Since adding a third child on earth, I have numerous posts in word documents that are half-written. Here is one such post that I was prompted to finish after reading a dear and poignant post on the same topic this week from a church friend battling terminal cancer. Waiting certainly comes in all forms.
|Two mamas waiting to be reunited with their sons...|
|And two boys waiting to be reunited with their brothers.|
Waiting is a continued theme in my life… waiting on John’s full healing. Waiting on the remaining brokenness in my heart to subside. Waiting for my minivan to feel adequately “full.” Waiting for the day when there aren’t so many triggers that seemingly jump out of nowhere to remind me of what I perceive I lack. Waiting on God to convince me He really is good, that He really is faithful (because, as I’m sure you can relate, my confidence in His attributes can be sky high one day and back down in the depths the next). Heck, I’m even waiting on my 3 year old to learn how to listen and obey while simultaneously feeling like a major failure in my disciplining attempts!
From the big to little things, waiting is undoubtedly a relentless theme in all of our lives as we grapple with life, loss, joy, and pain in a world that is both broken but is also the powerful stage masterfully set for God’s redemptive work.
Up until recently, I stubbornly maintained the belief (even if I knew, deep down, it was ill-founded) that, at some point, my waiting would end and I would “arrive.” Now, I know life is about the journey (let’s use all the clichés today!), but I really, really, r-e-a-l-l-y hoped certain things would just fall into place. That prayers would be answered the way I hoped. That I could finally exhale a deep cleansing breath of relief.
However, I gained a new perspective during a Bible study on prayer this summer. One week’s lesson was about waiting and continuing to pray when God doesn’t seem to answer us. There was an elderly lady, the oldest in the class by far, who had earned all of our respect over the weeks not only with her wisdom but also with her teachable spirit at what one might call an advanced age. An age in which one might assume you knew it all and no longer needed to learn from the Lord, much less from a younger lady in the church. And yet here she was, piping up to confess to the teacher in front of the entire class that she had one situation in her life she was still waiting on… still lifting up in prayer… that she didn’t understand why the Lord had not intervened. Wow. At that age… still waiting.
I think this true confession depressed me at first, but eventually it gave me hope. I’m not alone. I’m waiting and so is this sweet old lady. And so is our church friend, Steve, and his precious family. He shared, “Waiting is a kind of tension and is hardly ever comfortable… There is a pull between what is and what is to come.”
We will always be waiting on something or on someone in this life… the “what is to come.” Therefore, God must have something for us as we wait. The waiting must be significant and worthwhile in and of itself, not just for the results it may or may not bring. After all, the Lord says we are blessed when we wait on Him and look to Him for help (Isaiah 30:18). What’s more, while we wait, He promises to renew our strength— to never let us fall (Isaiah 40:31).
As we wait, as we pause, that’s when we enter into the Lord’s sanctuary. That’s where He leads us beside His quiet waters to renew our soul. And that, my friends, is where we find our deep cleansing breath, our exhale… As we continue to wait— learning to place our dreams, our loved ones, our longings in His loving arms. Trusting He is the strong Shepherd who remains strong enough to carry us… to carry our pain, our greatest sorrows, and our hopes.
“This final season of my life is all about waiting. It is not a waiting that I want to hurry along. But neither is it a waiting which is without hope. I am definitely not eager to die, nor am I eager to move into that stage of this process which includes more health challenges. But I also know that at the end of this waiting there will be peace of a sort that we cannot even imagine this side of eternity.”
-Steve Hayner (a.k.a. our dear church friend who is MUCH wiser than we.)
Let all that I am wait quietly before God, for my hope is in him (and my victory comes from Him, v.1).
He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress where I will not be shaken.