Peacemaking in the waiting

“You’re waiting so patiently” … the nurse looked at me and called out across the hall of the Emergency Department. I smiled and nodded in her direction, while beginning to contemplate the alternative. What was anything other than patience going to achieve? 

I’d been there for around 3 hours and knew there were more hours to come. I was in the ‘system’ and needed to wait my turn for things to unfold. Having been in this situation many times before I am accustomed to finding creative ways to kill time and stay ‘patient’. I’ve seen the alternative. It can be ugly. 

How my frustration in waiting can cause me to behave badly

It’s so easy to get caught up in the pressures of fulfilling our desires when we are caught waiting.  It can become all about ‘me’. 

Demanding to be seen, demanding to be first and making all sorts of judgments about the staff who are, more often than not, doing their best to help people. Yelling. Cursing. Getting violent. Storming out. It can be scary and make everyone feel uncomfortable. But what does it achieve? 

Conflict. Discord. Disharmony.   Sometimes even broken relationship.

We can spend a lot of time waiting. Waiting in line at the supermarket. Waiting at the airport. Waiting for the doctor. Waiting for results. Waiting for answers. Waiting for kids to come home. Waiting. 

Do we ever see waiting as opportunity?

I wonder how good we are at waiting?  

Do we use it as an opportunity to practise patience and self-control, or do we get agitated and frustrated. Does the fruit of the Spirit show or that of the flesh?  And then how do we treat those around us? 

I was at the doctor’s with my youngest son the other day and the doctor was running late. While it’s a scenario I’m completely familiar with, it was new to my boy. He huffed and moaned to me that we’d have to wait for ‘ages’.  

Understanding that this was a point of learning we talked about how we have choices to make all the time. We get to choose our attitudes in situations we’re not enjoying. 

I have learned that waiting is an opportunity to practice patience and practice being a peacemaker.

If we are patient, we are more likely to be kind to those around us and foster peace. If we sit in frustration, we are more likely to hurt others and bring discord. Our heart attitude will lead to conflict or peace. 

Proverbs 15:18 says: Hot tempers stir up arguments, but patience brings peace.

We can’t choose when the waiting ends.  We can choose how we respond to it.

How we respond to waiting is a choice. It’s an opportunity to see the fruit of the Spirit at work.  It’s an opportunity to breathe peace into the situation. What we choose will determine how we act.

Waiting can be hard, especially when we have things to do. Or when we fear what the answer or outcome will be at the end of the wait.   Waiting is never really at a convenient time. However, if we have an attitude of patience in our times of waiting, we are more likely to find our responses ones of peace-making rather than peace-breaking.

In other words, if we choose patience, we choose peace.  

Join us for Heart of PeaceMaking to learn more about how understanding the state of our heart is key to understanding our part in conflict. 

This article was written by Angela Niejalke.

Angela lives in Adelaide with her husband and two boys. She has had a heart for peacemaking for over 20 years. Having previously worked as a lawyer, mediator  (NMAS) and Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner (FDRP), Angela has seen first hand the consequences of poorly managed relational conflict, as well as the life-giving power of forgiveness. A long term supporter of PeaceWise, her heart is to see every believer equipped and encouraged to be a peacemaker, bringing the hope of the gospel to all relationships.

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