Waiting seems discouraging, depressing, and detrimental. I want an answer now, yesterday, and three minutes ago. I want the shortest line at the grocery store, the shortest drive from Point A to Point B, and the shortest wait time for an answer to my prayers.
But, when I rush through life, I miss the beauty of it.
I miss the opportunity that waiting in line affords to connect with another person over the price of hamburger. Or the opportunity to share a knowing smile with a mom of young children because I remember what it was like to have four kids eight years old and under.
Waiting affords us the opportunity to remember. And remembering is one thing that God wants us to do. He wants us to remember His goodness to us, His faithfulness to us, and the way He gently leads us to the next step.
It’s in the waiting that we ponder the goodness of God and how He comes through for us time and time again.
David of the Psalms knew waiting. While he waited and watched his sheep, he penned songs of adoration to God. The waiting gave Him an opportunity to study the natural world around him in order to understand the intricate faithfulness of God.
Do you look on waiting as punishment or possibility? When you’re waiting on God for something do you frantically examine yourself for remnants of sin that could possibly be blocking God’s blessing? And then take every condemning thought that comes your way and receive it as truth? Do you throw up your hands in defeat and decide to fix the situation yourself? And, in the doing, declare that God is unreliable and undependable?
Waiting on God is an opportunity for possibility. Possibility is that wonderful place of hope and wonder where dreams just might come true. Delight fills us when we place our hope in God. We get to do as the Psalmist says and taste and see that the Lord is good. But before we get to this kind of waiting, we must wrestle.
We must wrestle with our own ideas of how things should work out and then let it go. God knows best and He loves you best so we must trust His heart for us.
After we wrestle, we accept. We accept that God’s ways are not our ways and his thoughts are not our thoughts. His ways are higher than ours, and His vision is clearer than ours.
We risk peace when we insist on our ways as the best ways. And that, my friends, is precarious.
“Those who trust in the Lord are like Mount Zion, which cannot be shaken, but endures forever.” Psalm 125:1
Wouldn’t you love to stand stalwart like a mountain the next time one of life’s waves broadsides you?
I won’t deny that I’ve been swept off my feet when unsettling news hits me or un-dealt with issues of forgiveness knock me over. But one day, I just got tired of being shaken. I decided that I was either going to stand firm in the fullness of Christ or continue to let my circumstances dictate my belief in God’s faithfulness.
Waiting as a Gift
This is where waiting became the gift that it is.
Waiting protects my heart from panicking.
Waiting allows my heart to catch up to what my head knows to be true about God. My mind is in a constant state of renewal, and it’s my mind that reminds my heart of what it already knows to be true.
God is true, faithful, good, kind, merciful, gracious, and loving. He will not let your foot slip; He is your refuge, your rock, and your redeemer.
Somedays it might seem as though the answers to your prayers are elusive and far off. But God is near. And it’s in the waiting that we find him. He’s tenderhearted towards you, and has good thoughts about you. Turn to him and receive Him.
I pray that you would be so filled up with his peace and joy that your waiting turns into a secret garden where the most wonderful fruits grow. Fruits like love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness and self-control so that as you encounter life’s difficulties you have what you need to navigate them.
God is so good. He meets me where I am and he’s my safe place to pour out my heart when I’m feeling rejected. I know this sounds silly, but sometimes I wake up and feel like all my friends don’t like me anymore. By the end of the day I have myself convinced that I am friendless and un-likeable and rejection lurks.
I run to God, and I pour out my heart to him and tell him my fears and within his refuge he reminds me of myself. He reminds me that I am a child of God, that I’m redeemed, and that I’m secure in Him.
He reminds me that in him I am loved. He reminds me that my thoughts need to be brought captive and by thinking that all my friends hate me because of some imaginary thing I did is pretty inward focused. He gently redirects my heart to what is true: I have friends. They like me. I like them. I’m going to disappoint them. They will disappoint me. But that’s what forgiveness is for. I can forgive myself when I fail my personal friendship standards. And I can ask forgiveness when I fail theirs. God also reminds me that my battles with insecurity don’t make me weak, they make me strong because I run to him for strength and help.
Do you ever feel like your heart is about to vomit all over the place? That there’s so much inside and some of it’s great, but some of it’s really ugly and like mold it spreads and takes over the good stuff?
