Ten o’clock sharp. Every weekday morning. The door is unlocked and the music store is open for business.
It says so on the door in black and white: Business hours: 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM
Right on the door. In black and white.
I actually arrive most mornings an hour early. Preparations need to be made. Loose ends are tied up from the previous day’s business. Orders have to be assembled. Repairs sometimes need to be completed. I want to be ready for the customers who will walk through the door each day.
I see them in the parking lot. Nearly every morning, vehicles pull off the street and pause before the front door. They’re reading that business hours sign. They always leave—well, nearly always.
Earlier this week, as I readied the cash register at about a quarter to ten, I noticed a nondescript economy car pulling up to the store. I ignored it, certain they would back out and leave, to return after I opened up. I was wrong.
Wham! Wham! Wham!
The door rattled with the force of the blows. I wasn’t ready to open up yet, besides which, I tend to be a little obstinate when rushed before hours. I didn’t open the door. A car door slammed outside and I heard a tiny bit of tire-rubber being deposited on the asphalt as the driver left.
I think he was unhappy.
And yet, at 10:05 when he returned (the door then being unlocked), there was no indication of any residual discontent. Our conversation was cordial—friendly, even. It was interesting to hear him talk about his day. He said it more than once, so I’m fairly certain it was so:
“I’ve got the whole day off. I’m just going to take my time and do whatever I want.”
The door pounding? The tire squealing? Something’s not right here. The sign clearly gives perspective on what one would expect. Experience with other retail establishments would discourage such actions.
Why is virtue so hard? You know—patience is a virtue, good things come to those who wait—things like that.
Why is it so difficult, then?
I don’t have the answer to that. But, I do find myself thinking about the impetuous man. In quiet hours, I wonder.
I’ve got a whole lifetime. He had only one day. A whole lifetime, to live my life. Yet constantly, I am impatient—antsy to get on with things.
It’s funny. We have the signs that tell us what to expect. Springtime and harvest. Day follows night. One man plants, another harvests. To everything there is a season. All written in black and white for us to read.
But, we stand at the door, not being able to see what’s happening behind it, and we pound with our fists, perhaps even kicking it with our feet.
We know the truth. Our times are in His hands. For all our uncertainty and stumbling in the darkness, we believe He controls all that happens to us. (Psalm 31:15)
Or, do we?
He says wait, and we fidget—be patient, and we worry.
We’ve got all our lives. And, we can’t add one millisecond to those lives by worrying. He says that, too.
His plan is being worked out in us. He began the work; He’ll complete it. (Philippians 1:6)
He knows how much time we’ve got. Pounding on the door won’t change His plan. Laying rubber in the parking lot will have no effect whatsoever.
Do you know that waiting builds us into the people we were intended to be? I hope I’m not stretching here.
They that wait upon the Lord will renew their strength. They shall mount up on wings as the eagles do. They’ll run and not grow tired. They’ll walk and not become faint. (Isaiah 40:31)
Patience, my friends.
It says so right there in black and white.
Have patience. Have patience.
Don’t be in such a hurry.
When you get impatient,
You only start to worry.
That God is patient, too.
And think of all the times
When others have to wait for you.
(from Music Machine ~ Hernandez/Powell ~ Singer/Songwriters)
For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all.Who hopes for what they already have? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.
(Romans 8:24-25 ~ NIV)
© Paul Phillips. He’s Taken Leave. 2016. All Rights Reserved.