I hate waiting.
It’s the worst.
And I’m not necessarily talking about waiting in long immigration lines or sitting in traffic, although those can be annoying and stress inducing. I’m talking about the other waits, the ones that we can’t control and the end is unclear. Waiting for our work to succeed. Waiting for clarity or wisdom from God. Waiting for depression to lift. Waiting for relationships to heal. Waiting for decisions to be made. Waiting for a diagnosis. Waiting for God to lead us when dreams fall apart. These waits can keep us up at night, and I’m bad at it.
Recently, I’ve been thinking about Abraham’s Sarah, and I think she gets assessed rather unfairly for offering up Hagar to her husband. You know, she had already waited 10 years for the promised heir before she made that move. 10 years! I imagine she thought about God’s promise every day and I can imagine how every month she would wonder if now would be the time. Maybe today would be the day she would find herself pregnant. I get it, Sarah. At some point, you just want it to be over. Decision made. Promise fulfilled. Then you get to move forward with your life, dealing with the reality of what is and not waiting for the possibility of what might be.
Because waiting can be a killer. The ambiguity can wreak havoc on the most faithful of souls. The mind can become stagnant and singularly focused onto the object that we are waiting for. It becomes consuming and clarity is hard to find. So where is the relief? How do we navigate through the hours, days, months and years that we find ourselves waiting?
It’s a question I have been pondering for a while now as I wade through this season of ambiguity. How do I persevere in the waiting?
Last night there was a huge thunderstorm, it was big and loud and scary. The electricity went out for hours and in the pitch black you could see the bright flashes of lightning followed closely by the loud clap of thunder. It shook the house and released shots of adrenaline through me. I instinctively curled my body around itself on the bed, closed my eyes and tried to take deep breaths. I was reminded of something.
Our God is not small. Nothing holds him back. Not us. Not government sanctions or world leaders. God’s not waiting for new information, he’s not waiting to gain insight or wisdom. He already knows it all and has the power to move at any time. So why is he waiting? I don’t know. But I do know, that if God is not forced to wait for some cosmic external shift then neither are we.
So then are we called to wait, or are we called to hope?
“Now, hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience…” (Romans 8:24-25).
Hope is what keeps us waiting patiently when life is unclear and the end unseen. Hope in the Spirit who helps us in our weakness, searching our hearts and minds, and praying for us with groanings too deep for words (Rom. 8:26-27). Hope in a God who actually does work all things out for the GOOD of those who love him. For the good of those he called and predestined and justified (Rom. 8: 28-30). Hope that our God is conforming us into the image of his son (Rom. 8:29). This same Son, who is, right now, at the right hand of the Father in heaven interceding on our behalf (Rom. 8:34).
If this is the case, if this is the truth, and our God is for us and is conforming us into the image of Christ, then we can be at peace. No one can separate us from God’s love. Not tribulation, distress, persecution, famine, nakedness, or danger.
“For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord (Rom. 8:38-39)”.
Therefore, we can rest in the waiting, because in light of this hope, our soul finds peace. A hope not placed in a desirable outcome but in the proven faithfulness of God. So, while the struggle is real, hoping in God allows us to be at rest as we trust that God is moving on our behalf. While we wait, God is at work.
What are you waiting for? How has God given you endurance and patience in the wait?
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Here’s our Instagram collection from this week using #VelvetAshesWaiting. You can add yours!