And the Wait Goes On

I live about half a mile off Ritchie Highway, one of the busiest thoroughfares in Anne Arundel County. Anytime I run errands, I inevitably find myself stopped at the intersection of Jumpers Hole Road and Ritchie Highway. That light, no matter which direction I'm going, is a long one. To sit there waiting for all the east-west traffic, all the left turns, and all the north-south traffic takes forever.

Since I'm not known for my patience, I've killed a lot of time at that light. I've changed CDs in the player, opened and sorted mail, flipped through magazines. I've watched other drivers, laughed at their nose-picking, sang loudly to 80's love songs on the radio. I've fought with my sister, talked on the phone, reached for things that fell in the backseat just out of my grasp. I've put on makeup, opened the sunroof, searched my purse for my bank card or receipts for stuff I'm returning to the store. I've danced to catchy pop tunes, given money to homeless people of questionable sanity, yelled at drivers making illegal turns, and honked at friends passing by. I've opened breakfast sandwiches from Dunkin' Donuts right there, opened packages I just bought, and opened my car door to pull my trailing skirt back in. If you totaled it up, I've spent untold hours of my life at that intersection waiting--just waiting for the light to turn green, allowing me to continue on my way.

In I Samuel 13, King Saul faced a long wait. At war with the Phillistines and hopelessly outmatched, he was told to wait seven days before Samuel would come to offer sacrifices and give counsel from the Lord on the impending battle. He waited seven days; in seven days, he watched the opposing army settle into battle formation and his own men scatter to hide in caves and thickets. He undoubtedly faced the fear of their opinions. What kind of leader waits seven days, while supplies and morale run low, for the man of God to come and give them the go-ahead? He grew angry at Samuel. I've already waited seven days and this guy still isn't here. Who needs him? What he does isn't that special; in fact, I bet I could do it myself. He didn't have confidence in God's faithfulness. It's obvious we're going to lose this fight. At least the rituals we do will ensure that we don't get totally slaughtered. Even after performing the offerings that were only for a prophet or priest to perform, Saul was totally unrepentant. It's their fault! The men are running away, Samuel waits til the last second to show up, and the Phillistines are preparing to attack! What differences does it make who does the offering? He couldn't wait a few more hours to obey the command of Samuel the prophet, and that cost him a kingdom.

Think about that the next time you're stuck at a long red light.
Ariel Rainey