It was only the second time in my life that I was absolutely sure that God was speaking to me. Into a heart broken by betrayal and haunted with fear He whispered promise. With every part of my being I needed to hear from God, but I did not expect to hear what He had to say.
No single word is more profoundly difficult to grasp.
I found myself there on the balcony watching the waves of the sea roll into the dark abyss…wondering. What was this thing that God was calling me to? How long would I have to wait? There were far more questions than answers, but there was one firm promise to stand on. It came from the story of Lazarus. Despite knowing that his friend Lazarus was ill, Jesus did not rush to his aid. Instead he arrived three days after Lazarus had died. In her deep agony, Martha plead with Jesus as to why he had waited so long. His response was to ask her to believe, “for if you believe you will see the glory of God.” (John 11:1-40)
In that moment, the crashing of the waves seemed a little bit softer. The rain, a bit sweeter. For if I believe…I WILL see the glory of God.
As beautiful and amazing as the promise was, there was still a gut wrenching word in that promise. WAIT. Not just any kind of wait, but the wait 3-days-longer-than-you-can-possibly-bear kind of wait. I’ll never forget the tears in that moment. A hope, beautifully broken. Yet, peace so quiet over a raging storm.
That was 2 years, three weeks and 2 days ago. A lot of rain has fallen on those days. Sometimes, rain so hard that I could barely see. I often found myself left with wonder. Will it ever end? I would question in unison with the words of the Psalmist.
How long, Lord? Will you forget me forever?
How long will you hide your face from me? Psalm 13:1
In the dark of the waiting it’s hard to believe. God seems but a distant hope. Minutes seem like hours. Days seem like years. While the clock keeps ticking, the beat of a broken heart ticks slower and slower. It’s hard to believe that He is allowing this. That He is using the beat of this very moment to define who I am. To mold my wretchedness into strength.
I read victorious stories of those who have gone before, but fail to find likeness in my circumstances. I think I must surely be the only one who has ever felt this. And while sometimes the words of those around me confirms that, His Word contradicts.
For, Noah waited 55-75 years for the flood to come, 40 days of rain, and almost another year before the water to receded.
Abraham and Sarah waited 100 years to have a child.
Moses and the Israelites wandered 40 years in the desert awaiting the promised land.
David hid in caves for about 15 years before finally taking the throne for which he had been anointed.
Hannah and Leah desperately waited years to have a child.
Jesus waited 30 years before beginning His ministry.
The Bible is not short on stories of waiting. But it’s hard to find an exact pattern. The wait is rarely the same length or circumstance, but the result… is always consistent. What He has said He will do..He will do. The promise will be fulfilled.
God is not man, that he should lie, or a son of man, that he should change his mind. Has he said, and will he not do it? Or has he spoken, and will he not fulfill it? Numbers 23:19
Though the waiting is long and the heart is heavy, I am not alone. Many have gone before me. Many more will wait with me. I must wait with great promise and nothing but faith. If I tried to pretend that the wait was easy, I know you wouldn’t believe it. Let’s face it, waiting for the mechanic to change the oil in my car is hard. Waiting years for God to move in my mountain of circumstances? Simply excruciating.
Or is it? Maybe the truth is that God is already doing 1000 things that I can not see. The truth is that waiting is a lot more of a position of absolute faith than a position of absolute control.
Sometimes He asks me to sit still. Sometimes I must move. One step at a time. For the grace is given only for this moment. Not one moment too soon. Like Noah, I don’t know how long I will wait to see the promise fulfilled. But I know that God has laid every step before me. I know that He is faithful to every promise.
Each new morning brings the same question, what can I do with today, Lord? For, I need only the tiniest amount of faith to make it through the next 5 minutes.
Your turn~ What have you learned during this series? What has touched your heart the most? Do you have a favorite verse about waiting?
Read the other posts from this series: