An old ketchup commercial used to depict people happily holding their ketchup bottle aloft as they watched it slowly (ever so slowly) make its way down the neck of the bottle. Eventually it would smoothe its way out the end to dollop onto their food with sweet tomatoey goodness. As we watched the ketchup’s slow progress a singer in the background crooned: “Anticipation, anticipation is making me wait. It’s keepin me way, ay, ay, ay, ay-atin.”

No one in these commercials was digging the ketchup out with their knife or holding the bottle at various angles to start the flow. They just waited. Have you noticed they don’t show that commercial anymore? Instead, they’ve changed to plastic squeeze bottles so we don’t have to wait for the ketchup to come out in its own time. Now we can make it come out when we want it.
Waiting for baby brother
I’ve been waiting this week for the birth of our fourth grandchild.  One week ago my daughter went into labor and I drove from Tillamook in a flurry of excitement. I wanted to get to Salem in time to greet baby Brooks and take care of 18 month old Kai while mom and dad stayed in the hospital. But after hours of labor, everything stopped. Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday passed without incident. His due date Saturday came and went. It’s Tuesday night and still no baby.
My daughter is not blissfully singing the “anticipation” song; she wants her slender body back and a baby in her arms instead of the shadowboxing and yoga moves he’s performing in the confines of her womb. But he refuses to be rushed.
How many other waiting times have you experienced in life: waiting to get your braces off, to graduate, for that special person to call, to hear back after a job interview. We wait for test results, planes to land, letters in the mail, for someone to notice us. It’s a part of life we all struggle with and God understands this. Yet, instead of performing a cosmic squeeze to speed things up, the Spirit of God helps us learn to wait – to build character, increase our trust in Him, and better appreciate the arrival of our desire.
Night watchmen have to stay up all night, ready to protect those under their care. Even when they’re tired and can barely keep their eyes open, they stay at their post until morning. This is the anticipation of waiting:
“I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits, and in his word I put my hope.
I wait for the Lord more than watchmen wait for the morning,
more than watchmen wait for the morning.
Psalm 130:5-6
God’s timing is worth the wait; He is never late. Only God knows when all the players are ready to participate, when circumstances are perfect, when the weather or the season or the day is ready to give birth to whoever or whatever we so eagerly anticipate. I don’t understand all this, but I trust the Lord to get it right. So I ask again for patience to resist trying to squeeze things out before it’s time. And to appreciate the waiting.
For all of you who are waiting, here are a few verses that have helped me as I wait for:
Better days: “I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.” Psa. 27:13-14
Rescue:I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear the Lord and put their trust in him.” Psa. 40:1-3
Compassion, Justice: “Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you;therefore he will rise up to show you compassion. For the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him!” Isa. 30:18
Heaven: I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed.For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God. We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies. 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.Rom. 8:18-25
Jesus’ Return: “Just as people are destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.” Heb. 9:27-28
We hope in God alone and wait for dawn, like watchmen wait for morning.