I have been a Christian ever since I can remember and it seems much of the time I have been waiting on God…for something. God seems pretty intentional in this area.
When we are young, we wait for Him to reveal what our future will look like, who we will marry, how many kids we will have, where we will live and what our lives will be like.
Over the years, I have waited on the Lord through the birth of eight babies, 5 miscarriages, 3 grand babies (including the loss of one at birth) and many changes and moves.
All that to say, I truly believe that it is in these times of waiting that God does some of His greatest and deepest work.
Our youngest child was born with a major heart defect that had to be corrected with a 6 hour open heart surgery at 3 days old. This was followed by complicatons that stumped the doctors. Silas lay in an isolette with dozens of tubes coming out of him and we were unable to hold him for weeks.
During that time I drove an hour each day to the hospital leaving our 7 other small children home with my husband or in other’s care. At night I would drive home, leaving our newborn in the hands of people I really didn’t know, hoping that he would live for me to see again when I returned the next day. I cried both ways. My heart ached. I prayed constantly. This went on for 2 full months. But never had I felt the presence of God so strongly.
There were moments when I felt like God was telling me to simply “give Silas” back to Him fully and completely, which meant I had to say out loud that I was willing to let him go and let God take him. Every time that happened and I did this, God would whisper back, “I’m not going to take him, but you are going to have to be patient and TRUST me.” I had no idea what that would look like, but there was grace in the moment.
We were waiting for answers. We were waiting for a miracle. We finally got it. The doctors did another surgery to fix what they were guessing the problem COULD be and it worked. We got to take Silas home after 2 months and he is a healthy, happy 10 year old now.
What God showed me during that time was that HE had every detail of Silas’ mysterious condition FULLY under His control. There was nothing out of the scope of His hands. HE would be honored and glorified through it all. And He was.
I also learned that I had a choice in how I could respond to what God had laid in front of me. I could: 1.) RESIST; I could fight Him inwardly and outwardly. 2.) RESIGN; I could resign myself to these circumstances I had been dealt, but my heart would, in essence, be bitter and resentful. Outwardly I might look obedience, but inwardly, I would be in rebellion. Or 3.) EMBRACE; I could fully and completely embrace this difficult time, unabashedly trusting in a God who I believed was good and sovereign and who would work everything out for my good and His glory. I could embrace the grace that was mine to walk through this fire. I could walk by faith and not by sight.
I believe that I could have responded any of these three ways and it wouldn’t have changed Silas’ outcome. But what a loss it would have been for my heart, for my relationship with God, and for my faith.
While we are waiting, it feels as though God is doing nothing. I have learned that, often, that is when God is doing the MOST. It is a work that is so deep and so holy that it sometimes cannot be comprehended and often is left unnoticed. It is a work done in the secret places. It brings healing to the areas of our hearts that we never knew were there and never knew were so deeply in need. It is an eternal work.
And so, learning to wait well is not only a discipline in patience, but, more importantly, a discipline in REAL faith. It’s where the reality of the Gospel becomes tangible. Where we believe that God loved us enough to send His Son, not only to die for us, but to rise again, conquering sin and death and handing us the keys to victory.
Waiting well is waiting in TRUST (Prov. 3:5,6), it’s waiting in FAITH, being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see (Hebrews 11:1). It’s banking on the fact that God is good…ALL THE TIME.
Here is a poem that I cling to when I find myself in another season of waiting:
By Russell Kelfer
Desperately, helplessly, longingly, I cried
Quietly, patiently, lovingly God replied.
I plead and I wept for a clue to my fate,
And the Master so gently said,
“Child, you must wait”.
You say, wait!” my indignant reply.
“Lord, I need answers, I need to know why!
Is Your hand shortened?
Or have you not heard?
By Faith, I have asked, and am claiming your Word.
My future and all to which I can relate
Hangs in the balance, and
YOU tell me to WAIT?
I’m needing a ‘yes’,
A go-ahead sign,
Or even a ‘no’ to which i can resign.
And Lord, I’ve been asking, and this is my cry:
I’m weary of asking!
I need a reply!”
Then quietly, softly, I learned of my fate
As my Master replied once again,
“You must wait.”
So, I slumped in my chair,
Defeated and taut and grumbled to God,
“So, I’m waiting…for what?”
He seemed, then, to kneel,
And His eyes wept with mine,
And He tenderly said,
“I could give you a sign.
I could shake the heavens,
And darken the sun.
I could raise the dead, and
Cause mountains to run.
All you seek, I could give, and pleased you would be.
You would have what you want –
But you wouldn’t know Me.
You’d not know the depth of My love for each Saint;
You’d not know the power that I give to the Faint;
You’d not learn to see through the clouds of Despair;
You’d not learn to trust just by knowing I’m There’
You’d not know the joy of resting in Me
When darkness and silence were all you could See.
You’d never experience that fullness of Love
As the peace of My Spirit descends like a Dove;
You’d know that I give and I save…for a Start
But you’d not know the depth of the beat of My Heart.
The glow of My comfort late into the Night,
The faith that I give when you walk without Sight,
The depth that’s beyond getting just what you Asked
Of an infinite God, who makes what you have LAST.
You’d never know, should your pain quickly Flee,
What it means that “My grace is sufficient for Thee.”
Yes, your dreams for your loved one overnight would come True,
But, Oh, the loss! If I lost what I’m doing in You!
So, be silent, My Child, and in time you will See
That the greatest of gifts is to get to know Me.
And though oft’ may My answers seem terribly Late,
My most precious answer of all is still, “Wait.’