Tuesday, January 06, 2009

waiting.


I am an impatient person. I want to know things right away, have them immediately, be there instantaneously. I don't like to wait on hold, in line, or for people. It's a nasty little shortcoming, and it can get ugly sometimes.

One of the hardest parts of walking this Christian walk is the waiting. God's timing is not ours, God's ways are not our ways. I find little encouragement when I discover it took Noah nearly 100 years to build the ark, Moses wandered the wilderness for 40ish years, Jesus waited days before coming to raise Lazarus from the dead. I imagine Martha (of Mary & Martha fame... whom I have identified with more than once) must've been so frustrated and sad that her brother died while she was waiting on the One who could have saved him.

I had a little lightbulb moment this morning though, during my devotion time. I'm hanging out here in my cold little home (cold for Californians, not you polar bears) with my Chai tea and my blankets and my journal and new pens, telling God about how hard it is to wait on Him. We've been waiting for a big answer for a long time, and I'm curious about some small questions I don't have the answers to yet, and I'm waiting for Him to hurry up and move on another thing too.

Then I went to the Word.

Sidebar: when people used to say, "Is your prayer life all about you? Do you spend the whole time telling God what you want and then go about your day without first listening to see what He as to say to you?" I would get all convicted and paniky- I couldn't figure out how to "hear" God. I'd try to sit still and just listen, but my mind would wander. I'd try to sit with my pen poised, but I would doodle. I tried to achieve some sort of silent brain, to clear it out so I could hear. Nothing. Then I realized. If I take the time to read the Scriptures like they were my conversation with God, I would be able to hear exactly what He wants me to know. It's His turn to talk, so I try not to interrupt, except to sometimes ask for clarity... "What do You mean by that, Father?" and "Is this for me?" or "Is this the answer to what I was asking earlier?" More often than not these days, I'm starting to ask for clarification less, and just thanking Him and acknowledging Him more. "Yes, I hear You Lord!" and "Wow, that was very clear, yes Sir." and "Thank You, Father." When I say "God told me this"- I rarely mean anything other than, "I asked Him, and then read this in His Word shortly thereafter." I know God speaks to different people differently, but that's what works for me...

So, anyway, I went to the Word this morning, and found a bunch of people waiting and being impatient in the book of Isaiah. I then went to my Jon Courson commentary, and discovered a Word for me there clear as day. "Who is waiting for Whom?" asked Mr. Commentator. "Are you waiting for God, or is He waiting for you?"

This question sent me into a swirl of thought. Instantly, a real-life personal illustration popped up in my head. After praying to become pregnant the second time, we waited for what felt like a really, really long time. It wasn't until our first ultrasound that we discovered that we weren't waiting on God to get good and ready to "let" us have our desires, He was waiting for us to be ready for twins!

Sometimes, God isn't necessarily waiting for us, but He is waiting on purpose. In the Bible, Elizabeth waited until she was elderly to become a mother. Perhaps God was not waiting on her to be ready to be a mother, but for her baby to be born and then grow up at the exact perfect time to provide confirmation and peace for Mary, Jesus' mother- to prepare the path for Jesus, and then to baptize Him. Had John been born in Elizabeth's first year of marriage, none of this would have lined up right.

We may never know what God's waiting for. But this morning, I think reflecting on the waiting He has caused for me in the past- all ending in perfect timing, and remembering the waiting God caused for people in the Bible- all ending in the perfect Victory of Christ, gives me a little more peace, a little more patience, and a lot more hope.

In the meantime, while I'm waiting for these things I've been waiting for, I'm going to keep asking God to prepare me for whatever answer He has. Let me be ready for whatever comes my way, let me be strong enough, wise enough, kind enough, tidy enough, holy enough. I want to be prepared for the day my prayers are answered, not sad that I wasted the time I had so graciously been given to ready myself. Then, I hope to trust that whether it's to get me prepared, or something else entirely, I don't want anything to come to me one minute sooner or later than He wills. That would be just plain foolish.

Oh, Lord! Please rule my every moment according to Your infinite knowledge of time and space, not according to mine. Use my minutes this day however You need to. Holy Spirit, when I'm tempted to become impatient, whisper in my ear the names of Elizabeth, my twin girls, and Jesus Christ. Help me remember that when I pray for Your day to be run Your way, that I have to be ready for everything to happen in Your timing. It's my hope that today I can embrace that timeline instead of whining about it. Thank You for your answers. Thank You for Your wisdom, and Thank You for your mercy. Amen.

The Lord isn’t really being slow about his promise, as some people think. No, He is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent.
2 Peter 3:9

Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love
Ephesians 4:2

May the Lord lead your hearts into a full understanding and expression of the love of God and the patient endurance that comes from Christ.
2 Thessalonians 3:5


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15 comments:

Halfmoon Girl said...

What a great post! Who is waiting for whom? Yes, very applicable to my life and prayers. We just don't have much perspective to go along with our requests, do we?

Halfmoon Girl said...

What a great post! Who is waiting for whom? Yes, very applicable to my life and prayers. We just don't have much perspective to go along with our requests, do we?

Tina said...

so true. I agree with that completely.

wasn't there an 80's song "the waiy ey ay ey ait is the hardest part".

Gretchen said...

May your prayer be my own. xxxoo

Vindiciti said...

Awesome! You summed up my exact thoughts....again.

It's really insanely hard to wait for your husband to leave Iraq and come home (two separate milestones), and even more so when all of your friends' and well, everyone you know except one person's is already here. The waiting paid off brilliantly, though! My house is gorgeous, clean, organized, decluttered, and more than I would have normally accomplished.

I can't stop praising him for making me hurry up and wait, and for the return notice phone call I received when I had finished just about all of it!!

Jenster said...

Girrrrrrrl! Do you know one of the ways I hear God? By reading your blog! Seriously!

So glad I know you and you know Him and I know Him and you know me!

ann said...

Great post! I loved your sidenote about how you hear God~awesome!!

DidiLyn said...

God is being patient with me today, Amber, and you are being his tool in my life. I appreiciate your (His) message today. I had to link you on up in my post today. THANK YOU!

Chel - An Abiding Branch said...

OH MY! Well said. I was held captive by this good word, thank you for sharing! I spent three years studying on Being Still and Knowing He was God and waiting and listening. I wrote a lesson and it was taught 3 times before I was able to speak on it as a key note. I knew then why I had to wait to teach that precious message. God is always right on time!
Chel

Aspiemom said...

Thanks for this great post and reminder. I've always been pretty good in the patience area, but I may hogtie my husband and force him to read your blog. hehe!

Fran said...

Our lives are parallel right now. I think you know how much I needed this right now. Thank you. I want to be ready when the word comes.

Have a wonderful day!
Hugs,
Fran

Alana said...

Wise words...it is so hard to be patient for God's timing. Truly!

The Daily Bee said...

I don't comment enough, but I love your devotions. =) I've been thinking on this same thing these past few days... waiting is so hard yet the rewards are far beyond all the time we spent fretting and couting the "minutes".

care-in said...

Thank you for letting God speak through you. You are a blessing. I am playing the waiting game and God is using people to remind me that God is preparing me for something through this waiting.

Sing4joy said...

Timely and well written as usual.