What do you and I do when we’re asked to wait? If it’s for a latte, it depends on the time of day, huh? What happens though, when we ask the bigger questions:
Is God actually doing anything in my life? Will He ever? What do I do while I wait?
Have you asked any of those recently?
Waiting on God implies developing new perspective on what God is doing while we wait on Him. Simply put, His activity and His character.
In a NY Times article a “waiting expert” shares why waiting is so difficult. Richard Larson, an MIT operations researcher, is the world’s leading expert on waiting in lines. Really?! You chose to study that?! Nevertheless, he tells us about the psychology behind waiting.
According to Larson the length of our waiting is not as important as what we’re doing while we wait. Essentially, we tolerate “occupied” time (walking to baggage claim) far better than “unoccupied” time (standing in line). Give us something to do while we wait, and the wait becomes endurable. This is why, so often, waiting on God feels like unoccupied time.
We wait, but what is really happening behind the scenes of our life? These are the threshold moments. The moments where we stand at what we can control and what God is calling us into. The cocktail of fear, faith, insecurity, and hope.
After a loved one “came out” to me, I told them I believe if you continue to go down this road, you will miss out on God’s best for you. Jesus doesn’t condemn you (John 3:17) and neither do I. He longs to heal you and lead you. I want nothing more than for you to welcome and follow Jesus. I got home that night, in tears. Feeling directionless, powerless, and sad.
Especially fearful and compassionately concerned that this person would never want Jesus as their greatest hope. Then…..God spoke. I was reading a book called The Land Between. The people of Israel had to become the people of promise before they entered the land of promise. And God asked me, ‘would you be ok if in 40-years this person came to know me?’
I said, ‘God, I can’t, but you can. So would you help me wait faithfully.’ Let that marinate for a moment. As it has been said before, “Who you’re becoming in the waiting is just as important as what you’re waiting for.”
Then, if that wasn’t enough, God has been challenging me with……..this. What if I don’t see them come to know Jesus in my lifetime? Sheeesh. Wow. What led to that thought? Hebrews 11:39.
“Yet all of these, though they were commended for their faith, did not receive what was promised.”
Faith, in waiting, is the unoccupied hand. Faith is fixed on Jesus. Only Jesus is powerful enough to save us from the brokenness within, and the only one loving to want to. And, that’s where the author of Hebrews 11 goes in chapter 12. This is one of my favorite verses.
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith.”
Back to our thematic questions. Is God doing anything in my life? Will He ever? What do I do while I wait? While we wait, we fix our eyes on Jesus. We lay down the encumbrances and coils that so “easily entangle”. We look up and lay down.
Linger for a moment longer than you usually do on these blog posts. Fix your eyes on those verses above. Therefore……instead of worry, anxiety, anger, lust, etc. Read Hebrews 12:1-2 a few times, slowly. What comes into bold print for you?
The Christian hope looks back to the risen Jesus in order to look forward. We look up & lay down.
While growing up in Arlington Heights, IL, it wasn’t until the start of my senior year did I start to wonder if Jesus was worth considering. For me, it took the intellectual, communal, and personal components to come together to say – yes – to Him. I like to say He captured the restlessness of my soul and like a guitar restrung my heart with the cords of eternity and it hasn’t gone back since.
Shortly after coming to know Jesus as my greatest hope and reality, my father died. Since then, I’ve taken great comfort in Corrie Ten Boom’s words, “If you look at the world, you’ll be distressed. If you look within, you’ll be depressed. If you look at God, you’ll be at rest.”
Then, not long after that, a family member came out to me. For the first time this dimension of life – spirituality and sexuality – wasn’t an abstract concept, this was and is a person. After attending to them with grace and truth, an odd phenomenon kept happening to me, or has it been for something? Individuals would continually trust me with their questions, wounds, and curiosities about their sexuality. At this point, it’s climbed to 15+. From there, I’ve invested the better part of eight years being engaged with individuals and immersed in the dizzying array of literature on these areas of our personhood.
I’ve found Elizabeth Elliot’s words to have great bearing on our cultural moment: “Faith doesn’t eliminate questions, but faith knows where to take them.” Two prayers that have grounded and guided my life are: “I long to have faith and obedience like those I see in the Scriptures, and I long to preach the gospel to the nations.”
Those are my life’s aims. Among my love of books, reflection, and nurturing meaningful relationships, I enjoy good coffee, jazz music, golf, snowboarding, the movies, pizza (pepperoni), cooking, the mountains, and the beach as well as traveling.
I hold an MDiv from Denver Seminary, and I hope to gain more clarity on pursuing a PhD in the coming years.
I’m humbled and honored to join the WGA staff and contribute to the on-going space they are curating for every person, every story, and every beautiful and broken aspect of our human experience.
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