Remember the anticipation of opening presents on Christmas morning? In childhood, that was a painful, yet delicious sort of waiting. We knew the time was short and the payoff would be great. We could sit near the tree and wonder, imagining what might be in the brightly papered boxes. Never did we worry that the presents might still be unopened on December 26th, December 30th, or March 1st. It never crossed our minds that the gifts might actually be for next Christmas. Our waiting had some boundaries and some predictability, and always a payoff that was worthwhile.

Waiting in adulthood is a whole different thing. There are moments of that delicious anticipation, but generally speaking, the wait is surrounded by blurred lines and a cloud of uncertainty.

Stacey has been doing so much waiting. While my cancer diagnosis has been pretty clear cut, hers has not. From the start, I have had a pretty clear treatment plan, and it has followed expectation thus far. Stacey, on the other hand, had a lymph node dissection followed by waiting for test results and diagnosis. While waiting for surgery, she got the news that they were uncertain about the initial diagnosis and needed to do further scans to rule out wider spread cancer.

Wait for scans. Wait for results. Thankfully, the scans were clear, and she had her double mastectomy yesterday. Now, she waits for pathology to determine whether or not she will need chemo and radiation.

I have done my share of waiting, especially the last year or so and most of it before I even knew I had cancer. To be completely honest, the last year and a half has been pretty excruciating. There has been so much frustration and loss. So much waiting to see what God would do. . . how He would lead. . . which path was next. To say that cancer added confusion and difficulty to an already rough road is an understatement.

I understand and appreciate that so many of our trials and waiting in life are to grow and stretch us–a refining process. That doesn’t make it easy. Totally frustrated one day, I asked my pastor when God would think I’ve learned enough to take a break for awhile from the waiting. His reply? “Our waiting doesn’t end til we reach Heaven.” Thanks, Jeff.

He’s right. I know this life on earth is not all there is. I know that there will be struggle and pain and waiting as long as I live. But you know what else I know? Life here is short. Heaven is eternal. Think about that. Eternal. Forever. Never ending. No pain, no trials, no tears. THAT is worth the wait.

And while life here is often difficult, it’s also wonderful. There is so much to be grateful for–so much that is worthy of praise. I find joy in little, mundane things as well as the huge blessings that come my way. I can see God’s hand all around me. And so, I am content–even as I wait.