What are you waiting for?
It seems to me like it is very common among humans (but I can only really speak for the Americans I know and have observed) to always be looking to the next thing. I have known people who can’t wait to finish school, can’t wait to move to another town, can’t wait to have a baby, can’t wait to get married… because then… fill in the blank: I can finally be done with homework and tests, I can finally be closer to my family – or in a warmer place -or closer to Chick-Fil-A (that last one is a real heartbreaker for some people… I’m lookin’ at you Josh!), or then I can finally be a Mom/ we can finally start our family together.
You get the idea.
Always waiting. Dreaming about that “someday” when this will be just right and that will be just right and life will be good!
Believe me, I have had my share of being plenty of the aforementioned waiting people… but I am learning something new about waiting.
Waiting is not bad. Waiting is not wasted time, it is not a punishment, and it does not mean that you aren’t right where you are supposed to be. I used to view my life as sort of a “half life” where I was just starting out… trying to make it… trying to become the person I want to be in life. I would think, I’ve just got to get through this to get to be the person I really want to be / do the thing I really want to do.
Honestly, right now we are in a particularly difficult season of waiting. I am not able to have a payed position in my profession (dentistry) for a few years – and it has been both incredibly frustrating and overwhelming at the same time. I know we are no phenomenon in the field of “waiting for things that are extremely hard to wait for” so I’m hoping our story can be an encouragement to you!
Since moving here (to Japan) I have been able to attend a Bible study where we have been slowly and throughly reading through Genesis. Something that became glaringly obvious to me is that God is okay with things taking a REALLY long time. Like an outrageously long time. Like you-actually-may-die-and-never-see-the-promise-land-because-your-life-is-but-a-breath long time! He is okay if it takes years. And years upon years. I don’t know… let’s say 100 years to have a baby (1)… lets say 40 years to wander in the desert and then all of you die before you get to enter the promise land (2). And what about Jacob? He worked SEVEN YEARS for Rachel! And then he didn’t get her, so… HE WORKED ANOTHER SEVEN YEARS. (3)
This just astonishes me. In all of these cases, God could have eased their pain in waiting. He could have given Abraham and Sarah children in their youth. He could have allowed Israel to walk strait over to the promise land and enjoy the milk and honey instead of wandering for 40 years. He could have made it so Jacob found favor in Laban’s eyes (or softened Laban’s heart maybe?) so he didn’t have to wait and work these 14 years.
But He didn’t.
And I don’t believe God allows us to suffer pointlessly. So why? What is the point of all this waiting?
Maybe the point is the waiting itself.
Waiting may be the best teacher. When I’m waiting, I’m desperate for God. I am keenly aware of where I stand in relation to were I want to be, and therefore know that I need God’s help. I am aware that there is a difference between the way things are and the way things should be… and I’m uncomfortable enough to DO something about it.
As Paul says in Romans:
Through him (Jesus Christ) we have also obtained access by FAITH into his grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. (4)
Don’t deprive yourself of the waiting, don’t deprive yourself of the suffering. It does not bring you to the gift. It is the gift.
I also noticed that another important facet to this is waiting with faith…
By FAITH he (Abraham) when to live in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, living in tents with Isaac and Jacob, heirs with him of the same promise. For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose designer and builder is God… These all died in FAITH, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having acknowledged them from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth… But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. (5)
What is the key here? I believe it is the faith. The faith to believe that even though your life isn’t “perfect” now by human standards, and may never be “perfect” on earth, that you are in God’s will for you right now. You are working each day towards the purpose He designed for your life! And that our hope is not in perfection of our lives on earth, but our hope is in the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God. THAT is were we have our true hope for the future.
And you know what? It’s not about us “entering the promise land” and everything being perfect and us “arriving” at that perfect place in life where everything is just right and we’re right where we are supposed to be. It’s about faithfulness. Everyday. It’s about trusting God and realizing that our life isn’t ultimately about us… but fulfilling the purpose we were put here for.
What better way to do that than to listen to and trust the Purpose-maker? This is something I am working on every day, to embrace the waiting. To let it have its FULL work in my life… to see it through to hope… and to have faith in God to believe his promises. Will you join me?
What is it that you are waiting for in your life? In what ways does that effect how you live and the joy that you have today? What if today is all we have?
Disclaimer: This is only from what I can see and understand so far, not to say that some other, better -or additional purpose for waiting may be found – and there may be other purposes we may not get to know until heaven!
(1) Genesis 21:5 (2)Numbers 14:30 (3) Genesis 29:15-30 (4) Romans 5:1-5 (5)Hebrews 11:9-10,13&16