It’s been more than a week since the 31 day writing challenge has been completed. And I’m finally sitting down to write again.
It’s kind of funny how I’ve always seen myself as a writer but never take time to write. There’s always so many things to do that writing sits on the back burner, like a lonely pot of beans, waiting to be stirred and seasoned.
I didn’t really think I’d wait this long to write again, but life sort of took over. Plus, I kind of needed to decompress. Writing daily, while freeing, is grueling.
I wasn’t really waiting for inspiration. I have several series of posts I’d love to put together. Sometimes I think I have too many ideas. One of my ideas I decided to wait on. One, because I want it to be done right and two, because I have too much going on to get it done right in the timing that it would need to happen in. And three, my gracious friend who’s going to write the series with me was very understanding that it’s better to wait. How’s that for vague?
And while my mind is always spinning, always thinking and struggling to settle, and life is always moving ahead too fast and too far, I’m also waiting. Painfully, and faithfully…waiting.
Maybe this post is coming on the heels of a difficult day of dealing with the emotion of waiting. That’s probably not the best time to write about something. But I’ve chosen to write and tell the stories that I feel God is asking me to write and tell. And writing not only helps me process it all, but to preach to myself.
I’ve hinted at some of the hard financial times we’re dealing with right now. Truthfully, it’s difficult to write about them because it feels like I’m asking for something and I’m not. But it’s my life and in order to be real and authentic, I have to write about them.
I guess there’s always a season of waiting in our lives, sometimes it’s shorter than others. We wait in line to check out at a store, we wait for the light to change to green, we wait for our favorite band to release a new song, we wait for our kids to fall asleep, we wait for our spouse to come home from work, we wait for a text from a friend, we wait for the service company to return our call, we wait for the doctor to finally see us.
We wait. And wait. And wait.
I don’t know about you, but I find with the pace of life, my patience wears thin. Some days, the simplest and smallest amount of waiting feels so frustrating. I find that I’ve bought into our society’s notion that we need to have the answer now. We thank Google for the incredible amount of information at our fingertips and yet the speed at which we move and demand an answer has affected our ability to wait and be patient.
Am I the only one who struggles to wait patiently?
You would think that waiting on God would get easier. That the more my faith is built, the easier I find the waiting to be. I wish I could say that’s true. Instead, I find that after waiting on God for such a long time for answers, it starts to feel harder and harder. Because truthfully, I want answers now. When circumstances are bleak, and time is of the essence, waiting can feel excruciating.
I often find myself thinking of how I would have survived if I had been born in another time of history. I love reading stories of life before we had communication the way we do now. When you might wait long painful weeks or even months to receive a letter from a loved one. When you might not know for years whether a family member was safe or had arrived where he was going. When the world didn’t seem so small and connections across thousands of miles seemed impossible. Maybe they had more patience then because they knew they would have to wait. But I imagine it was still difficult.
Waiting on God is supposed to be so simple. Having faith, trusting that God is bigger than our circumstances and sees us and knows us and loves us, sounds so beautiful. Taking a step of faith and doing what He asks us to do is exciting. Downright scary, but exhilarating and freeing at the same time. For me, following God’s call in my life to be home with my children, stepping out in faith and leaving my job almost 2 1/2 years ago was an act of obedience. And truthfully, I knew it would be full of sacrifice and hard times. I knew I’d have to trust God like never before in my life. I knew we wouldn’t have answers overnight.
But the waiting. The waiting.
In this time, I’ve seen God move over and over. I’ll start to feel like we see the clearing and a new season is just a whisper away time and time again. Thinking that surely this month things will change. And then weeks pass, and months pass, and still. Nothing. No sign of anything changing. Waves keep crashing and life storms ahead. High hopes are dashed. It seems prayers aren’t just unanswered, but go unheard as well. Life starts spiraling and spinning and the wait continues.
When I think of obedience and waiting, there are many saints that come to mind. But I think about Noah. Crazy, crazy, Noah. The one who built an ark simply because God told him to. The story of Noah is one of the first stories told in the Bible. I wonder if it’s such an early story because it shows just how far we’ve come in our ability to wait on God. Noah must have been one patient man. While it’s not clear how long it took him to actually build the ark, estimates show anywhere from 10-74 years.
I don’t know about you, but the thought of waiting just one more day than I already have is enough to drive me half-crazy. What did Noah think? Building the ark, day after week after month after year. Did he wonder when this rain and flood were going to show up? I would imagine that blisters, sunburn, aching muscles, splinters and just overall fatigue would have taken over at some point. I mean, building a 450x75x45 foot boat with your bare hands and who knows what kinds of tools? I might have given up after twenty feet.
The thing is, Noah didn’t know what rain and a flood would look like. He didn’t know the outcome. All he knew was that God had asked Him to do something. To build this ark, to take his family and the animals, and food, and to trust Him with the end. He carried his faith that God was who He said he was. His faith that God was moving, even when he couldn’t see.
Waiting on God can be a complicated thing. You don’t want to sit around and do nothing and just expect Him to do something. Sometimes He’s waiting for us to make a move and it’s a dance of us moving and Him moving and we see His goodness.
Sometimes, though, we try to force God to move. We try to figure out how it’s going to work out and we do things while we’re waiting and try in our human way to make things make sense. Meanwhile, we’re just in God’s way and we need to move out of the way so He can do His thing. We need to see His goodness, regardless of whether we actually see what He’s doing or not.
If we’re doing everything ourselves on our own strength, we’re not giving Him the space to move. And then we get the credit, rather than Him.
Sometimes, I feel like our wait is a bit supernatural. We’re waiting for God to move in a way that the only way we can explain the outcome is that He was in control. We’re in this place of feeling like we’ve done what we can and now what? We keep thinking we need to do more. Pray more. Search more. Ask more. Hope more. Believe more.
Or maybe we should just be still. And keep waiting. And let Him fight for us and keep trusting He’s working and moving.
Not knowing the end of this season of waiting is so hard. It really is. I won’t mince words and make it sound like a beautiful thing because it’s hard. Period.
But one thing I’ve learned in this season of waiting. I’m learning what it means to walk by faith. We stepped out in obedience. We’re not looking back. We’re walking this thing out, one hard step after another on what feels like a dry and dusty path. Our feet have failed. But we know He is with us. Even when we can’t see Him, even when it feels like He’s not there, in faith, we know He is. We know He’s working, even though we can’t see. And while we don’t know why the wait is so long and painful, we still wait.
I know I’m not alone in waiting. During this time, I’ve seen friends wait for different things. Waiting for a home, waiting for a pregnancy, waiting for a baby, waiting for a new job, waiting for healing. Waiting just for answers or reassurance. Waiting for financial provision. Waiting for answers in everyday living.
Some aren’t waiting anymore. Some still wait with us.
Maybe you too, dear reader, find yourself waiting.
There’s a verse in Hebrews that has helped to keep me focused when I want to stray off the path. Chapter 2 verse 8 starts with…”In putting everything under him, God left nothing that is not subject to him. Yet at present, we do not see everything subject to him.”
That’s because we live in a fallen world. This world is not our forever home. But we live here now, and so we walk out our lives.
Verse 9 is what gets me…”But we see Jesus…”
I don’t even read the rest of the verse, to be honest. Because that’s the part I need. Even though I don’t see things lined up. Even though circumstances don’t make sense and I don’t see the end and I don’t see what is happening in the unseen realms. I still see Jesus.
Because walking by faith is just life. We walk in faith whether we are in a hard season or a good season. We walk in faith because we see Jesus. And that’s what keeps me walking. Day after day after day.