Waiting is a part of our faith. The essence of the word faith implies waiting. Do you see it?
Do you like it? No. Me neither.
I hurt, now. I’m confused, now. I’m uncertain, now.
Waiting feels like an inconvenience. We can’t even stop at a stoplight without taking out our phones so we are doing something.
Waiting leaves us with a silence we don’t know what to do with. So we take out our phones again.
Waiting is vulnerable. We are not in control. Someone or something else is dictating our time. Faith is vulnerable too.
Waiting is trusting that God has our larger story. This involves trust and you may have trust issues with God.
We’ve worked hard to eliminate as much waiting from our lives as possible. We stream music instantly, watch movies on demand, and use apps to order food before we even get to the restaurant. So a God who makes you wait adds an unappealing aspect to a religion that already has an antiquated reputation. And then there are the trust issues.
Here’s a brave thought for you: Waiting can also give you rest.
Yes, waiting causes a range of uncomfortable emotions and sometimes some positive emotions, but waiting can also give you rest.
Waiting is a part of our faith. It is part of the movement of God. The movement of God is often in seasons.
We have this horrible season called winter, says the one who grew up in Minnesota. Winter is where everything dies and we wait and wait and wait for spring.
Winter is uncomfortable. We have to bundle up and the cold still seeps into our bones.
Winter moves so slow. We move slower. Though that may be a good thing compared to the hustle of the summer season.
Amazingly in the dark cold of winter, important growth is still happening.
The dirt is frozen but it is never still. During winter is when microorganisms are breeding, moving, and eating. Wind and sun and fungi and insects are doing things that leavens the soil, making it richer and better, readying it for planting. The metaphors about waiting are rich.
Winter turns up the rocks. Over the winter, water under the soil freezes, and when it does, it also expands, pushing unseen rocks upward. The freeze/thaw cycle will eventually produce enough force to heave buried stones forth. The earth pushes a solid lump against the forces of gravity toward the light to get rid of it. More rich metaphors for you.
(Thanks to Jennifer Lee Dukes and her book, Growing Slow: Lessons on Un-Hurrying Your Heart from an Accidental Farm Girl, for this rich wisdom.)
What is this season of waiting doing inside of you? Are you getting ready for new growth? Are the rocks in your life getting expelled?
There is also this surprising beauty of winter. There are days when we are snowed in and we make the most wonderful memories. As hard as waiting seasons are, beautiful memories are still being made.
What would the practice of waiting well look like?
I know for me that as I’ve aged, grown wiser, walked this life in tree time, and have made a lifetime of brave decisions that I have learned to wait well. My story is here honestly in these Bravester pages. I have not always waited well. This is me, Psalm 69:3, I am exhausted from crying for help; my throat is parched. My eyes are swollen with weeping, waiting for my God to help me.
My faith is gutty and raw and brave. I hung in there through all of the waiting for God to redeem the mess. I don’t know how to “easy button” my pain to God and continue living like the mess didn’t happen. My faith wrestles, hangs in beyond my feelings, and I walk away with a limp as I know God is for me.
A safe faith says “I know you are omnipotent so I will feel helpless while I wait on you.” A brave faith says “here is my cry and here is my anger and here is how I feel. Thank you for blessing the godly.”
I asked this question at my church (we have lots of conversations during church) and received this answer that took away my breath. Waiting well looks like Papa God gathering materials. Materials needed for that larger story.
Waiting is not passive. Nor is it God’s abandonment. There is always something growing and moving in that cold frozen dirt of waiting. This Larger Story God is busy in your waiting putting together the larger story. You, in the waiting, are growing, healing, changing, and heaving those rocks out of your life. You are trusting more.
Waiting feels like forever while there is still so much growth going on.
Papa God is gathering the materials for your story. Something beautiful is happening.