Wait. We use that word frequently in our days. “Wait til your Father gets home!” “I can’t wait until vacation–it’s going to be great.” “There will be a 4 hour wait today because the doctor had some emergencies (i.e. had a long enjoyable lunch).” “How long will I have to wait for Mr. Right? Mr. Right Now looks pretty good.” “I cannot wait until Christmas.” “All good things come to those who wait.” I could go on…
Our bodies, minds and spirits automatically become restless when we know we have to wait. When I enter a doctor’s office, it is like time stands still for that 20 minute or 4 hour wait where vacations always happen on triple speed! Each year our culture grows exponentially in the thought of instant gratification. We are so accustomed to fast dinners, google answers, on demand and dvr cable, and call ahead seating, that waiting is a foreign concept. Guess what? Waiting is not a foreign concept to God. Ummm…in our life with Him, we are going to learn to wait.
In our journey with God, we are going to learn to wait more than a minute. Consider Abram, God gave an earth shattering promise to Him that He would be the Father of many nations. Abram had to wait and wait and wait and wait…until He took the initiative in His own hands (sound familiar?). Taking the initiative into his own hands caused exponential trouble that still plays out today (war in the Middle East anyone?). Then, when Sarah’s womb was deader than dead, a son was born named Isaac (Abraham was 99 and Sarah 90–in real years people!). Talk about exhausting, pull your hair out, invent many schemes to speed the process up, waiting.
Israel also knew the waiting game, and they did not do it well! God would give a command, and in about 3 seconds they were disobeying Him and inventing ways to disobey Him more. Judges, Kings and Prophets and Priests proclaimed the truth to wait on God. They were promised the Messiah–to wait for this coming Hope and Salvation. They were told to repent from prophets in all different positions–they knew the message. They did not wait well. Then, from Malachi to John the Baptist, there was four hundred years of silence. They knew the promise, but they invented ways of dealing with the time. Those ways included more rules, rules, rules. They began to put their hope in themselves to be righteous before God instead of waiting on God’s righteousness.
Is this not a picture of you and me? We wait and wait and wait. By the way, a year seems excrutiatingly long to us in our instant age. However, the older we get, we know by experience that a year is a blink. God is not concerned with our instant happiness and “right now” gratification. He is not concerned that we invent ways to control our lives and make the waiting more palpitable. He is concerned with shaping us to be in His character, to depend on Him, to grow up into Him. This takes time, cultivation, and yes, waiting.
We cannot and will not grow in God if there is no waiting. If you have not read the Psalms lately, pick them up. It seems that every other word includes a concept of waiting. Humility is also a concept that the Psalms proclaim is needed in relationship with God. Humility is a state in which we are in need of something and someone other than ourselves. We see humility battle with pride in the waiting game. Just like Abraham, we concoct ways to make the waiting go away. If I could just go shopping, or manipulate my husband, or try this fertility treatment, or get attention from this guy or read this book or try this program. Then, if we are listening and surrender, we come to the end of ourselves and see that our control is not the answer to the frustration of waiting. We see that we make a bigger mess of things because of our sinful adulterous hearts. Then, we are left to deal with the conflict we created from our lack of patience. Humility is seeing with repentant hearts that we need Him and not simply a resolution to our waiting.
There have been two distinct times of prolonged waiting in my life, and I know these will not be the last! After college, I felt lost and was in a waiting game for direction. I tried many of my own concoctions–none more humorous than being a flight attendant where I actually fainted in class because of a heart condition and got kicked out of the program! I did not know what to do with my life after college graduation, so I inserted something that sounded cool–living in NYC and being a flight attendant. God obviously had other plans for me, and those plans were much more humbling! I remember reading over and over again in His word to wait on Him.
Time number two is right now–and this waiting has been much longer and much more painful in the process of marriage and infertility. This waiting has also been much more fruitful. Somewhere along the way, I have learned and relearned that I cannot control this venture. I have learned that this venture is not about us “having a baby.” Am I tempted to put my hope in things that are lies? Everyday…I am tempted to fill myself by buying things, eating things, drinking things to make the waiting more palpitable. I try everyday to be renewed in His word to remember what the ultimate wait and hope is for–Him.
A baby/babies will not curb my wants or needs–they only create more wants and needs and exhaustion for me to learn my hope is found in HIM and Him alone. Just the lesson I have learned in marriage. I am most satisfied when I am found hoping and waiting in Him. This is relying and trusting and knowing the LORD and His ways instead of trying to use Him to create the life I want here. How have I learned that this is the purpose of my life? Through waiting, of course.
It is only through the frustration of seeing our “lesser” dreams die that we cling to and find our greater Hope and greater dream. After college, I memorized a passage from Psalm 25. That became my prayer, and God, in His timing and beautiful purposes, has been answering it.
“Make me to know your ways, O LORD; teach me Your paths. Lead me in Your truth and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation. for you I wait all the day long.”
“Who is the man who fears teh LORD? Him will he instruct in the way that he shold choose. Good and upright is the LORD. therefore he instructs sinners in the way. He leads the humble is what is right and teaches the humble his way. All the paths of the LORD are steadfast love and faithfulness, for those who keep his convenant and his testimonies (which are mine through Christ’s work on the cross–he is my righteousness.)”
Do I still want children? Yes. Am I growing each day to want Him more? Yes. That is a lasting hope. My friend, waiting is often excrutiating, but it brings such good if the waiting is on the LORD. He is the fulfiller.