Apparently, waiting and I do not agree. All week I have been waiting to find out if we would get clearance to travel in order to get Ethan our adopted son from the Philippines. Everything is put on hold. Everything is tentative. It’s been a long week.

Then again, this entire adoption process has been a manifesto in waiting. When we first started the process back in February of 2014 we were told that we could expect the adoption of Ethan to be “expedited.” Two years later, we are still waiting.

But even as I fret and ponder our waiting, I am aware that there is something appropriate and profound in it. Waiting highlights inability and our dependence upon other powers and forces to act; we wait for someone or something to do that which we cannot do for ourselves. We are dependent on others, so we wait. It’s humbling. It can be maddening and infuriating.

It can also be painful. Consider Ethan. Ethan has been waiting. He’s eight years old now; he has been waiting his entire life for someone to bring him into their heart and into their home, someone he can legitimately call “mommy” and “daddy.” It puts the discomfort of our waiting in perspective.

And then there’s God. From the first sin till the coming of Christ, God took his sweet time. From the time Jesus walked this earth till the fulfillment of his promised return has been a long wait. We are still waiting. The bible calls this “the patience of God” and exhorts us to consider it as part of his plan for the saving of many (2Pet 3:15).

I have to confess, at times (OK, most of the time), I do not like “the patience of God.” I’d like to get things done according to my impatient plans and in my time frame. It works much better with my self-sufficient desire to be in control, and to feel like I am master of my destiny. This adoption process has been a great lesson in patience, trust and dependence on God. I hope I am learning more of God’s ways and his heart.

I have come to see that the biblical doctrine of adoption is a picture of patient waiting. The bible presents many terms for God’s work of saving grace: redemption, justification, atonement, etc. Adoption is the most tender, loving and long-suffering. Justification is instantaneous, but adoption is a lifetime. Not only does it typically take years for a child to be placed and the adoption finalized, but when a child is adopted, that is just the beginning of the story! A child can wait for years to find her forever family, and then it takes a lifetime to work out the issues of orphanhood and grow into the secure knowledge of being a legitimate, beloved daughter.

All of this speaks loudly in regards to our relationship with God. In Christ, we are securely loved as His precious, adopted children. But you may have had to wait a long time to come to a saving knowledge of this love, to grasp it for yourself. And even now you continue to struggle to believe and accept the benefits of your adoption. Thankfully, our Father is patient. And we can consider his patience as salvation for us and many others.

I am writing this while seated at Dulles Airport gate A32 – waiting. Nothing I can do about it. Korean Airlines is in control. But this wait is expected. It’s the unexpected delays and long waits that are particularly hard. But waiting to adopt Ethan is helping me to put proper perspective on it. God is not in a rush; he is not impatient. He is our Heavenly Father who saves through adoption.

With all that said, I can’t wait to meet Ethan! (yes, God needs to do some more work on this former orphan!).