Anyone else really dislike the waiting periods of our lives?
I’m not talking about the drive through line, Amazon packages, or the weekend to come. I mean those periods in life where you’ve reached the end of one season and you know there’s another coming, yet you don’t know when or where this “new season” is coming from or what it’s supposed to look like.
I call this, the in between. The transition stage. The strange middle ground existing somewhere at the end of dinner but before coffee. Or during a biathlon when you’ve just finished biking and you’re slipping into your running gear. It’s sometimes awkward and it’s almost always frustrating. It can be confusing, yet hopeful. Terrifying, and yet exhilarating.
The unknowns of life take the most energy. I guess that’s why we wait.. We wait. We breathe. And we find God in our story again. Not that we’ve lost him, though some might have and some may not have found him yet, but we stop and we breathe to remind ourselves of the one who fills our lungs with air. Who keeps our heart beating. Who waits with eager ears and anticipation at what we’ll do next. Who cries when we turn away and smiles when we turn back. Who knows us better than we could ever know ourselves and yet still finds us fascinating. God is enthralled by his creation and longs to know us even more. He pursues relentlessly, yet patiently stands at the door of our hearts and knocks.
I forget that. I forget it so often I’m embarrassed to say how many times I’ve lost my way. So many times I’ve found myself in the in between, wandering aimlessly once again. Searching and grasping at anything or anyone to fill a need and quench my desire to be seen and known and loved. It’s in the in between where I come face to face with my humanity. And It’s in the in between I’m called to wait.
There are so many places in the bible where it talks about waiting; how it is good to wait on the Lord. The other day I revisited a common verse I normally tend to look over. It’s from Isaiah 40:31…
“But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.”
It is the EASIEST thing to look at this passage and think, yes, when I call upon the Lord he will give me new strength, new heights to soar, stamina to run, perseverance to walk forward! … And he will, and sometimes he’ll do it right away, but more than not, those things come through the waiting. “Those who wait for the Lord, will…” The promises come once we realize we can’t produce them ourselves. So we wait for the one who can.
Yes, it is the hardest thing to wait, especially in this quick fix, results-driven age, and even more so when we don’t know what it is we’re waiting for. However, God needs us to stop throwing ourselves into the next thing and take a breather every once in a while. He needs us to reflect and to be reminded that He is God. He is in control. And that he has good things in store for those who wait on His ways and His time.
Psalm 27:14 says, “Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!”
The word LET stands out to me. Let your heart take courage and wait for the Lord. I’m still telling myself this… Don’t rush through it, don’t push past it, don’t try and move on to the next thing because you’re uncomfortable with where God has you. Allow yourself room to process, to grieve, to feel, to rest. Realize he has you there. In that space. And maybe not for any other reason than to be still and know he is God. And to find purpose in just being there with him.
It’s also important that I mention, waiting isn’t stagnant. In fact, the seasons of waiting have been some of the most intentional of my life. Purposefully running after the Father’s heart with all that I have. Sometimes that looks like sitting in silence with him, listening, and other times it’s driving 3 hours to be with family in a crisis. It’s simply living. It’s not a meditative state, though that is needed too, it’s a patient, steadfast, obedient walking out of each day. It’s living in communion with the Holy Spirit. It’s letting him have the final say, the final thought, waiting for him to speak and then acting in accordance.
The more I reflect on the in between moments of my life, the hard ones and the good ones, I start to see it’s about something even bigger. Life on this earth seems to me ALL the in between - a time we GET to be intentional with where we are and who we’re with. Not looking to get somewhere or achieve something, but being present with our creator God, King Jesus, at all times - waiting for his final return. So we wait, and we are vigilant, and we posture ourselves, preparing our hearts for his coming.
James 5:7-8 “Be patient, therefore, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient about it, until it receives the early and the late rains. You also, be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand.”
Lamentations 3:25 “The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him.”
Help us, Lord, as we wait. Forgive our short sightedness as we take our focus off ourselves and surrender our pride in thinking we deserve answers or deliverance from hardship or waiting. Renew the mind of Christ within us, that we may have your thoughts and long for your ways. May we find joy and gladness as we wait for you with eager hearts. Giving thanks for the things that produce in us a purifying fire. You are steadfast and patient with us and worthy of our long suffering. May we forever be struck by your love and mercy as we choose to lay our lives on the altar of hope and wait for you. Come quickly, Lord Jesus. Come.