Do you ever have an image that keeps popping into your head for seemingly no reason? It happens to me from time to time, and I’ve finally begun allowing myself to believe that these images are from God. For the past few weeks, I’ve been seeing an image of my foot, planted in the sand in front of me. The picture below is what it would look like if a) these were my feet, and b) I were seeing the image in third-person instead of first-person.
Now for the life of me, I have not been able to figure out what this image was supposed to mean. There I am, lying in bed trying to fall asleep, and there’s this “real as life” picture of my foot planted in the sand.
I’ve begun noticing a single word appearing in conversations with… well… everybody. Everybody seems to be waiting for something. My husband and I have been spending a lot of time with the young adults of 5twelve, and they all seem like they’re in a state of pause, like they’re waiting for “real life” to begin. The church itself seems to be waiting, especially for where God wants us to move. For that matter, the whole world seems to be waiting for whatever “normal” is going to look like after the COVID dust settles. Collectively, we’ve all taken this one first step, and we’re just stuck – waiting to know where our next step will land, before we allow ourselves to take it.
Almost exactly 13 months ago, I wrote a post called Waiting. It was about the sense of waiting we have when we think of the Lord’s return. Lately, though, I feel like we’re waiting for something much more immediate.
I have to admit, I’m terrible at waiting. I can be patient with people almost indefinitely, but when it comes to events and situations, I find myself asking, “when will then be now?” My husband is a very good wait-er. When we need to make a major purchase, he will research it, budget for it, plan ahead, and research some more, ’til I’m tempted to just yell, “Get ON with it already!” I’m glad he’s that kind of planner because it has helped our family make much better decisions in the long run… but I’d still prefer it if the “long run” were a bit shorter.
I think that in some ways, we’ve set our culture up to always be waiting for something. Think about it. When you’re little, mom might say, “Are you excited to start school like your big sister?” In elementary school, people tell you about the challenges of middle school, but you look up to those older kids and wish you were where they are. In middle school, you’re looking to high school, and then you’re looking to college, then a job, then a spouse, then kids… and then your kids are little and you’re waiting for all their next stages. They grow up and get settled, and you’re waiting on retirement and grandkids. Are we wishing our lives away?
What good is all this waiting anyway? Consider this passage:
But those who wait on the LordIsaiah 40:31, NKJV
Shall renew their strength;
They shall mount up with wings like eagles,
They shall run and not be weary,
They shall walk and not faint.
In the Bible, we see how the process of waiting for the Lord created opportunities and inspiration for His people. While David waited to become king of Israel, he wrote psalms of praise and lament, joy and sorrow, and faith in the Lord. While Paul awaited his fate in one prison or another, he wrote long letters to those he discipled. Those psalms and those letters make up some of our dearest scriptures. While Jonah waited in the fish’s belly, he cried out to God. While Jesus waited for the end He knew was coming, He healed the sick and spoke truth into the world.
Sometimes, God makes us wait so that we’ll rely on Him for our daily provision. Instant gratification is definitely an enemy of a dependent relationship with God. Sometimes, He lets us wait because we’re not yet ready for what is to come, and He uses the time to prepare us. As you wait on the Lord, allow Him to renew your strength; allow Him to fulfill your needs; lean into Him and do what He calls you to do in the waiting. Trust me – whatever He has for you is worth the wait.
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