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I hate waiting in here is what I did!

Updated: Jun 22, 2023

I hate lines! I hate waiting. And the place I hate to wait in line most is at the airport. Fortunately, I fly so much and mostly on Delta, that my platinum status allows me to skip the lines—Thank you, Lord! This means I travel a lot, which means rain delays, getting stuck on runways, and waiting while the maintenance crew comes to replace the mufflerator or carnonpufinizer.

And then Steve Jobs, of blessed memory, created the iPhone. And now we all have something to do in lines. And not just in lines; at any moment of boredom, we can reach for our smartphone. On the bus, walking down the road, while eating a quick lunch—these devices, not used properly, are sucking the life right out of us.

John Mark Comer writes about those days before the iPhone:

If you were born after, say, 1995, then you can’t really remember a time when infinity wasn’t in your front right pocket. But I can. There was a time when you’d be flying across the country, somewhere over, say, Minnesota, and you’d finish your book earlier than expected and just … stare out the window. With nothing to do. Or you’d be waiting in line at your coffee shop of choice, five people ahead of you, and you’d have to just stand there. The extroverts in line would all strike up a conversation. We introverts would smile and nod, secretly thinking, Why, dear God, is this total stranger talking to me? Anybody remember this? Waiting at the bus stop, stuck in traffic, sitting in the theater before a movie, in the back of a less-than-enthralling poli-sci class with nothing for your mind to do but wander through the infinite realm of possibility?[1]

We are so happy to be freed of this boredom, but at what cost? Comer adds, “All those little moments of boredom were potential portals to prayer.”[2] We are so entertained that we don’t have time for God.

Easy Yoke

Remember that Yeshua did not say that living for him, in him, would be full of stress and anxiety. He called it the “abundant life.” He is the one who said,

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matt. 11:28-30)

But don’t mistake easy yoke with not being challenged or tempted. Stephen definitely found himself in a challenge. They were going to kill him! But he had clearly built a life of intimacy with Yeshua. I don’t think that he just happened to have access to a heavenly vision while being stoned. Of course, all spiritual experience is initiated by God, but we must position ourselves. All the apostles died as martyrs (except John, who was boiled in oil yet survived!).

How does one maintain spiritual peace in the midst of stressful situations? The answer is practice. You don’t start school in Stephen-type peace—that is graduate-level. You start by not losing your cool in traffic, not losing your temper with your children, or not losing your peace when you get an unexpected bill. Usain Bolt didn’t break the 10-second record the first time he ran the 100 meters, and Michael Jordan was placed on junior varsity as a sophomore because “his shooting was merely good and his defense mediocre” (ask his coach). He had to practice in order to go from Mike Jordan to Michael “Air” Jordan. It is no different with spiritual disciplines.

So…I tried something.

The other day Elana and I were flying to Turkey for a study tour. Since we were not on Delta (which has me very spoiled), we had to wait in line with everyone else. And waiting in line with Israelis is far worse because you not only have to wait but make sure no one buts in line. Because they will. And they did.

I could see that this ordeal was going to be about an hour. An hour of boredom and stress. I could feel the adrenaline revving up. I hate having to guard my place in line…but I am willing to do it. “Hey pal, there is a line…go to the back like we did!” But I hate the stress of it all. Then I remembered that line from Comer: “All those little moments of boredom were potential portals to prayer.”

I had not had time with the Lord that day. We had to go straight to the airport. But I had an hour to kill, so I began to pray. I decided I was not going to be a policeman (there were plenty of other willing Israelis) but instead focus on God. Neither would I use the time to send emails, WhatsApp messages, or read the news. I put my phone away and spent the next hour in prayer.

At first, it was hard. I was distracted. I use the Lord’s Prayer as an outline. I could still feel the stress…and worried that people might report the guy talking to himself, thinking I might be a terrorist. I was also concerned about line cutters…I couldn’t not be concerned! But after about 20 minutes, I was able to experience the peace of God. I started to pray for a group of Israeli Arab men in front of me—about eight—going on a trip together. As I prayed for them, suddenly, the business class line cleared, and she took all eight! We moved up quite a bit. By the time we made it to the front, after about an hour, I was walking in the fruit of the Spirit and feeling the joy of the Lord.

How many of these “Little moments throughout our days to wake up to the reality of God all around us” do we miss?[3] These are opportunities “To wake up to our own souls. To draw our minds’ attention (and, with it, devotion) back to God; to come off the hurry drug and come home to awareness.”[4]

Just look around you the next time you are waiting in a line or when a plane is landing. What percentage of people are on their phones? Close to 100% is my guess. Those Instagram reels aren’t going to watch themselves! Did you see the one with the dachshund?

What if “the second we feel even a hint of boredom coming on, we” didn’t “reach for the appendages that are our smartphones.”[5] What if we used that movement to check in with heaven? That is how you begin to practice spiritual disciplines, and that is how you prepare yourself for battle. Then, you will be able to enter into the presence of God like Stephen, should you find yourself in a similar circumstance!

[1] John Mark Comer, The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry (Colorado Springs: Waterbrook, 2019), 106. [2] Comer, 106. [3] Comer, 106. [4] Comer, 106. [5] Comer, 107.

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Shalom from Israel! I am Ron Cantor and this is my blog. I serve as the President of Shelanu TV.

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