Why is waiting so difficult? At times, it seems I’d rather gnaw off my own arm than wait–at least there would be something to DO. The action, even though extremely painful and harmful to myself, would somehow feel productive and gratify my deep need to be productive.
“Strength will rise as we wait upon the Lord, we will wait upon the Lord…”
I’ve been singing this line from the popular praise and worship song over and over to myself like a soundtrack for my daily life as I’ve mulled over what to say about the theme of WAIT. But as previously stated, the soundtrack doesn’t accurately portray me. Yesterday on the phone, I reluctantly agreed to be put on hold and ended up waiting on the other line for forty minutes. During that time, with speakerphone on, listening to the same advertisement repeat itself, I ranted aloud about how, if they would just let a person know how long the wait would be, I could maybe deal with it.
While enduring the forty-minute detour, I convinced myself I had been forgotten which quickly led to frustration. And there we have it: waiting is hard because after a while, I begin to believe that I’ve been forgotten.
Choose a scenario from my life when God has made me wait in faith, whether it be for healing or financial provision or a new job, I have floundered by believing the lie that I’m forgotten by my creator. Thankfully, it doesn’t end there. Every time I fall into this sort of thinking, Jesus, the lifter of my head, comes to my rescue and reminds me that even though I falter, God sees me and cares for me and loves me more than I can ever comprehend.
One of the most vivid memories of a season of waiting in which I performed particularly badly happened about six years ago. My husband and I were in our third year of our time in China and had begun to realize we needed to make a change in the near future for the education of our children. Knowing we didn’t want to leave China, we began to look for employment with international schools. I fell in love with one out West, particularly because it would bring us out of the place the Chinese called “The Ice City” to a place referred to as “The City of Eternal Spring.” Everything progressed at an amazing rate and I’d already mentally packed my bags and burned my winter coat when my husband got the job offer and turned it down because it didn’t feel right to him.
I can still see myself sitting on the cold tile floor of my tiny concrete apartment crying my eyes out, waiting for Spring as I endured the melting and refreezing black sludge month of March. My tears expressed the anger, confusion and hopelessness I struggled with as I tried to be a good mom to my two rambunctious little boys. On my worst days, the concrete high rise in which we lived became more like a window-less prison than a home as the long, relentless winter persisted outside. I knew God was asking us to wait on Him for our next move, and deep down I still believed He had a good plan for us, but the waiting felt like self-consumption.
It wasn’t long after that moment when God began miraculously putting our next steps in front of us with clarity that still astounds me. We knew where we’d be going (and it wasn’t “The City of Eternal Spring”) but, we heard Him asking us to delay a year before leaving our current post. The hard season of wrestling over my plan to head West versus His plan had prepared me to agree to staying another year in “The Ice City.” I’ve never regretted our decision to stick with our team for another year as it proved to be one of the best as far as community and outreach goes. Had we refused to follow the Lord’s leading and wait, we could have missed out big time!
I’m glad to have reminders of waiting seasons that ended with God’s sovereign provision. They strengthen my faith and courage. Calling these times to mind helps me remember God has not forgotten me. Next time I have the blessing of a season of waiting on God (eeeek…) I hope I can calm down, tell myself I’m not forgotten and keep my eyes on His goodness even though I don’t know how long I’m going to be on hold.
In what ways has God been teaching you to wait?
How has hindsite helped you to see your seasons of waiting in a different light?