There’s some word vomiting happening around us. Too often someone speaks before they think and in the process spews dissension and hate all over the place. Too often we hid behind screens and keyboards failing to consider the consequences of our words. Social media is not our personal journal. Not everything we feel or every opinion we have needs to be aired in public.
Yet, we need a place for these ugly feelings and thoughts to go. Some of us have trusted friends that we can share the “uglies” and they will point us to Christ and his word for direction. Sometimes, though, we choose someone else to spew our uglies at and it becomes even messier than before because we’ve created a super-cell super-destructive storm of emotions.
Somewhere along the way we’ve lost the relatability of God. In the midst of our awareness of his awesomeness and majesty, we forget that he is also supremely interested in us. In all of us–the good stuff and the bad.
“Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before him; God is a refuge for us.” Psalm 62:8
Our trust in God is related to how open open our hearts are to him. I don’t think God wants our sanitized hearts. Our sanitized hearts look a lot like the produce drawers in my fridge: clean on one side and nasty on the other.
In our world divisiveness rages. People hate on one another, turn their backs on their fellow man, use words to kill and destroy, declare tolerance in the name of hate. Our hearts fill with rage or disgust and so we speak. And sometimes in the speaking, we wound.
We wound because we haven’t taken the pain in our hearts to God and let him sanitize our pain so our words become life-giving instead of life-taking.
At times, our hearts have a difficult time separating righteous anger from regular anger, gossip from a prayer request, or conditional love from unconditional love. We need God to sift through the feelings and purify the things that don’t please him so that our hearts honor him with everything we say and do.
Pouring out our hearts to God can become the single most important thing we can do in our personal walk with him. He is the first to receive our confusion, our frustration, our questions, fears and anger. Only then, once our hearts are empty can he fill us up.
He fills us up with his peace, wisdom, guidance, joy and love. He becomes our refuge–where we’re kept safe and held close to his heart–so that we can know his heart. And when our hearts are filled with his heart, we can share words that give life and pour love onto the weary hearts around us.
Run to him first with all your care and concerns. Find solace in his word. Find power in the Holy Spirit. Live in his wisdom not your own and remember that your poured out empty heart has room for him to fill you.
I seem to forget the things I need to remember. It’s like I put them in a “safe” place in my mind, only I lose them, forgetting where I put them. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve turned my house upside down looking for something I put in a “safe” place. So I’m a stacker instead of a filer and I have numerous junk drawers in the house that hold innumerable items of importance, like padlocks, pliers, and papers. If I see it, I remember, and I can find it when I need it.
God tells us to remember him and so we need to keep his promises and abilities close to our hearts and in our minds. We need to think on him and remember:
He holds the stars and calls them each by name.
He knows the number of hairs on my head, including the ones I daily lose.
His thoughts towards us are innumerable and good.
Why, then, do we doubt his goodness towards us? Why do we wonder where he is when he is silent?
Today, can you take courage? Can you take hold and hold onto your hope?
God is in the waiting. He is never failing. His love is unending and everlasting.
If you hold onto your hope, your triumph will unfold. Take courage. Stay steadfast. He’s there, in the waiting. He will turn your darkness to light because he is light.
Take courage and let your soul stay steadfast. Your doubts will fade, your questions dissipate as you focus on the King of Kings. Fix your eyes on Jesus, the Hope of the world. Our miracles happen when our eyes are fixed on him, despite what we see, feel, or experience.
It’s in the steadfastness of our soul that we know the steadfastness of God’s heart. It’s in our faithfulness that we know God’s faithfulness. He is strong and mighty. He saves. He redeems. He triumphs.
When we’re at the end of ourselves, we see the power of God displayed in our lives. You see, God has promised that we will rise in His victory. Our triumph will unfold, but it won’t be because of us and our efforts. Our triumph will unfold because we’ve held onto hope when hope seems lost. We will experience victory when our hearts don’t waver in our belief in God’s mighty goodness and faithfulness.
We may not be able to see around the next bend, but God is there. He is with you in the thorny path and he is ahead of you around the curve that you cannot see. He is behind you protecting your back from the darts of the enemy of our souls. And he is beside you whispering direction and encouragement.
You will rise in victory. You will rise in His victory because he holds the stars and knows them by name and he will surely keep his promises of finishing the work he has begun in you. Take courage. Hold on. He is loving and good and steadfast. He is faithful. He is power. And as you hold onto your Hope, he holds onto you.