Few songs have been so much a part of my life than Tom Petty’s song “The Waiting”. As with most of Petty’s songs, this one is basically the sound track of my life. I have found that for me, the waiting is indeed the “hardest part”.
The Waiting is the Hardest Part
Everyday You Get One More Yard
You Take It On Faith, You Take to The Heart
The Waiting…is the Hardest Part. – Tom Petty
The song is clearly demonstrated by events that have happened in my life. It is one of those songs that was written just for me. The songs meaning actually became clearer when the movie “Titanic” came out. I know you’ve seen it, so you remember the plot. The part I want to focus on occurs on the exploration boat after Rose has shared her story of the final hours of Titanic. She provides a number of statistics, followed by an interesting commentary…
“Fifteen-hundred people went into the sea, when Titanic sank from under us. There were twenty boats floating nearby… and only one came back. One. Six were saved from the water, myself included. Six… out of fifteen-hundred. Afterward, the seven-hundred people in the boats had nothing to do but wait… wait to die… wait to live… wait for an absolution… that would never come.”
The statistics are factual, so there’s not much to discuss there. It’s the waiting that piques my interest. I can’t (and frankly don’t want to) imagine the thoughts that must’ve gone through the minds of the people sitting on the lifeboats. Hours earlier, they were in formal attire, dining on the greatest ship ever built. Now they were sitting in total darkness in a small open boat in the middle of the North Atlantic. They didn’t know the actual numbers, but they knew all too well the tragic loss of life that had just occurred. Many of them were in shock, or mourning the deaths of their husbands, fathers, sons, and dear friends. They also found themselves in uncertain circumstances. It was likely that rescue ships would come, but when? Would they freeze, starve, or capsize before help arrived? On one level, they had to be happy to be alive, but with all they had experienced there could be no manner to express it without guilt, shame, and remorse.
The “Waiting” had to be the hardest part for them. It is this act of “waiting” that has a way of giving the mind opportunities to fill itself with images. Images of the fear of the unknown, the images of the loss of hope. All of these, Satan uses to do all that he can to derail you from the things God has put in your life, whether they are designed to bless you or test you. Think about the moments you have where you are truly alone with your thoughts. For most people, one of two things will fill those times – fears or prayers.
The same is definitely true for me. The waiting is the hardest part, because it is in this idle time of “waiting” that my mind gets distracted from the very things I need to focus on. I usually let the fear of the unknown take over and I defeat myself before I ever truly get started.
I have written about it before, (Click Here) I feel as if I have been on the shelf…”waiting” to be used of God again. I have the desire to teach a Sunday School class again. As I wait for God to open doors and allow me to have another opportunity to teach again, I struggle with distractions and fear of the unknown or the fear of never getting another chance.
While I know that the enemy tries all he can to distract and destroy, God gives us a simple instruction to help us to better use these times to glorify Him and strengthen our faith. Paul speaks of these attacks and our best defense in 2 Corinthians 10:3-5…
“For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”
Our minds will work against us, if we allow them to do so. Over-thinking and analyzing situations create unnecessary tension, unrealistic expectations, and unfortunate outcomes. However, by taking “every thought captive” we regain a sense of control over our minds. We keep our perspective, we remain calm, and we allow the voice of the Lord to speak clearly into ears that can hear and to a mind ready to listen and comprehend the good and will of the Lord in our lives.
If you are like me, you have made this mistake – more than once. Thankfully God is patient and forgiving. I know that God wants to use me again one day. I want to prepare my head and my heart for the day when I am given another chance.
Until then…I’ll wait.
It’s the hardest part.