The waiting is the hardest part

I am not a good waiter.

(Not the kind that works in a restaurant; the closest I have come to that is the person who takes your order at McDonald’s.  Not sure I was so great at that, either.  Maybe that’s why they scheduled me more for cleaning the lobby and the bathrooms.)

A waiter in the sense of someone who waits.

A wait-er.

As this whole job thing has unfolded, I have recognized something about myself.  I can usually “handle” bad news, unfortunate happenings, difficult circumstances; I take some time to absorb and think and process, and then I am ready to move ahead, with doing whatever needs to be done, to happen next, to forge ahead.

The problem is, oftentimes that is not what needs to happen next.

What God wants me to do next, is wait.

Wait on Him.

I have to admit it.  I don’t like to wait.

I want to know where this is all going, what’s next on the agenda, where is God taking us, what is happening.

I’m fine with whatever it is.

Let’s just get it going.

Enough of this waiting around.

But the Word teaches that we are to wait on Him.  God is a patient God. He is slow to anger, long-suffering with us. He moves in his own timing, for his glory. A thousand years in his sight are as but yesterday when it is past (Psalm 90:4).

And it’s for our good.

I want to run ahead, to see what’s going to happen.  I remember another time in our lives when things were in upheaval, and I prayed, “God, if I only knew what was going to happen, then I would be able to handle what’s going on now!”

He gently answered, “You do know what’s going to happen.”

And he was right. I do.

He is redeeming his people, he is redeeming all things unto himself.

Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb through the middle of the street of the city; also, on either side of the river, the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit each month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. No longer will there be anything accursed, but the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him. They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. And night will be no more. They will need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever.
And he said to me, “These words are trustworthy and true. And the Lord, the God of the spirits of the prophets, has sent his angel to show his servants what must soon take place.”

(Revelation 22:1-6 ESV)

My story, our story, is just a small part of the greater Story.

And God is working in it.  I need to be patient to see how and where and what that entails. And not be so concerned about “handling” it, other than resting in Him, and waiting in Him.

A friend posted something on Facebook, by Charles Spurgeon, on Psalm 25:

Patience is the fair handmaid and daughter of faith; we cheerfully wait when we are certain that we shall not wait in vain. It is our duty and our privilege to wait upon the Lord in service, in worship, in expectancy, in trust all the days of our life. Our faith will be tried faith, and if it be of the true kind, it will bear continued trial without yielding. We shall not grow weary of waiting upon God if we remember how long and how graciously he once waited for us.

We are not waiting in vain.

He graciously waited, and waits, for us.

He is patient with me, in my impatience to get things going, already.

He leads along the path, and we follow, even though we can’t see very far ahead.

A psalm of waiting:  Psalm 25

1 To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul.

2 O my God, in you I trust;

let me not be put to shame;

let not my enemies exult over me.

3 Indeed, none who wait for you shall be put to shame;

they shall be ashamed who are wantonly treacherous.

4 Make me to know your ways, O Lord;

teach me your paths.

5 Lead me in your truth and teach me,

for you are the God of my salvation;

for you I wait all the day long.

6 Remember your mercy, O Lord, and your steadfast love,

for they have been from of old.

7 Remember not the sins of my youth or my transgressions;

according to your steadfast love remember me,

for the sake of your goodness, O Lord!

8 Good and upright is the Lord;

therefore he instructs sinners in the way.

9 He leads the humble in what is right,

and teaches the humble his way.

10 All the paths of the Lord are steadfast love and faithfulness,

for those who keep his covenant and his testimonies.

11 For your name’s sake, O Lord,

pardon my guilt, for it is great.

12 Who is the man who fears the Lord?

Him will he instruct in the way that he should choose.

13 His soul shall abide in well-being,

and his offspring shall inherit the land.

14 The friendship of the Lord is for those who fear him,

and he makes known to them his covenant.

15 My eyes are ever toward the Lord,

for he will pluck my feet out of the net.

16 Turn to me and be gracious to me,

for I am lonely and afflicted.

17 The troubles of my heart are enlarged;

bring me out of my distresses.

18 Consider my affliction and my trouble,

and forgive all my sins.

19 Consider how many are my foes,

and with what violent hatred they hate me.

20 Oh, guard my soul, and deliver me!

Let me not be put to shame, for I take refuge in you.

21 May integrity and uprightness preserve me,

for I wait for you.

22 Redeem Israel, O God,

out of all his troubles.

3 thoughts on “The waiting is the hardest part

  1. Beautiful post. It’s so true, that we think we could bear the interim if we could see the ending (though I wonder too, if that is really true – sometimes I am sure we wouldn’t have courage to continue if we saw what was down the road), but also true that we can see The Ending. Thanks for the reminder.

  2. Praying, praying, praying. As I pray for you, it has changed me, too. As God ministers to you and shows you things through your struggle, he is showing himself to others who love you, and are continuously pestering the Father on your behalf. :)
    So glad to be on the journey with you, through the thick, and through the (from our perspective) thin.
    Funny you bring up The Story, as I have been thinking about it since I read Washed and Waiting. The author talks about Sam encouraging Frodo at the end of their quest, and how Sam says they will be part of one of the great, heroic tales told to little hobbits someday. The author goes on to say:
    “Many times in my experience with homosexuality I have wished my life was different, that I had some other burden to bear – anything but this one. But I have also felt that if Someone is watching – taking note; caring about each footfall, each bend in the trail; marking my progress – then the burden may be bearable.
    When the road is long and the loneliness and sheer longing threaten to extinguish hope, it helps to remember that, like Frodo and Sam, I, too, am in a grand tale, with an all-seeing, all-caring Reader or Listener who also happens to be in some mysterious way the Author…But I can still endure – I can keep on fighting to live faithfully…so long as I have the assurance that my life matters to God, that, wonder of all wonders, my faith pleases him, that somehow it makes him smile.”

  3. i have thought of you and your situation often over the past few days. we lost our job a few years ago and ended up moving. it was such a strange time full of every emotion: sadness one minute, excitement the next, quickly followed by exhaustion. and yet even in the midst of it i had the deepest sense of God’s goodness in it. i pray God gives you a true sense of peace in all of this. and i’ll throw excitement in there, too ;)

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