"I want the whole works
presents and prizes and sweets and surprises,
of all shapes and sizes,
and now don’t care how
I want it now,
don’t care how
I want it now!!!"
I liked the book better than the movie. (Maybe that is because the book was read to our class by Mrs. Sayers, my 2nd grade school teacher, on whom I had a mad crush.) Later, in 1971, “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” was adapted into the movie - “Willy Wonka.”
Perhaps it was 30 years after it was made that I watched it for the first time, catching it on TV. I’m pretty sure that I did not watch all of it. Several characters and behaviors seemed blatantly odious to me. “Varuca Salt” was notably repulsive.
Very often, however, story characters that we don’t like, can make us think. I hate to admit it, but the petulant little Veruca - is me (sometimes)! My prayer life, with its inability to wait and have patience, must seem just as patently abhorrent to God.
There could be little doubt that in my “I want it now” praying, I have missed some surprising spiritual benefits and blessings.
Isaiah 40:31 (ESV)
31 but they who wait (“qavah”) for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.
The Hebrew word “qavah” (in Isaiah 40:31) means much more than passively waiting, like I do as I stand in front of the microwave when I heat my coffee in the mornings. “Qavah” denotes waiting with activity, waiting with great hope to watch for God to act. (I wait for my coffee with great hope and anticipation – but it is a PASSIVE/IDLE/WATCH-THE-NUMBERS-COUNT-DOWN wait.) “Qavah” waiting is more active.
Here are the benefits of “qavah” waiting:
1. Qavah Waiting on the Lord fosters dependance rather than entitlement-
Psalm 123:2 (ESV)
2 Behold, as the eyes of servants look to the hand of their master, as the eyes of a maidservant to the hand of her mistress, so our eyes look to the LORD our God, till he has mercy upon us.
With qavah waiting, we are forced to lean on something (or rather Someone) else to attain satisfaction and hope. If the Lord “spoiled” us, and simply gave us whatever we desire, we would remain spiritually atrophied. Waiting on the Lord protects us from a sense of spiritual entitlement. (I truly don’t want to be like Veruca!) Loving the Lord and learning His character is better, and a significantly more joyful endeavor, than trying to live with the perception that God owes me.
2. Qavah Waiting on the Lord encourages the spiritual discipline of longing-
Isaiah 30:18 (ESV)
18 Therefore the LORD waits to be gracious to you, and therefore he exalts himself to show mercy to you. For the LORD is a God of justice; blessed are all those who wait for him.
Waiting produces a wonderful fruit of anticipation. We often associate waiting in a negative connotation, without remembering the excitement and joy that comes from waiting for something wonderful.
In September (for the last several years) our family has been renting a house on the Oregon Coast for a week. My daughters, their husbands, my granddaughters, and all our dogs get to go. Since April, my granddaughters have incessantly talked about it. “I can’t wait until Aunt Katie and Uncle Shawn come and we all go to the beach…” “Its going to be fun watching Drexler bark at the seagulls…” Waiting all these weeks has been a recognizable part of the experience that we love. Waiting for our trip only increases its delight when the day finally comes.
I need to be reminded of that as well! So too, as I wait on God, my desire and longing for Him and all His perfect gifts are enlarged. God grows us spiritually in desiring what is good and perfect, and such growth adjusts our attitudes and ability to be patient. Patience, after all, is a fruit of the spirit. Immediate accumulation is not.
3. Qavah Waiting on the Lord brings eternal blessings into greater focus-
God is shaping me right now for the responsibilities that He has for me in the next life. My possessions, status, and health in this life are only temporary. To wait on the Lord can show me what I really don’t need.
To wait on the Lord is a wonderful and helpful weapon in our arsenal to fight against sin. We are not yet what we will be, and waiting patiently for God to renew all things, especially ourselves, fuels our joy. The best is truly yet to come, and it is more than worth waiting for.
Mount-up on wings like eagles, my fellow Veruca!