We’re all waiting for something.
I saw a STAT that Americans spend an estimated 37 billion hours waiting in line each year. Few things lead to more frustration as lengthy wait times — many of us even struggle to wait for a sluggish web browser to load. C’mon already!
37 billion hours represents a lot of sitting around, killing time. Or are we multi-tasking? If you’re on the phone while you’re in line to get your drivers license renewed, or at the grocery store, or at a red light, you may be even more likely to be losing your cool.
According to computer scientist Ramesh Sitaraman, web users are a particularly impatient bunch. His research has found that we’re willing to be patient, on average, for two seconds while waiting for an online video to load.
Not two minutes. Not a minute. Not 30 seconds. TWO seconds.
Sitaraman’s research was almost three years ago, so I suspect that we can’t even wait two seconds anymore.
Whats that mean?
According to M.I.T. operations researcher Richard Larson, waiting can provoke impatience, stress and anxiety, and in turn, anxiety also makes waits seem longer.
It’s a cycle of insanity!
We all think technology saves us time.
In reality, we think all these computerized gadgets GIVE us time. But I think tech actually drains time. It certainly tests our patience.
We stress out as we wait. Then it seems like whatever it is taking waaaay too long anyway. We look at the clock and we get even more anxious. Hurry! I’ve got things to do. Places to see. People to ignore as I stare at my screen.
It is hard to be patient – for two seconds or whatever it the limit is for your video or page to load. While it is easy to think of waiting as a curse, what if we thought about it this way: maybe God has designed life to include waiting. Perhaps things take time because God wants us to look to Him while we are getting impatient?
I think about Noah and his ark. He had to wait for the weather to turn bad before he was vindicated about the reason for building that big old boat. He had to wait for the water to stop coming down. Noah had to wait for the water to recede. Wait for the mud to dry. Wait for the animals to leave the ark. Wait for the vegetation to come back. Wait for the earth to repopulate. It was a long, long time for all this to transpire.
All Noah could do in the quiet moments was sit around, do some chores, and wait. I’m sure that he and his family played Uno or something similar to pass the time. Still, there was no shortage of time to just hang out and…wait.
In those excessive moments, Noah could also watch and listen. Watch to see what God would do next. Listen for God’s voice, as there might be a heavenly message he needed to hear. I’m guessing Noah dialed into God in a whole new way aboard that ark as he waited without distraction.
Whatever your hold time is on the phone or the page load time is on the web, it probably won’t be as long as Noah’s. Maybe when you’re staring at the laptop or phone screen, or the taillights of the SUV in front of you, or the line of overflowing carts in front of you at the store, you can look at it as a sign, not an inconvenience. A sign that time is managed by the Creator who wants you to know and understand Him. And that he designed long, pregnant pauses to get your attention and remind you of HIs hand at work in your life.
Take a cue from Noah and when time runs slowly, take advantage of the situation to watch and listen for God.
What are YOU waiting for?