Tom Elliff
Oklahoma City, OK

After pastoring for forty-two years, Tom Elliff served the International Mission Board, first as Senior Vice President for Spiritual Nurture and Church Relations from 2005-2009, then as President from 2011-2014. Tom served pastorates in Arkansas, Texas, Colorado and Oklahoma and as an IMB missionary in Zimbabwe. Tom also served as president of the SBC Pastor's Conference and two terms as president of the Southern Baptist Convention.

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A Tribute to Waiting

By on November 20, 2014

Raise your hand if you just love spending time in a waiting room! Waiting rooms share something in common with church-league ball. The jury is out on whether they actually build character, or just expose it. For starters there’s the magazines. Did you know a guy named Bell has invented a device that will allow people to actually converse over long distances? Amazing!

“Yet those who wait for the Lord will gain new strength; they will mount up with wings like eagles, they will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary” (Is 40:31). Of course, the concept of “waiting” here is not simply biding your time, twiddling your thumbs and shuffling from one foot to the other while God makes up His mind. The word is actually a picture of a vine wrapped around, or “always facing” a branch. We know that the attention of a good waiter in a restaurant is constantly riveted on the diner. His behavior is controlled by the one upon whom he is waiting. That’s the picture…so here’s a tribute I penned back in 1987!

Waiting’s not the life that I would choose. For if I choose to stop and wait, I’m confident I”d lose the things I’ve dreamed about and hoped for and desired; the thrill of saying “These are the things I have acquired.”

No, waiting seems to be a waste of time. How can the man who stops and waits achieve those heights sublime from which to view the lives of those who slowly plod, who’ll only dream to see the places I’ll have trod.

Ah! Waiting is a sickness don’t you see, afflicting young and old alike, but not the likes of me…except that lately every way I’ve turned is closed. Perhaps the secrete’s not in pushing on as I’ve supposed.

So…what’s the answer for my troubled soul? I must confess, I’ve just now seen it in the Book of old which says that a all the gains and victories I’ve scored are empty unless first I’ve waited on the Lord.

For those who wait on Him will find, at length, an even deeper life and a sure supply of strength; a mounting up to heights where only eagles soared is promised to us, if first we’ve waited on the Lord. (TE 1987) 

Rejoice evermore!

Tom Elliff

2 Tim 1:12