Waiting Lady of Bolton Church, Cumbria

At old Bolton Church, Cumbria, a second strange feature begs the visitor’s attention. By the main entrance stands a carved woman, almost life size. Who is she, and what is she doing? To the first question, no answer is offered, but her clothing style, which is fourteenth-century, suggests her great age. Regarding the second, she looks as though she is waiting. Or, with her hands clasped, is she praying?

We Christians know too well that the two verbs, pray and wait, usually accompany the other. The Hebrew psalms, which often describe the psalmists’ desperate circumstances, contain many prayers for help, but also many pleas for patience:

Wait on the Lord; be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart; wait, I say, on the Lord! Psalm 27:14

Our soul waits for the Lord; He is our help and our shield. Psalm 33:20

Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him; do not fret because of him who prospers in his way, because of the man who brings wicked schemes to pass. Psalm 37:7

For evildoers shall be cut off; but those who wait on the Lord, they shall inherit the earth. Psalm 37:9

Wait on the Lord, and keep His way, and He shall exalt you to inherit the land; when the wicked are cut off, you shall see it Psalm 37:34 (all New King James Version)

I cannot be certain how many centuries our female friend has waited outside Bolton Church, nor for what, nor whom. Do not think that the absence of an answer or resolution is the Lord’s failure to hear or have sufficient understanding of your plight. Once you have sought the Lord’s help, trust Him to do the right thing, but remember that He never agreed to send you daily progress reports.