It never fails. I always pick the wrong line. I get behind the person whose item is missing a price sticker, or their debit card is declined, or the cashier needs a manager to ring in a coupon, or one of the eggs is broken and we have to wait for a stock boy to answer the page and get another carton. Or maybe it’s lunchtime and my cashier needs to count the drawer and cash out. The reasons are different every time, but the end result is the same: I wait there, fuming, as long as I can stand it, watching others fly by me out of the store, and finally I hop over to the other lane. Without fail, the moment after I do so, the problems are resolved. From that point on, the first line moves quickly and everyone sails smoothly through, while I stand at the back of the other line, which now has problems of its own. Then I kick myself for my lack of patience.
Sometimes I find myself giving up to soon in my spiritual life, too. A few months ago, we thought our house was going to sell. It had been on the market for almost two years, and we had an offer. I was sure God had answered my prayers. But then we went to our lowest number, and the buyer was at her highest number, and there was still a big gap in the middle. I was crushed. I couldn’t believe God hadn’t come through for me. I’d been faithful and patient. I’d trusted Him, and believed in His timing. I was devastated when I found out it wasn’t going to happen. I had believed so strongly that He had answered, that there was an end in sight, and then — nada. I was crushed, angry, and depressed.
Turns out, several days later, through a bunch of crazy circumstances, the house deal went through after all. I looked at circumstances and thought God had said no. He didn’t. It just didn’t happen the way I pictured it—in effect, I switched lines too soon. My impatience caused me to lose faith. I failed to remember that God’s ways are above our ways. He sees things we can’t even begin to imagine and achieves results we can’t fathom. So next time I’m about to cut my losses and jump on over to the next thing, I need to remember. No matter how impossible a situation seems, until God clearly tells us no, we need to keep the faith. We need to wait with expectation for the craziest, most innovative, unusual answers. Because if we can stay in the right place, the most amazing things will be waiting when we get to the front of the line.