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  • Katie Smith

wading or waiting




There's a very powerful scene in the movie Harriet where the actress playing Tubman sings the spiritual, sorrow song, "Wade in the Water," as she and her comrades quietly wait for their brothers and sisters running from slavery. The moments of "wading" may have been just that: moments. But the silence feels painstakingly drawn out, like an enormous tub filling up with just drops of water. The audience holds their breath in the balance of perilous wading.


Once the beloved despondents plunge into the water, hope is no longer deferred, but fulfilled. The audience lets out the air from their lungs, and gasps with the runaway slaves trudging through the muddy swamp. Harriet's floating redeemers, rise to their call, and their action disperses any prior remembrance of wading.


To "wade" means more than just to stand or play in water. Rather, it's a vivid picture of that horrid hardship. To "wade" is to make one's way laboriously through anything that impedes movement or free motion (dictionary.com). I imagine walking through ten inches of soft snow with flip flops on my feet.


We all know the difficult patience required during long stretches of waiting, but few people recognize the advantageous yet arduous patience required of wading.


When we live freely, and we wait for our next vacation, we wait with joyful expectation. As is the case when we wait for nine months to meet our children, or wait patiently to find the right house or the right spouse.


However, wading through intense chemotherapy, tiresome adoption paperwork, or the legalities connected with bereavement, requires specific burdensome steps that take away from normal living. If you've ever waded through anything, you understand the difference between patiently waiting and purposefully wading.


Still, waiting can feel equally as difficult as wading because there are no intentional steps required during the unknown. While you wait, you simply live life as you always have, but for this reason, it's easy to fall off course and find an easier route to your desired destination--Grab any ole' house you can (maybe) afford. Marry whomever first meets your fancy. Become a parent without thinking of any long-term responsibilities.


Wading on the other hand forces you to come face to face with a major fork in the road--walk through the water on the wider side, and bitter angst will grow inside your soul. But tarry through the narrow creek on the other side, and fearless faith will take root instead. The choice is yours, but the process is achieved by someone greater.


Thus, whether you are waiting or wading right now, your daily decisions make a difference. You can bear fruit that will last through the next long winter season, or you can plant too soon and kill all your crops from an unexpected frost.


Waiting and wading both weary the soul, but both can create fearless faith, which is worth the wait (or wade).



25 The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him; 26 it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord. 27 It is good for a man to bear the yoke while he is young.

28 Let him sit alone in silence, for the Lord has laid it on him. 29 Let him bury his face in the dust— there may yet be hope. 30 Let him offer his cheek to one who would strike him, and let him be filled with disgrace.

31 For no one is cast off by the Lord forever. 32 Though he brings grief, he will show compassion, so great is his unfailing love. 33 For he does not willingly bring affliction or grief to anyone.



13 I remain confident of this:

I will see the goodness of the Lord

in the land of the living.

14 Wait for the Lord;

be strong and take heart

and wait for the Lord



While we wait on some of our own "unknowns" in our family, I recall all my prior wading, and I wait hopeful, trusting in a faithful God. May I prove just as faithful during my wait or wade...



~Carefully yet Carelessly waiting

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