“Waiting is boring. It’s discouraging and worst of all it gives place to schemes. When we see nothing happening we want to make something happen. That’s what Sarah did when she told Abraham to take Hagar and have a baby with her. She had reached the point where the possibility of new life being created inside of her seemed ridiculous. Impossible. Laughable.” Robin Jones Gunn
God gave me a dream and a prayer to pray, in the year leading up to my departure to Cambodia. It wasn’t related to my heart for southeast Asia or my fundraising journey, but it was a seemingly impossible dream for the person my sister would marry.
I met him first, on a short-term trip to Cambodia in 2011. His big sister was also on that trip and God was working in both of our hearts with a calling to this country that would be our home for five years. In the midst of the process of becoming teammates, this matchmaking idea about her brother Ben and my sister Beth sparked in my heart.
I prayed diligently through the summer of 2012 until the two of them had the chance to travel to Cambodia together and then I prayed like crazy while they were there.
My sister came home from that short-term trip and she was in love. Wow! God had answered at least half of the prayer. We waited and started praying together. But the waiting seemed long and I fought the temptation to “scheme”, to figure out some way to make it happen. There were moments of hope when anything seemed possible, but I wasn’t sure if I was just making it up. There were moments when I said, “Lord, did I get this wrong? If this is what You want, then why isn’t anything happening?”
My siblings and Ben came to see my teammate and me in Colorado while we were at pre-field training in the spring of 2013. It was a perfect weekend together of hiking and dining and talking and laughing- seven “siblings” all together. They left and I fell to my knees. “God, I am tired of waiting!”
The next morning I read Psalm 37:4: Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart. I gave all of these hopes and dreams over to Him. I said, “Lord, I give you my heart. Fill it with the desires YOU want to be there”. There was nothing magical in that prayer, but God heard. The very next day there was a text message and a phone call and a random trip to Ben’s hometown, and God said, “This is the story that only I could write”. Three weeks later they were engaged, ready to serve God and advance His Kingdom and model in their relationship the love Jesus has for us.
Waiting is hard.
God doesn’t always answer in the sweet way I saw Him work to bring my sister and brother-in-law together. Sometimes He sits with us in the waiting, shows us a different path or brings beauty from strange ashes.
There are prayers I have prayed, dreams in my heart that are still residing there, unanswered. I have to continually ask that God puts HIS desires there and shapes those dreams to match His.
In the waiting, I know I can grow. I can be pruned so that when the bloom of hope and answers come, it is more beautiful than I can even imagine. I keep praying and trusting the Almighty God who controls the universe and knows my heart.
“We are held by the One who put these dreams in our hearts. All we can do is wait. He infuses that which appears hopeless with life-giving, resurrection power. He brings the beauty in His time”. Robin Jones Gunn
When have you to seen God answer a prayer you prayed after a season of waiting? What is encouraging you right now if you are in a season of waiting?