Hearing God’s word over your life and actually living it out are two vastly different things.
Many of us hear His heart and mind, and even embrace it; but somewhere along the way we let go of it and settle for paths of our own making and choosing.
I’m not one who’s quick to pass judgment. I can’t afford to. God knows there’s been plenty a moment when I was ready to just flip the whole table over and let the chips fall where they may.
The Christian life is not for the faint of heart. If you’re looking for the easy route, this is by far not it. But on the flip side, this is the one road that guarantees you a life that can withstand the test of time.
But how do we get from where we are to where we want to be with some semblance of wholeness?
“If who I am is what I have, and what I have is lost, then who am I?”
– Excerpt from my high school journal
Waiting is made more bearable when we understand why we’re waiting. An expectant woman understands it takes 9 months for her baby to be ready to be out in the world. Her waiting is one of expectation and excitement. She has every reason to be hopeful that at the end of her waiting, she’ll be holding a happy, healthy baby in her hands. So she waits.
But when we don’t get it? When we don’t see the point of being in the in-between? When we’ve done everything we know to do and everything we don’t but still (seemingly) nothing? When time has come and gone and still here we remain?
“Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life.”
– Proverbs 13:12 ESV
See, it’s not really the waiting that unnerves us so. It’s the fear. Fear that all our effort will amount to nothing. Fear that we’ve been duped into waiting a waste of time that yields nothing worthwhile. Fear that we’re losing out on something that we’ll never get back. Fear that others are forging forward and we’re being left behind. Fear of a disappointment so deep that we’ll never be able to recover from it. Fear that when all is said and done, we’ll have nothing to show for our waiting, for our in between. Fear that maybe we’re doomed to wait forever.
It’s a fear borne out of lack of sight. We can’t see the value in our waiting and in the journey in-between where we are and where we want to be.
And the best way I know to dismantle fear of the unknown (darkness) is to shine the brightest light I know into it – the truth of God.
Why does a good God make us wait?
The unsaid here is that a good God shouldn’t make us wait because there’s nothing good about it. Inherent in this statement is the assumption that there is no good to be found in waiting. Yet, isn’t He the same God who created time, who spread out His creation over time when He could have done it all in a single moment.
Why does a good God make us wait? Maybe because there’s beauty to be discovered in the wait; beauty He longs for us to behold. Because when we behold it, when we behold Him, we become more like Him. Maybe there’s more to this than meets the eye. Maybe you need to take a few steps back and consider your waiting with the curiosity of a child rather than the cynicism of an adult. A childlike heart ready to embrace the unknown and learn something new discovers far more than an adult mind that thinks they know everything.
Why is God keeping this from me?
You have been denied something that is good for you now, echoes the unsaid. But what if you’re not ready now – you will be in the end, but not just yet. Car keys are a good thing but that quickly become a bad idea in the hands of a two-year old.
The goodness of a thing isn’t just based on its nature but when and how it’s received. Maybe you need to reconsider just how ready you are for what you’re waiting for. Maybe you need to say no to the temptation of self-evaluation and trust that God isn’t tyrannical and sadistic when He keeps you waiting. Maybe He wants you to see that which you would otherwise be oblivious to if you already had what you’re longing for.
Why is God punishing me?
When your understanding of God is that of a carrot-stick master, then everything you get is as a result of your good deeds and everything that is withheld from you is a punishment for your shortcomings. Yet the very ethos of Christianity is undeserved love and unmerited favour.
Maybe you need a re-introduction to your Father as one who prunes when things are good not one who punishes when things are bad. Where you see for yourself and know to be true that when He cuts things off and if He holds out on you, only good can come out of it. Where you stop to consider that maybe He wants this for you more than even you want it for yourself. Where you realize that when your accomplishments don’t qualify you for His love, your shortcomings can’t disqualify you from it either. And therein is the Good News of your life.
My life is incomplete without this thing I’m waiting for.
But is it really? It’s the unwitting treachery we commit on ourselves when the things we think we have in actual sense have us.
When the table between you and God is empty, except for you and God, then your motives become truly clear. Then you know what brought you to the table and what’s keeping you there.
Maybe you need to confront the possibility that you want what you’re waiting for more than the God who’s been beside you all along. Maybe you need to consider that your waiting is actually meant to teach you how to keep what you’re waiting for. Because what’s the point of getting it only to lose it because you had no clue how to steward it? Maybe you need to appreciate that this empty table is a chance for you and God to get to know each other in a new way that has nothing to do with things and everything to do with it just being you and Him.
Often times the waiting gives us time to prepare for what we are going to get at the end of it. But it’s easy to get so fixated on the end goal that we lose sight of all the treasures to behold along the way.
What if the outcome is secondary to who we become as we journey towards it?
What if instead of waiting to get to the light at the end of tunnel we started to unravel and discover the light already within us? The Father of Lights who fills us with that which is Light.
As our weary souls long for that moment when we’ll finally – finally!! – be able to proudly say…
Look at me, I did this.
Look at me, I made it.
His quiet whisper nudges us to stillness…
Look to Me, you’re priceless.
It’s the simple truth that causes every chain of errant expectation from within and without to break away. That makes every step forward in our waiting lighter than the last because fear no longer clings tightly to our shoulders making us gasp for every breath. That bubbles forth unspeakable joy because the light shining out from deep within us wholly eclipses the dark unknown all around us.
If who I am is who He says I am, then in every time and season, I am complete in Him. I am fulfilled and satisfied by Him regardless of what’s on the table between us and what’s not. Because it was never what was on that table that brought us to the table and what stayed on the table that kept us there.
It’s always been Him being Him.
Me being me.
Us being together.
Forever and always.