The line has become a set up phrase for some great punch lines. It is familiar to viewers of sitcoms such as “Arrested Development” and “How I Met Your Mother.”
GEORGE: I saw a very strange thing the other day.
LILY: What was it?
GEORGE: Twelve men standing under one umbrella and they didn’t get wet.
LILY: How’s that?
GEORGE: It wasn’t raining. (Wait for it — wait for it.)
That is, wait for the laughter to end before you resume the dialog.
I think the phrase actually started in the Bible.
“Write down the revelation
and make it plain on tablets
so that a herald may run with it.
For the revelation awaits an appointed time;
it speaks of the end
and will not prove false.
Though it linger, wait for it;
it will certainly come
and will not delay.”
– Habakkuk 2:2-3
That passage has been a theme for my ministry since 1980, when I first heard it cited as a guiding principle for media ministry in a local church. I heard it from Ron Harris, who was Media Minister at First Baptist Church in Wichita Falls, Texas at the time.
Until recently, I had always focused on the first three lines.
The primary communication medium of the prophet Habakkuk’s era was the fleet-footed messenger, who would take the words of a king or other important person to the intended “target audience” and deliver the message personally.
The communication media of our era are vastly different. But the exhortation to faithfully report, to “make it plain,” is applicable for us modern messengers, too. Whether we write it, speak it, broadcast it, or post it on Facebook, we strive to be faithful and true to the King.
In recent months and years, I’ve expanded my focus to the last three lines of the passage.
Waiting has never been my strong suit. When I get an idea, I’m apt to run with it and ask for God’s blessing later.
What I’m learning (and I don’t pretend to be there yet) is to “wait for it.” God is teaching me patience… and He’s taking His sweet time about it!
The Prodigal Project is my current schoolroom for the patience lessons. After praying and thinking about this project for two and a half years, I’m beginning to see where God is leading. And it is truly exciting to see Him put the pieces together.
People who want to participate and contribute are showing up regularly these days. And many of those folks weren’t around two years ago. If I’d pushed ahead on my schedule, the project would have been robbed of these creative sparks.
I don’t know how it will all turn out, but I’m learning to enjoy the journey and to anticipate the surprises that await the appointed time.