I don't know about you, but I cannot stand waiting. I get impatient real fast. It's hard enough for me to stand in line somewhere and wait for my food, then to have to do the proverbial waiting that God sometimes asks of us. I am sure you are familiar. It's the kind of waiting that typically includes a lack of detail and instruction. It forces trust and faith. It's the enemy of problem solvers. It's countercultural. It hardly ever makes sense. It's uphill climb and there is no end in sight.
It's frustrating and even painful when you have a difficult situation in front of you, and God says, "wait". Our natural approach to the situation is - especially if you are a problem solver - to push through and figure out how to make it better or easier - or at the very least do something to make it seem like there is some improvement.
Difficult situations can often leave us anxious, fearful, confused, worrisome, and more. The last thing we want to do is sit in the middle of the difficulty with no plans of change or improvement. Sitting in the middle of the difficulty means experiencing discomfort, disappointment, and more. It means facing the anxiety and fear, and having to reconcile and surrender it for peace.
What we would rather do is solve the situation, suppress the painful feelings and think positively, or run away.
We never want to press in. The world shouts, "do something about it"! And, God breathes, "wait".
I have some things right now that cause frustration and are difficult. We all have them. As a good little Christian would, for my own difficult situation, I prayed. I asked God to fix it. I expected God to change it. And I got anxious. Things have been fairly peaceful lately...so, no God, I would rather not have any real worries right now. No, God, anxiety is not an option right now.
BUT, then God convicted me. I have been on this little journey of learning "FROM CHRIST WITHIN". What does this mean?
Well, it means "it's no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me" (Gal. 2.20). My strength to serve Christ and grow in faith, hope, and love comes "from Christ within". Change from the inside out. Which means my approach to EVERYTHING is different or at the very least is challenged. Do I approach this as Christan would? Or from Christ within?
One of the natural and beautiful byproducts of "from Christ within" kind of change is a deep desire to please Him. A desire to honor Him in everything I say and do. Living "from Christ within" crushes the obligation of seeking Him and leaves only a desire to seek Him. There is a sweet joy that comes from communion with Him. And drives me to seek His Word for direction and guidance. When there is no sense of obligation, only a desire, that really changes your perspective and your openness to hearing His voice clearly.
God spoke gently and reminded me that prayer is actually the answer and reading His Word would be my direction.
So, with a renewed desire to seek Him in this situation - I opened His Word and fell on my face.
And, He said, "WAIT". So, clearly. He keeps saying "wait".
As I sought His Word - He first led me to Proverbs 2 and 3. The chapters implore the reader to seek wisdom, understanding, and knowledge. As these things are sought, they will be found. God will give wisdom, understanding, and knowledge to those that seek it. The chapters encourage the reader that the Word of God is life, and that as you trust in God - He will lead and guide you. God gives counsel to those that seek it.
It was clear that God was preparing me for the "wisdom, understanding, and knowledge" He would give me.
And it was clearly "wait". Ugh.
Amongst many scriptures He has given me, this one has remained the most poignant.
Psalm 62: For God alone my soul waits in silence; from him comes my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be greatly shaken. My hope is from him. He is my rock and salvation. Trust in Him at all times, pour out your heart.
The key phrase that He illuminated was "wait in silence". Which actually makes waiting all the more difficult. Not only do I want you to wait, but I want you to wait in silence.
What do we do when God tells us to "wait"? Well, God speaks to all of us in a variety ways during our "waiting seasons". Here are some of the foundational, core things He has spoken to me. If nothing else, I need to do these things DAILY.
- Seek wisdom, understanding, and knowledge. Pray, meditate on His Word, rest and then do it again. Communion with Him will be our source of strength, joy, and more during times of waiting. (Prov. 2,3)
- Trust in Him and do not lean on our understanding. We can't begin to know and understand His purposes, how He is moving and operating in our lives. We must trust and believe. Press in and lean into HIM. (Prov. 3:5)
- In ALL our ways acknowledge Him. Let's break down what this means. It means that we look deeply into our souls and deal with the needs that are present. If we are to wait on Him while still growing in faith and staying sensitive to His will in our lives, we must acknowledge Him on the deepest level. This means acknowledging the deep pain that comes from waiting. This means acknowledging the sinful motivations that arise when I have to "wait on God". We acknowledge the sinful words and thoughts that arise because we are submitting control to a God we can't seem to understand. We acknowledge the fear and anxiety that threatens to overwhelm us because the situation we are in can illicit such discomfort and at times even thoughts of despair. We acknowledge, because we are broken and we are thirsty, needy people that in spite of the best intentions still struggle and still battle with our flesh - especially when we are hurting. And, btw, the paths being made straight - I am convinced - is the change from the inside out. Our paths become straight when we experience heart change - not when we experience circumstance change. Our paths become straight when we are growing in faith and living "from Christ within. (Prov. 3:6)
- With Paul, we welcome Christ to be our source of contentment. Like the woman at the well, we drink from His living water - letting His Spirit and salvation be what daily fills us - providing contentment in the midst of even difficult and uncomfortable circumstances. (Phil 4, John 4)
- Be silent and lean in to His grace and hope. Be silent. Don't fight or push through. Trust. Receive grace and hope. Be filled with His love. Be still. Rest in Him. (Psalm 62)
When God says wait - He says trust in me alone. This world is ever shifting. People are human and imperfect. God alone is unchanging, unmoving. Wait in silence. Don't push ahead or push past. Don't demand, complain, or fight. Wait on me. Rest in me. Be silent in waiting. Fix eyes and a heart full of hope on the One who brings salvation. I will make you secure - I am your rock. (Psalm 62)