Three Strategies to Wait with Hope, Instead of Defeat

The saying goes, for those of us who live in snowy, winter climates, “There are only two seasons—winter and construction.” Funny and quite true I’m afraid. My youngest brother Donny joked about that recently. He, his wife and their four-year-old son were visiting from China, where they live full time near Shanghai. It doesn’t get very cold and rarely snows there, but during his visit we were stuck in traffic on the way to Morton Arboretum in Lisle, Illinois when he said it.

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Whether it’s being delayed on the roads, waiting to see a love one who lives far away or anticipating a fun vacation, being patient sure can be tough. Cooling our jets when it involves an illness, diagnosis or surgery for ourselves or a loved one can amp up the anxiety and feelings of defeat even more.

Recently, my friends Ed and Jan showed me through their example how to wait with hope. Ed was scheduled for heart surgery, but due to some complications, the date got rescheduled for a week or two later. When the next date arrived, Ed went to the hospital, was prepped and waiting for surgery to start, when they got word that the surgeon was in the ER with his own health emergency! So they were sent home. Finally, a few days later the triple bypass surgery happened and was a success—although recovery will take some time.

I’m not even sure Ed and Jan, their adult children and young grandchildren thought about the strategies they used while waiting, but I sure noticed!

The first thing they did was wait with family, friends, and their church community instead of isolating themselves during a stressful time which can be easy to do.

When I did a quick visit to their hospital room they were playing cards, talking and joking with their two grown children. They have good friends both here and overseas where they serve as missionaries, plus a wonderful local church home.

Second, they made the most of the time spent waiting. Their son lives out of state but stayed on when surgery got delayed. I saw pictures on social media of them enjoying nature, having meals together and playing games.

And finally, they read, quoted scripture together and prayed to remind themselves of the One who was waiting with them and knew all along how things were going to unfold.

Next time we’re stuck in traffic, anticipating seeing a loved one or forced to wait on something more serious, I pray we can do follow these tips and wait with hope.

 To read more from Deborah Abbs and her co-authors, visit Their book Life on the Spectrum can be purchased at