As you may or may not have gathered from my previous blog posts, I have been in a long period of waiting. I almost feel like given the amount of posts I’ve written about this topic or posts where I’ve expressed this desire that I should probably start a “waiting series” of blog posts or I should re-title this blog, “The Lament of a Longing Christian.”
Meh. I’m not sure if it has as good of a ring to it as Chicken and Bliss, but I digress.
As previously mentioned, I am waiting and have been waiting for a desire of mine to come into fruition for a while — over two years to be exact. Actually, I think this is the longest I’ve had to wait for anything, but I know God is doing a great work in us when we wait and here’s why.
We live in a society that loves instant gratification. Our society can get information now literally by the swipe of their fingers and can receive instant feedback from friends rather than having to wait until they are available for a phone call or wait until a letter is sent. We can get almost anything we want way quicker than we would’ve originally been able to and I think that has made our society quite impatient.
I don’t know about you, but I can easily get irritated having to wait even for the buses in the morning. If the bus is even a few minutes late, I’m calling or tweeting their social Twitter handle, asking them why the bus hasn’t arrived yet. Even waiting for food can be a challenge when I’m hungry. If I am hangry (hungry and angry because I’m hungry), I can be a very unpleasant person to be around because all I would do is complain about how the food hasn’t arrived yet. God has also been working on me in this area.
However, on my way home from work today, I felt the Holy Spirit reminding why waiting is good and even (gasp) purposeful. That even in our periods of longing for things to happen and come to pass, there’s purpose in that.
When we’re waiting for something we really want, whether it’s marriage or a job, and it hasn’t happened yet, it can feel like torture sometimes. It’s because you want this thing so bad and regardless of how much you try to bring up the topic or marriage or how many jobs you apply to nothing is happening. The mountain is not moving as fast as you think it should, despite how often you’ve prayed. It can be discouraging and even frustrating at times, but that’s because we’re essentially killing our fleshly desires. Our fleshly desire is to get it and get it now, but in waiting we realize that doesn’t always happen. In waiting, we are not only learning patience (woo-hoo for fruits of the Spirit), but we’re also dying to our flesh because what we want isn’t being fulfilled. In dying to our flesh, we’re developing more in our walk and learning how to relinquish more of ourselves to Christ, so He can increase in us. We’re so used to getting everything so quickly, that when we don’t our flesh is like “what in the world?”
For example, say if you really want a car. You really, really want a car, but God, who sees beyond what we see, knows that if you got that car right now you wouldn’t appreciate it. You’re so used to getting things that you want WHEN you want it, that in getting a car you wouldn’t take care of it, or you’d drive it haphazardly because you’re buying that particular model just to be seen by others. So, He instructs you to wait. You get impatient, so you decide that you’re going to get a car anyway, so you go to dealership and can’t find a car that you want. You go to God, pray again for Him to bring it to pass and He instructs you to wait. You wait for a while, get impatient again and decide you’re just gonna buy a car anyway. You compromise, not waiting for the one you really wanted, only to crash it the third day after having it.
I don’t know if this is a good example or if this resonates with anyone, but I get like that sometimes. If you’re a control-freak like me, it’s hard. Sometimes, I am very impatient and even as I remain in this season currently, there have been times, even this week, when I wanted to take things into my own hands. But I’ve been reminded that if God has us waiting, it’s because He sees fit. I am reminded that if I try to take things into my own hands, it’ll fail and I could miss out on something God was trying to teach me. For example, with the car situation, what if God was planning on leading you to purchase a brand new car just a few weeks later for a price way cheaper than what you paid for the clunker you crashed? What if God hasn’t moved that mountain yet because He has something way better in store for you?
Even now, we’re so used to having the internet, which allows us to get information as quickly as we want it that we forget that there are many people that don’t have it. Sometimes, it’s so easy to see the internet and other things we get quickly as something we’re entitled to.
I am writing this to you, but I am still learning this myself. That even in this time of waiting, however painful it may be sometimes, God is doing something in us. He’s stripping us of our confidence in ourselves, our situations, and our idea that we can control things. He’s tearing away our sense of entitlement that is often fed by instant gratification. He’s crucifying our flesh, but He’s changing our hearts. In some other cases, He’s protecting us and preparing our hearts. Who knows? Maybe it is in God’s will for you to receive that thing, but He still has work to do in you before it’s meant for you to receive it.
Is it hard? Of course. Even as I am writing this, I am struggling with this myself. However, I want you to know that your waiting isn’t in vain and it isn’t purposeless. Sure, there may be others around you getting that job or getting engaged that you may perceive as people that haven’t been waiting as long as you have for it, but it’s not purposeless and what God’s doing in you may require a period of waiting and preparation that it did not require for someone else. Or maybe they weren’t listening to God at all and simply moved without Him.
Think about it, if we were to get everything we wanted when we wanted, we wouldn’t appreciate it and probably wouldn’t develop much. We’d take it for granted. If Abraham and Sarah had children when they wanted to, would they have drawn as close as they did to God?
God sees beyond what we can see and as much as it hurts sometimes to long as we do, we have no idea what He’s protecting us from and preparing us for.
It’s not happening as fast as we think, but by waiting we are fasting. As we’re being forced to wait for something we really want or not receiving something we want, we’re fasting. By not receiving something we want when we really want it, we’re essentially dying our flesh and killing it off. Our flesh is being crucified and we’re realizing that because we have no control over making this happen (successfully), we have to trust Jesus.
We have to simply wait, remain obedient to Him, and trust.
My invitation and prayer for all of us is that we find the strength to do just that as we wait. That as we wait and we feel our flesh dying each time we cry out for our prayers to be answered or each time we feel the longing more intensely than the night before, that we may trust Him. That our hearts may find joy, even in the midst of the pain of longing, feeling a weight being lifted off of our shoulders as we rest in the arms of the loving Jesus, who is always in control. There is great joy in serving Jesus and I am grateful for the ways God has been showing me that and the people He’s been using to encourage me in that. I pray that we may all consistently find joy as we wait in Him and serving His kingdom.