I’ve done a lot of waiting in my life.
It’s a natural result of having many children… waiting for doctor visits, waiting for school activities to start or finish, waiting for shoes to be found and put on and tied, waiting for that one kid to finish eating, waiting for the return of calm, waiting for the attitude to come around, and so on.
It’s a frequent part of life in ministry… waiting with family for word on a surgery or test results, waiting for someone to get the words out that they came in to share, waiting for someone to stop fighting and just surrender to the exciting thing God seems to be leading them to step into, waiting for hearts to soften to an uncomfortable opportunity to grow, and on and on.
So it’s not a big deal to wait while a new trainee in a restaurant or store figures out how to do a new thing. It doesn’t phase me much to sit in an exam room for a while knowing the doctor that will take their time with me is doing the same with someone else. I don’t mind so much if the new guy takes a while to prepare the meal I have ordered.
I think that most folks have an easier time waiting when they can use the waiting time for something helpful or productive. You rarely see someone complain about their wait times when they are reading a book or typing away on their laptop. You don’t often hear irritation from the lady who brought along her knitting or needlepoint.
Some folks don’t have too much trouble waiting as long as they can see that something is happening. When you know the staff is diligently taking care of things, it’s not as hard. But, when it’s all behind the scenes where we cannot see or hear or perceive that progress is being made, it wears on us differently, doesn’t it?
I’ve been in a season of waiting.
I’ve been waiting for God to unfold a vision for the next season of life and ministry.
I’ve been waiting for God to show me how to do the things I believe that He has placed on my heart to do.
I’ve been waiting for the pieces to fall into place for the new thing to take off.
I’ve been waiting for God to direct our steps to the context of connection and community that He desires for us.
I’ve been waiting… a lot.
But I’ve also been trying to use the time like I’m sitting in a waiting room expecting to be called into action any minute. I’ve been trying to work on the things He has shown me so that I’m ready to take the next step when it comes. I’ve been striving to prepare my heart to run into the next thing with fervor and confidence.
But I confess that, even by my own (way slower than most folks) standards, this is taking a long time. I suppose it’s because, like an anxious family in a surgery waiting room, I can’t see what’s going on behind closed doors. I can’t see where God is arranging things and providing things and preparing hearts.
I know that God is beyond time. I know that He is ever-present and omni-present so I know that He is already in the moments that I am yet to reach. I know that He has always provided whatever is required in any situation. So I know that He is working even when I cannot see where and how. I think that’s what Jesus was saying as recorded in John’s gospel account:
But Jesus answered them, “My Father is working until now, and I am working.”John 5.17
God hasn’t failed or fallen off of His promises.
But He also gave me a lot of things that I don’t have to figure out—that I simply must do without any waiting for direction. I must love and serve others. I must seek to show His good news to a dying world. I must seek Him before and above all else. I must draw close to Him in heart and mind and lean into His transforming grace that is surely at work in me.
I must take the opportunities that He presents me to proclaim the wonders of His grace and the character of His heart. I must keep working at what I know as I wait for Him to unfold what I do not yet know.
So I hope you’ll pray for us as we are waiting… and working.
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