Fun Past Time
Waiting. Are you as good at it as I am? Waiting is a part of every day. We wait for mundane things — the check out at the grocery store, the kids to go back to school, customer service to answer our phone call. We wait for medium sized things — our niggly hip pain to subside, to hear back whether or not we got the new job, to become pregnant. And we wait for BIG, potentially derailing things — for the telling results of the PET scan, for a child to wake up from a coma, for a loved one, with no quality of life, to go home to be with Jesus.
Waiting is as certain as death and taxes.
From my vantage point, waiting is hard because ….
- 1. I am not in control
- 2. I must pause
- 3. My future is uncertain
I guess as a work in process I shouldn’t be surprised that each of those reasons is ME centered. Even my first question (isn’t waiting a fun past time?) suggests that waiting is “just passing time”. In other words, waiting is completely non productive and feels like a waste of time.
From God’s vantage point
Here’s a thought… What if the bible is true? And God’s ways are perfect. What if God really does know better than I do? And God is taking control out of my hands, for my sake and for His greater purpose. Maybe… just maybe it’s worthwhile to view waiting from God’s perspective.
The niggly hip pain example above is for real. My hip has bugged me for more than six weeks now. I have followed doctors orders, faithfully done my exercises, resisted the tennis court, and prayed. It has improved, THANK GOD. But it is not 100%. I’m waiting. In the waiting, I’m sometimes grouchy. Pain is that unwanted constant reminder that things are not right. I’m frustrated because my routine has been disrupted. I’ve had to say no to things I love and deserve (I indignantly say to myself!) … hiking, tennis, even walking a distance. And to be honest, it feels as if I’m wasting time. While, the doctors and therapists agree this is temporary, to some degree my future is uncertain.
But, the interruption, while I’m reluctant to admit it, has enabled and encouraged a new joy. I like to write. I’ve had time to figure out at least some of the technology of WordPress — which for an anti tech person is no small thing. A new routine that includes more time with God has surfaced… not because I should, but because I can.
Loosen your grip
If your waiting falls into the BIG, potentially derailing category, perhaps you’re thinking my example isn’t that relevant. Here’s the thing that is relevant. My hip pain forced me to loosen my grip on my life. No… I have not liked it nor have I preferred it. The niggly hip was just the first step, but it demanded my attention and has slowed my agenda.
This faith walk doesn’t work if I say… Ok GOD, you can have my hip and I’ll take the rest. With this hip experience, I must concede once again, that He is in control, of all of it. As He accepts my surrender, maybe for the thousandth time, I slowly hand over ALL of my hopes and dreams. Painstakingly, with intention and purpose, He is chiseling my character. Chiseling that is painful but rewarding.
In God’s economy, waiting is never a “past time”. Waiting is purposeful. GOD USES EVERYTHING including our times of waiting.
Romans 8:28 28 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.
While I wait, God works
1. God demonstrates His control
Proverbs 19:21 Many are the plans in a person’s heart,
but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.
Learning to live with a loose grip on my life is not only easier but better. Self sufficiency, while applauded by our culture, is a heavy burden. That compulsion to constantly consider every what if is not only exhausting but, according to Proverbs 19:21, is futile.
2. God uses the time for needed training
Daily dependence, forced at first, can establish a habit and then even a craving. During the pause, I practice not running ahead of Him. My prayer time is enhanced learning to speak less, but listen more. During the pause, God is preparing me. It does not mean that I am idle. I think of David, waiting to become King. While he waited, what did he do? He did what he knew to do… he tended sheep. During your wait, keep on keeping on. In other words, go into your pasture and tend your sheep. Do what you can, not what you can’t.
3. God builds my trust by providing hope and comfort
Jeremiah 29:11 11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
Jeremiah 29:11 is a favorite truth especially during those BIG, potentially derailing waiting times. The more time I spend with Him, the more real this truth becomes. And while I still don’t understand His ways, I know that my future is bright, ONLY because He is in it.
I don’t know what my future holds, but I know who holds my future.
Finally, and with great sensitivity, if your wait is for something BIG and potentially derailing, I empathize. If I know about it, I have been praying. I remember several BIG, potentially derailing waits in my own life. In the thick of it, you cannot see the forest through the trees. But with complete confidence I know HE CAN. Not only can He see the forest through the trees, He is Lord over the forest and the trees. And that same all powerful, all knowing God wants to carry you through the uncertainty. Let Him.
When you cannot trace God’s hand, you must trust God’s character.