You probably have your candidates. I remember a friend of mine telling the story of a ride in the car with his five-year-old son who starting spelling, “F…U…” My friend halted the boy with a, “What are you saying!”
The boy said, “Dad, I’m spelling the words on that sign…see? Furniture Store…F…U…R…”
You get the point…Dad was panicked that he was on the cusp of a four-letter word extravaganza experience. Dad was worried that his son would not only spell the king of all four-letter words, but that he might have to explain to his son why the word was bad. Fortunately, for that Dad, that conversation was postponed for a few years.
I can remember the first (and only) time I used THAT word in front of my parents. As a late-stage teenager, I had been dispatched to purchase the family Christmas Tree at the local Christmas Tree farm. While in search of the perfect tree, I came across a family of four who had likely started out on an idyllic outing to track down their own yuletide perfection.
The expedition had clearly not gone well, because my introduction to said family occurred when the Dad shouted at the Mom, “I don’t care which (fill in the blank with aforementioned “f” word) tree you get, I. AM. DONE!” I recounted the story to my Mom and Dad–slyly proud (in the manner of all teenage boys) that I had gotten away with using THAT word in front of my parents. But a quick frown from my Dad wordlessly said it all: “NEVER AGAIN” (even though they both laughed at the story).
I know–bad boy–bad Christian–bad blogger. If it’s any consolation to members of the language police, my language reformed when I became a believer (which was a bit of a miraculous work of the Spirit, since I was in the military at the time). Now I never say bad words–ever–except maybe to myself–in the car–when one of you cuts me off in traffic. I am sure that no one else reading this ever has that problem.
But, alas, I have, in the words of a writing expert, “buried the lede” (look it up)–I have made you wait too long for the main idea. So, here goes…
There is a plethora of discomfort inducing, four-letter words out there. You probably have your own wince-meat “not-so-favorite.”
But, street foul language aside, here is my candidate for the worst four-letter word: Wait. That’s right: Wait.
I like to think of myself as a patient person, but I truly have a hard time waiting on God’s plan and His timing. I am forever checking in with Him about His schedule. “Surely, Lord, the time is now? Surely, Lord, this is the moment?”
Then those morph into petulance. “Hey, Lord! What’s up?!?” “Can’t you see what’s happening here?!?!” “I need You to do something!!!!”
When God says, “Wait,” I frump, mentally fold my arms and start tapping my foot. I have a hard time waiting.
Patience, being an aspect of the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22), often escapes me. Perhaps you don’t have this problem–but I confess that I do.
Waiting for the doctor’s report or the job interview results or the tax return or the promotion or the acceptance letter or the sonogram results or the mortgage company decision or the search committee to respond or the email to arrive or…well, you get it.
What should we do when we hear this four-letter word? Throw ourselves on the mercy and power of God. Do what David did in Psalm 13.
– Be straight with God about our impatience:
1How long, Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? 2 How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and day after day have sorrow in my heart? How long will my enemy triumph over me?
3 Look on me and answer, Lord my God. Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death, 4 and my enemy will say, “I have overcome him,” and my foes will rejoice when I fall.
– But take the step to trust:
5 But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation.
– And, as crazy as it sounds, praise Him:
6 I will sing the Lord’s praise, for he has been good to me.
I am waiting right now. Maybe you’re waiting too. Let’s be straight with God, trust that He is at work, and praise Him–maybe out loud–in the car–when someone cuts you off.
© 2016, All rights reserved. Scriptures from the New International Version (Zondervan).