I hate waiting. Yet, I find that a good portion of my life is spent waiting. Waiting for appointments. Waiting on children to finish a class. Waiting on my husband to come home from work. Waiting for results to come back. Waiting for answers.
Waiting for a promise to be fulfilled.
Proverbs 13:12 says that a longing fulfilled is a tree of life. We all want that. But that fulfilled longing can take weeks. Months. Sometimes years. The rest of the verse says that a hope deferred makes the heart sick. Think about that. Our hearts can literally become sick when we are waiting on a promise, hoping for change to come, especially when we wait for so long.
Years ago, I was given a promise from God. It hasn’t come to fruition just yet. And so I keep waiting. Hoping for the right timing. Hoping it’s the right season. Hoping, like Joseph, to be called forth from the purgatorial prison cell and called into service. Called forth from the waiting room of the world.
How long can you be a bench warmer and not want to just give up on the game entirely?
The great prophet Tom Petty said it best.
“The waiting is the hardest part
Every day you see one more card
You take it on faith, you take it to the heart
The waiting is the hardest part.”
Maybe you can relate. Maybe you too are still waiting for that longing to be fulfilled.
I have been blogging for many years. My previous blog was called “Sitting in the Waiting Room”.
The Lord and I and this whole waiting theme go way back.
Although, sometimes I am not sure who is really doing the waiting. Maybe God is the one waiting on me.
Yesterday morning I wrote these words in my journal:
God, can I be honest? I am so tired of waiting on You. Hope in the Lord. Wait for the Lord. What if you are tired of waiting? What then? Waiting on circumstances to change. Waiting for a signal. Waiting for some kind of sign. Waiting for hope.
I admit that I have become weary from the wait, and my candid words reflect that. But even while journaling my angst to God, I landed on some verses that give me hope and strength to abide in the meantime, in the waiting. Deuteronomy 31:6 says “So be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid and do not panic before them. For the Lord your God will personally go ahead of you. He will neither fail you nor abandon you.”
God is near, so don’t be anxious for anything. (Phil. 4:5-6)
Do not fear, for God is with you. He will strengthen you and help you. (Isaiah 41:10)
When our hearts are troubled, broken, afraid, God is close to us. (Psalm 34:18)
Later that morning, we attended church. As we walked in, I heard these words being sung,
Take courage my heart
Stay steadfast my soul
He’s in the waiting
He’s in the waiting
Hold onto your hope
As your triumph unfolds
He’s never failing
He’s never failing
I have never heard this song before. I don’t think it was a coincidence that I was just complaining to the Lord about waiting and how much I hated it. Hearing these words brought peace to my broken, heavy heart and weary soul, as I sensed a a gentle, yet direct response from God to my anxious questions from earlier that morning. How very like Him that He would answer me tenderly through a song, when my words to Him were not so tender. Weary from the wait, I was reminded by God Himself that He is IN the waiting. Not on the other side of the waiting. He IS the culmination of longings fulfilled. The longing itself becomes a bonus, just icing on the cake.
I wonder if the point of our waiting then is to refine our longings. Not that God wants us to give up on our dreams and desires of our hearts. But when they overshadow the Lord Himself, and we want them more than we want even Him, they become idols. Seasons are just seasons. Waiting periods are just waiting periods. And longings come and go. Jesus is the Person for whom it is all worth. No matter the outcome. Longing fulfilled or deferred. The Person of Jesus, when we meet Him in the waiting room, becomes our one true hearts’ desire.
“I know now, Lord, why you utter no answer. You are yourself the answer. Before your face questions die away. What other answer would suffice?” C.S. Lewis, Till We Have Faces