Him in those days of waiting, He can make something beautiful out of the experience.
I still have several major requests before the Lord. Until He shares His answers, I’m going to sit in His waiting room and trust Him. While I do, I’m going to continue beating Solitaire.
Sherye Green is a Jacksonian and a wife, mother and grandmother. Sherye and her husband, Mark, are members of First Baptist Jackson. She is also the author of Abandon Not My Soul and Tending the Garden of My Heart.