Waiting and Donating

“I am exhausted from crying for help; my throat is parched. My eyes are swollen with weeping, waiting for my God to help me.” Psalms 69:3

I have a few minor addictions. One is sugar-free vanilla iced coffee from a popular fast-food restaurant. The other is accumulating stuff. Both bring me temporary pleasure that lead to problems shortly after. The coffee-well it’s usually consumed after I’ve already had plenty of caffeine for the day, so it increases my heart rate and raises my anxiety. Accumulating stuff costs money. Not only does this addiction dwindle my savings, it also creates clutter in a house that is already lacking many storage options. That leads to spending an entire day, sometimes an entire weekend, de-cluttering. Which is exactly how I spent part of my weekend a month ago. After cleaning out my closet and dresser drawers, adding to the already accumulated pile on my couch, I loaded everything up in my truck in preparation to donate it all at a local second hand store.

Some mornings, I skip breakfast at home which means grabbing drive-thru on my way to work. Remember that iced coffee addiction I mentioned above, well, it led to me going to that popular fast-food restaurant for breakfast, just to satisfy that craving. I have a 40-minute commute to work. I have to pass this fast-food chain twice during that commute. The first causes me to leave the expressway and drive about five minutes out of my way. The second is located directly across from my job. Of course, for convenience reasons, I choose the latter. Here’s the kicker-that one almost always leads to a very lengthy wait. I’ve sat in that drive-thru for over 20 minutes before. Not because it had a long line either. I honestly don’t know the reasons behind the long wait. I could get frustrated each time, but I choose patience instead. I know at some point the line will move, I’ll get my food and iced coffee and be on my way.

One recent morning the wait in this drive-thru line seemed different. The parking lot was almost empty and there was only one vehicle in front of me. I felt a tinge of excitement believing I would buzz right through the line and get to work earlier than anticipated. After placing my order, I pulled around to the payment window only to find myself waiting for the car in front of me. This vehicle didn’t move for what seemed like eternity. After a few minutes, I put my truck in park and waited even longer. Finally I saw an exchange between the cashier and the customer and the customer finally pulled forward. They promptly received their food and drove away. I thought the wait was over but I was fooled again. For as I pulled up to the payment window, I found myself waiting again. This time for them to process my payment. After watching three other employees gather around the cashier and finagle with the cash register, I could easily draw the conclusion they were experiencing technical issues. Once the transaction finally went through, the cashier confirmed my suspicion. Another short wait, and I finally had my food, including that sugar-free cup of caffeinated addiction that was the reason I chose that specific restaurant in the first place.

Fast forward to the end of my work day on that very same day. I skipped the gym and drove to the second hand store. It took three trips to get all the donations out of my truck and inside the store. It felt exhilarating to unload all that stuff, not only knowing my house was a little less overstocked, but the backseat of my truck was also cleaned out. I thought for a minute how easy it was to unload everything. Although it did take three trips, I was able to park close which meant short walks in between the building and my truck. On my second trip, a woman coming out of the store, carrying a box of her own, stopped just to hold the door for me. Knowing her hands were just as full as mine and she still managed to get the door for me I couldn’t help but appreciate her kindness a little extra. Dropping everything off was also hassle free because no one from the store approached me. I was in and out of the store and had an empty back seat again in less than five minutes.

These things are normal routine moments in life. But today, two things occurred to me that left me asking myself two questions. Why is it, I could wait so patiently in line for an unhealthy beverage that would inevitably increase my heart rate but I am too impatient to wait on God’s timing in certain circumstances? Why also did it seem so easy to unload my “junk” to a second store yet so difficult to unload my burdens to Jesus? I think I know the answers, but I’m not going to write them here. Instead, I raise the same questions to you and challenge you to ask God. Don’t be surprised though, when God gives you the answers, He give you the assignment of a long overdue lesson in waiting also.