The Places We Wait

The average person will spend 10 years of their life standing in line. A third of your life will be spent being fast asleep. Of course, there are the months or even years we wait to be married, the times we anxiously wait while life forms in our wombs, and the time we bide between the beginning and end of countless goals. In essence, we all do a lot of waiting. And the thing is, nobody asks you how your engagement went, they ask about the wedding. Some might be curious about pregnancy, but most ears want to hear the excitement of the birth story. Waiting doesn’t make headlines, but without it, the main event can never take place.    

Waiting can often seem unnecessary, or even like a punishment, but there is a purpose. In my mother’s house hangs an embroidered quote from one of my favorite movies (and books), The Princess Bride. It says, “You rush a miracle man, you get rotten miracles.” That is truer than we realize. When I think about the things that are happening when we wait, it’s usually a vital process that is taking place in order for us to have a new adventure or an important time of personal testing and growth.

Traveling to Israel was the worst flying experience of my entire life. After two days of air and car travel, I turned to my mother and husband and told them, “Never again. I’m never doing this again.” All of that changed when at long last, I met my Aunt Johanne, and my cousins, Benjamin, and Moshe, an orthodox Jewish rabbi, for the first time in Ramat Gan. That trip, coupled with the unparalleled experiences I had at Gethsemane, and in Jerusalem, changed my life forever. During the longest flight which lasted 14 hours, that cramped plane made me sick, and swollen, and stole my sleep. While I was laser-focused on my discomfort and lack of legroom, that airplane was doing something colossal—-carrying me safely over 7,500 miles, a half-dozen countries, and a vast ocean to bring me to my Aunt’s small apartment outside Tel Aviv. When I embraced my family members for the very first time, every moment of the journey was worth the wait.

     I often wonder what the premortal existence was like for those of us alive on the Earth today. We waited millennia. That waiting was vital as generations who lived before created families, governments and shaped the landscape of the future. I do not believe we were haphazardly sent down. We were perfectly timed to come to mortal life to be wives, mothers, leaders, teachers, friends, and protectors.

     With opened eyes, we can see a consistent pattern in the Bible and the Book of Mormon, how the Lord used periods of waiting to prepare and strengthen His people. Did Nephi and his family really need to experience what might seem like wasted time traveling to the Promised Land, only to turn back and get the plates from Laban? Yes. Did the Israelites really need to wander the desert with Moses for 40 years? Yes. Did the world really need to wait for the meridian of time to know its Savior? Yes. Often, times of delay are needed in order for God to prepare hearts, send promptings, and find those who can help Him accomplish His tasks with the use of their own free will and agency.

While we wait upon the Lord to bring us into the light of the next chapter of our lives, I know we can put infinite trust in His ability to prepare us and teach us, and keep us from ever experiencing the catastrophe of any kind of rushed or even rotten miracles. 

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  • Alene Harrison
    May 13, 2020 at 8:31 pm

    What a marvelous article. It has given me food for thought, and helped in this specific time of waiting for . . . who knows what? Waiting – and not knowing – have always been the hardest parts of life for me. I appreciate your clear perspective and wisdom. Thank you.

    • Michelle Catherine Walker
      May 18, 2020 at 9:45 am

      Alene, thank you for your kind words. Thankfully, the Lord *does* know what is ahead! Waiting is always the hardest! 💗

      • Kristen
        May 20, 2020 at 8:55 am

        This is so fabulous!! Thank you for your beautiful insight!!