I waited patiently for the Lord to help me, and he turned to me and heard my cry. —Psalm 40:1 NLT
I wake up and have to think hard to figure out what day of the week it is. With the current pandemic raging across our country and the isolation policy in place, all my days are starting to blur together. I go nowhere except to the grocery store once a week. Fewer engagements anchor my mind to a specific day of the week, and even my virtual engagements happen randomly, not always on the same day as before. I like my house. I do … but it sure would be nice to see other sights as well! Yet here I am.
The waiting wouldn’t be quite so sluggish if we knew the end date. If someone could just look into the future and tell us that the corona virus currently killing and incapacitating way too many people would die out by … say June … I’d feel more okay. It’s the not knowing that makes it hard. It’s wondering whether a second outbreak will occur just as we’re ready to come out of isolation and back we’ll go to the confines of our homes. It’s pondering what will happen to our economy and our jobs at the end of all this … whenever it ends. That’s the hard part about waiting. You simply don’t know how long.
I’ve waited before. In fact, despite our innate dislike of it, waiting is normal. We wait for vacations. We wait for a doctor’s appointment. We wait at a red light. We wait for a baby to start its little life within us. I waited five years for the birth of our first precious child. Our second came swiftly, but my prayers for two more never yielded more babies. Sometimes we never get what we wait for.
So, how do we wait well? It is the ultimate in foolishness to allow the waiting to disrupt the living of the lives we’ve been given. I have some thoughts for you as God has helped me “wait well” in various times and in various circumstances. My hope is that these reflections will resonate with you, as you too are most likely also slogging through seemingly endless days that look much the same.
Receive it. We can kick against a concrete wall all we want. All we’ll get is a sore foot. When we’re forced into a waiting mode—waiting patiently is the key, as our scripture above teaches. If we’re Christians, we know that God is ultimately sovereign and in charge of all things. Whatever circumstance has us waiting, He has allowed. And we know that God is good. We can trust His Goodness even if we don’t like what’s happening. God has a purpose in the wait. It helps me when I whisper to Him in submission: I receive this, Lord. I don’t like it, but I receive “what is” as from Your hand. I know that You can work through this for good.
Live within it. Another mistake we can make is to get stuck in the wait. Say for instance we’re single and wish we were married, we can slog through the days without thinking to ask God what He might have us do during the waiting time. Or, in our current predicament, getting stuck in the wait might mean watching mindless movies and shows and just slumping in place. For weeks or months. Not the best plan. A day or two of slumping is understandable. In fact, God tells us to rest and do no work one day out of every seven. Still, He does have work for us to do in the midst of the wait. Whether it’s sewing masks, writing notes, calling friends, sharing encouraging posts, or cleaning house top to bottom. We need to live well while we wait. The wait can’t be the focus. The daily living ought to remain our focus. Let’s wake up each morning, figure out what day it is, and ask God to help us, this very day, to hear His voice and His leading to live well right where we’re currently planted.
Grow in trust through it. I grew up in a family of four. Two girls were followed by two boys. Somehow, I thought that was the ideal. So after we had our two girls, I prayed for two boys. And I waited quite fervently for their arrival. I was sure they’d come. They didn’t. I waited with increasing impatience and more than a little bit of anger. After the anger came the hurt. Why was I being denied this desire of my heart? Couldn’t God see my longings? After the hurt came the acceptance. In my mind, I took my dream for two sons and tucked it away in an imaginary gift box and gave the box back to God. I told Him it was His again, and if He never gave me the sons, I would turn from that longing and keep loving my beautiful and much-wanted daughters as well as I could. I was done pining. I trusted His “No.” We don’t always get what we want. The Israelites waited 400 years before their rescue from Egypt. Many of them lived and died as slaves without ever seeing God’s deliverance. Moses himself never lived in the promised land. Hebrews 11:39-40 speaks of unfulfilled promises this side of Heaven: “These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised, since God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect” (NIV). Sometimes we wait a lifetime. We can trust Him with that as well. And as we trust, we grow in the ability to say, Thy will be done. The faith and trust that we gain when we really and finally walk in the path He chooses for us is indescribably better and more fulfilling than getting what we thought we wanted. I’m a witness.
So, let’s wait well. Let’s use this time of enforced quiet to know God better and love Him more. Let’s grow our faith up. He’s in charge. He brings good from the hardest of times. His plans for us are better by far than any plans we might have imagined for ourselves.
Father God, thank You for this opportunity to trust You. You hear the cries of our hearts, Lord, and You see our weeping. Yet we choose to turn to You in faith believing that Your ways are best and good and right. We receive from You the path You have marked out for us. Help us to live well right where we are, knowing You hold our future securely in Your good hands. And someday, Lord God, our waiting will be over, and we will see You face to face—no veil in the way—and finally experience that all is very, very well with our souls. We love You. Use us mightily during this waiting time. For Your Glory! Amen.
PS – As I wrote about my past longing for two sons, God reminded me of two sons-in-law who love me. Who call me “Mom.” Who tease me, laugh with me, hug me when I’m sad (and we aren’t social distancing), and make me feel like they really are … my sons. How about that? Happy tears of gratitude are sparkling in my eyes. God did give me sons. In His time and in His perfect way.
You are loved,
Sweet Selah Ministries
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and toward the truth of God’s Word that stillness and knowing Him
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