I recently heard this quote: “Hard is hard, but hard is not bad.” One of the hardest things in life is waiting. Waiting for the stop light to change. Waiting for the winter to pass. Waiting for an intended outcome. Waiting for healing from surgery. Waiting for an ache to stop. Waiting on the Lord for next steps…
Waiting is not bad. One of my favorite books is THE HEART OF A SERVANT LEADER by C. John Miller. It is a compilation of pastoral letters that “Jack” wrote encouraging Christian leaders to fulfill their primary role to be servants. And often, that role involves remembering that God’s plan is bigger than whatever pain comes into our lives. The call of God is for us to stand by in childlike trust, knowing that waiting produces godly character. Psalm 25:21 says, “Let integrity and uprightness preserve me, For I wait for You.”
I’ve always been most distressed when I am “rushing” in my spirit, not just my body. Wrapped up in squeezing the blood out of time. Full of myself, thinking I can get so much done and that I must. Creating my own overwhelming dance card. Filling up every minute to a frenzy. It may not look like it on the outside, but it is crushing on the inside. And why?
As I overload the schedule and rely on my own strength and competence, I forget that God is in charge. I forget to care for others in the wake of my self-focus. I miss out on joy and freedom in Christ. I make my own prison trying to force things to happen. Yet, when I recognize the God Who is working His often unseen plan through my energies, thoughts, decisions, and circumstances, then I can stop rushing and do some good waiting.
C. John Miller says: “Praise grows out of God-given perception of reality, a seeing that God is infinitely good and infinitely good to me in Jesus Christ in every circumstance. To have that kind of praise, you need to take time, to wait upon the Lord in prayer and meditate upon His greatness and grace and the might of His kingdom…Praise Christ because He has worked to give you a self-forgetting love” for those strugglers whose paths intersect with yours. In the same letter to a struggling missionary, he says, “…The Spirit may be released in a new way when work is done with less haste and pressure.”
James 4:13-15 says, “Come now, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit’ – yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, ‘If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.”
Good waiting isn’t meant to bring life to a screeching halt. God will reveal His providential will of control in hindsight. We will look back and see that God was always applying His purposes to the story of our lives. His movement will always be in the background in ways we cannot see in the present. However, we are still called to make responsible decisions, remembering that there is good sense in making wise adult choices while having the faith as small as a mustard seed at the same time. This is not about idleness, but about living fully. Live fully by dedicating your life plans to a Sovereign God Who can be trusted to guide you in these. And be intentional about leaving room in your heart and mind for prayerful waiting on God in the midst.
Psalm 39:7 says, “And now Lord, what do I wait for? My hope is in You.”
Photo credit: Ro Seaman