Two years ago my husband and I made one of the most radical decisions in our twenty-five years as a married couple.
We decided to leave a fulfilling job, secure paycheck, most of our possessions, and a spacious house on an island a stone’s throw from the Atlantic to move to London. Except we didn’t have visas or jobs or a place to live; all we had was faith in what we heard God say to us.
Friends watching our waiting season to London called me brave but behind the scenes, in the privacy of my bedroom, I wasn’t brave at all. A year after that radical decision I became weak, cowardly, and a full-fledged doubter.
When I said yes to God, I thought that meant He would take care of all the details falling neatly into place with swiftness. But instead, it felt like He walked off and forgot about us. Paychecks ceased, our house wasn’t selling, and a bureaucratic process made obtaining visas difficult.
Familiar faith transformed into pleading prayers for signs to quench my endless thirst for preferred outcomes.
Over time, my faith strengthened as a job was offered, anonymous checks appeared in the mailbox; when I landed a book contract and our daughter was secure in her first year of college.
But that faith quickly vanished when our needs became greater than the amount in our bank account; when our daughter experienced a car accident in the US while we were living in London and her secure plans for the future were no longer preferred.
I became one of those Israelites Moses was talking to God about when he was leading them out of the wilderness; to a place where there was no water to drink.
Rephidim, the place God had pre-ordained for the Israelites to camp had no water. And instead of trusting that God knew what He was doing, the Israelites demanded, “Give us water to drink.”
And Moses said to them, “Why do you quarrel with me? Why do you test the Lord?”
In the same way the people grumbled against Moses saying, “Why did you bring us up out of Egypt, to kill us and our children and our livestock with thirst? Is the Lord among us or not?” (Exodus 17:1-7) I was saying, “Surely you didn’t bring us to London to make my daughter’s life miserable.”
Sometimes we thirst more for preferred outcomes than we thirst for God.
God took the Israelites to a place without water and my family to a place far away from my daughter for the same reason. He longs for us to believe Him; to believe that His plans for us are good because He loves us.
“If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’” (John 7:37-38, ESV)
Choosing to follow Christ doesn’t mean everything will fall into place like you imagine. And just because you experience hardship, disappointment, and lack doesn’t mean it’s the enemy trying to mess with you.
Waiting for God to act is as much His will as the calling He purposes for you to possess.
As physical thirst increases with a lack of water, spiritual hunger intensifies with an absence of God. The wilderness of a waiting season plays an important role in our lives in the same way it did for Moses and the Israelites. The barrenness of the wilderness makes us thirsty for God.
We are brave when we believe He loves us, no matter the circumstance. And He promises to quench your thirst.
If a lack of water was God’s divine design then perhaps whatever you are thirsting for is His plan too. Testing reveals willfulness and waywardness of the heart and it reveals that God blesses us, not on the basis of our works, but on the foundation of His grace.
His ways are good.
Will you believe that?
How have waiting seasons in the past provided clarity about God’s plans for the future? Let’s encourage each other with our stories in the comments.
What are you thirsty for today?