relentless journey

When Wait Is The Answer

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I was deeply impacted by a sermon that my pastor, Pete Wilson, gave the week before Easter this past year. I have listened to it several times since, most recently today. Most of us know the resurrection story of Jesus. That he died a sacrificial death on the cross and rose to defeat death three days later. It is the foundation of our faith. In his sermon, Pete talked about Friday, the day Jesus died. And that though it is a dark day, that we can reconcile it as being His purpose, and the weight that He accepted in exchange for us. He talked about Sunday, the day we celebrate his triumphant defeat of death. But what he addresses here is the time in between. Saturday. A day of waiting. It is something we have all experienced at some point in our life. Maybe you are experiencing it now.

Have you ever felt like life was cruising along? Then…

WAIT.

SILENCE.

We aren’t entirely comfortable with this idea, are we? It implies we have lost control. Or that we may actually have to question the things we believe. It’s where we spend a good amount of our lives though. Dreams hardly ever come to pass overnight. Difficult seasons have a way of dragging on. We hurry up, and we wait. I love what Pete said, “We want God’s hand but we don’t want his calendar. We want God’s presence but we don’t want His timing.” And by love it, sometimes I hate it. Feel me? I know you do. I know because in the waiting we can feel moments of hopelessness. We develop stretch marks and growing pains. We can feel our character being shaped, but we kind of squirm in the process.

Yet we can cling to this truth. “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.(Romans 8:28)

Surrendering to this frees us up to have hope, to pray for, and work towards our desires, our hopes and our dreams. But this is where the difficulty lies for me, and maybe it does for you too. The idea of waiting can be difficult to accept because it implies that something is being done to us, maybe even in spite of our efforts or living inside of God’s will. Or maybe our own fear is holding us back. It may even convince us to stand still or hide out until the waiting is over. We seek answers in God’s word, which can even leave us conflicted. On one hand, God longs to give us the desires of our hearts, yet on the other, His ways are higher than our ways. This begs the obvious question. My desires or God’s way? Are they same thing? I play this out in my head often. It is a difficult dichotomy because both truths are straight from His word. That can mess with my head just a little bit.

At this point, you can either think I am crazy or you can totally relate. If you are the latter, which I presume many of you are, then take a deep breath with me for a second. That paragraph, the one just above this one, is a rough scenario of what is goes wrong during the waiting game. When life is firing on all cylinders, I can tend to strut along as if my best laid plans have all worked out just fine, thank you very much.

But then, WAIT.

Stop the train.

Ok great, could you let me know why, and for how long?

Or if perhaps this isn’t meant to happen at all?

Then.

SILENCE.

I’m not saying it’s bad to question or to press in during the waiting game. But I am saying it is unhealthy to obsess over it. At the end of the day, when I feel my mind wandering, I go back to this. I believe God is a God of order and He is very clear here, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment.” (Matthew 22:37-38). This means exactly what it says, love HIM AT ALL TIMES. In good times and in bad. It means love even though you may be hurting or confused. It means love even when His love feels like tough love. It means accepting that God cares more about who we are becoming than which piece of the American dream that we are checking off our list. It means trusting that His ways are truly higher than ours, even when our calendar isn’t sinking with His.

I’ve shared one area of my life in which there has been a whole lot of waiting and silence. I don’t make it the main thing, because honestly, I am aware of all that God has done in my life and through my life. I am aware I would be nothing and would have nothing if it weren’t for Him. It doesn’t mean that trust always comes easy, but if we  choose to trust instead of chasing clarity, we may find more than what we’re looking for. Peace that surpasses all understating. Rest for a weary soul. When wait is the answer, choose to Love the Lord your God. His ways are truly higher than ours. Embrace the process and who he is shaping you to be.