Chaos: unpredictability; a state of confusion
Calm: period or condition of freedom from storms; a state of tranquility
I think I have not been good at waiting. But wait . . . let me think about that a bit. No, I can’t wait . . . I don’t really have time to think about it. Besides, I know. I’m not good at waiting. I like to plan and push and expect and get. If there’s an answer out there, I don’t want it held back from me. I do not like to anticipate or wonder. I’m a good wanderer, but a very poor waiter. I plunge headlong into chaos rather than cautiously wading into the calm. As much as I yearn to rise up with wings like an eagle, I have a greater tendency to scurry on in like a common sparrow. Thank God, literally, that His eye is upon me.
I’m waiting on some answers right now. I’m yearning for some peace within some plaguing issues. I’m cautiously wading into waiting, but I’m wanting to pick up speed . . . my own speed . . . my own way . . . my own timing . . . and . . . if I do so, achieve my own results. My, oh my, that’s a lot of “my.”
My other problem with waiting is that it so often seems that things truly are not worth the wait. I once sat up all night on Christmas Eve listening to a hamster wheel turning beneath the Christmas tree. I wanted that little hamster so so badly. Cute and funny to watch, but definitely not worth the wait. Hamsters are clearly over-rated. I became a slave to an 8-ounce furball. Clean my cage; fill my bottle; get me treats; find me under the refrigerator as flat as a fridge magnet; bury me in the backyard.
Some things are worth the wait; that is for sure. Broke as could be, barely able to pay the bills and put shoes on our five kids, Lisa and I used to drive to a rise on the edge of the city and park in the middle of a pasture and wait on the time that we would be able to buy the land on which we built a house in which we now live. We waited. It took years . . . and now we’ve lived here for years and been blessed. We waited.
But what about those things in our lives that are not so tangible? What about when we are waiting for sorrow to be vanquished? Or for addictions to release their grip? Or for loneliness to leave? Or for pain to subside? Or for forgiveness to be real? Or for unwanted desires to diminish? Or for painful memories to fade? Or for change? Or for comfort? Or for strength? These are not squeaky presents under a tree. These are not things that can be processed through a bank loan. These are things we pray for. And sometimes, we wait longer than we want.
In our haste to impress upon God that there is no need to wait, we may go through stages ranging from paralysis to rage, from almost refusing to live at all . . . to living large and free, daring Him to stop us from our self-destruction. Sometimes we declare our own answers, do our own searches, make our own plans and move on our own understanding and with our self-approval . . . just . . . tired of waiting. And when we suffer the consequences, we wait again, this time determined to let God work, even as we feel that fidgety need to fix it again.
Prone to wander, Lord I feel it.
Prone to leave the God I love.
Prone to hear you and not heed it.
Prone to scorn you in your love.
I am clearly “prone” to do quite a few things; waiting being the exception. But, if we would but wait . . . then what should we do while we’re waiting, to keep us from acting on what we are “willing?” Oh, that silly will. It works like a weed-eater on our waiting.
Those of us who struggle with various types of personal brokenness know it is a matter miles beyond the will. I hear daily of men and women who plunge headfirst into the free-fall of free will and their determination to find wholeness diminishes into despair and a tearful longing for forgiveness and restoration. The good news is, as we wait upon the Lord for the answer, we are replenished through grace and we receive that forgiveness and restoration. That’s what our will should seek.
What to do? What to do? First of all . . . we have to make sure we really are waiting on God . . . and not on someone else . . . or even on ourselves. I have to admit that for years I grappled with my sexual issues with the gnawing thought that there was no answer; that I had been given a perpetual ticket on a roller-coaster and all the attendants had gone home for the season. The park was closed. The die was cast. Get used to the butterflies in the stomach and the nauseating reality that you are going no-where.
Waiting is faith. Waiting believes that God has an answer and that God has no off-season.
I’m waiting for several worth-the-wait things right now. God knows. For one, I’m waiting for God to restore my family. And I’m rightly waiting, having run the gamut of the wrongful waits. I thought perhaps I could restore it myself. Nice long detour that was. I thought perhaps my church could do it. I thought I could out-wait my children. Out-waiting is one of the most wasteful waits of all. Mighty is the moment when we finally realize that some things can only be accomplished through waiting on God. In that knowledge, we can wield the power of waiting, and in wielding, discover the power of faith. Certainly, He can use me, my children, my church . . . or anything or anyone He wants to end the wait with an answer. I’ll wait and see. Clearly I can not out-wait the Creator of time.
The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. — Isaiah 40:28
God does not give up on us, though we often give up on Him, wearing ourselves out because we demonstrate waiting by entering a catatonic state of nothingness. Done properly, waiting strengthens us and we grow. Done poorly, we resemble mushrooms in a dark forest. We think waiting means doing nothing. So, back to the original question: What should you do while you’re waiting?
Have Hope — What strength do I have, that I should still hope? What prospects, that I should be patient? — Job 6:11.
Job raised a good question during his long and painful period of waiting. God restored not only his hope, but everything he had lost.
Practice Patience — We want each of you to show this same diligence to the very end, in order to make your hope sure. We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised. — Hebrews 6:11-12.
God’s promises are real; He has plans for us. Good ones. We need to be patient and await the inheritance.
Trust — When I am afraid, I will trust in you. — Psalm 56:3.
Waiting is a scary journey, no matter what you’re hoping for. For those who are awaiting a light in a walk to freedom along the pockmarked path of failed beginnings and elusive endings trust is a must.
Obey — This is love for God: to obey his commands. And his commands are not burdensome, for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. — John 5:3-4.
Aren’t most of us longing to be loved? And can any love be greater than that exchanged between man and God? And well . . . overcoming is what we long for.
Which brings us back to waiting.
My path to today is littered with the longings of yesterday. So many of the things I once waited on are so far into the past now that I have forgotten even why I wanted them or what they were; some of them are no longer even valuable to me, their fate forever resigned to the “not-worth-the-wait” category.
Now I am waiting. Waiting for His voice, for His plan, for His direction. And I am hoping, and trusting and obeying. It will be worth it. He knows my needs; He knows my deeds. He loves me still. My God is faithful. And so is yours.
Just you wait and see.
Thom — http://thom-signsofastruggle.blogspot.com/
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