In The Waiting

"Stay the course and 'inhale' wafts of the best yet to come."

Wilona Karimabadi

Patience is hard, especially when you’re waiting for something good to happen, something better to come, or something worth the wait.

If you’ve passed quarantine time (at the time of this writing we are still in it) scrolling through any number of social media platforms, you might have noticed a “toddler patience challenge.” Any kind of social media post showing small children being, well, small children can be quite entertaining. So it was in the quest for amusement that I clicked on the first (of many) videos of a toddler’s patience being tested.

On this particular day, a curly-headed bundle of love and giggles was presented with half a doughnut. Her eyes lit up like fireworks streaking a Fourth of July skyline. Before she lunged at the tasty treat, her dad, having strategically set up his phone camera, gave her instructions. “Daddy has to go do something really quick,” he said. “If you can wait and not touch this half doughnut until I get back, you can have a whole one.” She looked at him, looked at the doughnut, looked at him, at the doughnut again, and nodded her agreement.

“Stay the course and ‘“inhale”’ wafts of the best yet to come.”

Daddy safely offscreen, the little doughnut lover looked around and around. She picked up the plate and sniffed the doughnut. Then she put it down and brought her head closer and took in a lengthy inhalation of its sweet scent, repeatedly. Smart girl—using her olfactory senses to try to cheat the system! She touched the plate, got a tiny crumb on her finger—which she promptly licked—and stared longingly at the prize within her reach.

Luckily, the challenge lasted less than a minute—some hungry adults wouldn’t have been able to last even that long. When her father returned and asked if she had eaten any, she shook her head no. (Does a crumb really count? I don’t think so.) The doughnut half was indeed intact, and she was rewarded with not only the rest of the doughnut, but the accolades of the Facebook community for being such a patient little wonder.

This 3-year-old’s wait may not have been long, but it also wasn’t easy. Isn’t that the very crux of waiting on something good to come? We wait for the births of longed-for babies and for children to return from a week at summer camp. When a college kid is coming home for Christmas, those first few weeks in December drive a parent bonkers with anticipation. Waiting on a bride to make her appearance sends many a groom into tears when at last she appears.

We also wait for things that demand much more from us. Exam scores that determine destinies, medical test results that shape futures. And our greatest waiting period—for Christ’s return. That waiting has been long, and it may be longer still. But the prize in sight is worth it.

Stay the course and “inhale” wafts of the best yet to come, for our patience will be rewarded beyond anything we can imagine. For what we will receive then will clearly be so much better than the best doughnut that ever was.

Wilona Karimabadi is an assistant editor of Adventist Review.

Wilona Karimabadi