“Strength will rise as we wait upon the Lord.”
Most of us don’t like waiting. There are some places for me where my patience abounds but when it comes to myself, I have no ability to wait. My expectations of how fast or how well I do something comes with little to no grace and a high level of judgment against my inability to hurry up and get something done (and yet still complete it with next level perfection).
Webster defines waiting as: a noun. “a period of waiting; pause, interval, or delay.”
The worst word in that sentence. Delay. We definitely don’t have the patience for delays. I would even state that in our current culture, waiting on anything is frowned upon and patience and grace for others when it comes to the “delivery” of whatever we are waiting for is near nonexistent. I am heavily guilty of this every time I order something online. A decade ago, if you wanted something that same day you went to the store to pick it up. Maybe you called around to a few places to make sure they had it so your trip wasn’t wasted.
If you were going to order something online you knew it would take at least a week, maybe more. Wait a week for something now? Most of the time, if I can’t get at least two day prime shipping, I won’t even buy something. Even worse, I am always looking for ways to add something small to my cart so I can reach the minimum for “give it to me now” shipping and get it today.
We spend so much of our time “waiting” I wonder if we are really living. This is same when it comes to the cliche of waiting on God.
We know God can do anything, and that means literally anything. It isn’t metaphorical and it isn’t meant to be a broad stroke that just encompasses what our human brains can understand. It is the full truth that our amazing God who created all things, can do anything, anytime and He can and will do it perfectly. There is a big difference between what we believe God can do and what the truth is of what He can do.
God is perfect, so when we are asking God to deliver something to us, we can’t expect same day delivery. We want things now, despite the cliches that we say at church like, “I am just waiting on God’s direction.” “We have been praying and waiting for God to lead us in the ministry He wants us to serve in.” I am guilty of even saying, “God has been strangely silent, and I am just waiting to hear from him.”
Lord, let me never say something so obviously sent from the enemy ever again!
God is never silent. Ever. We just simply aren’t listening. If you have accepted Christ into your heart, you are saved and two very important transactions occur.
#1: You were bought and paid for by Christ Jesus. Your eternal future is secure and you have access to the endless and depthless love of your Creator. You have the opportunity to put not only your eternal future in His hands but your earthly future too. You put your trust in the one who chased you down like the one lost sheep and brought you back into his fold.
#2: You are given a new best friend, The Holy Spirit. He doesn’t just come over when you need him, or only answer when you call. He is there, living inside of you every second of every minute of every hour of every day, forever. (Amen!) He is literally always there, and always willing to answer. Do you feel like God is being silent? Check yourself and your relationship with the Holy Spirit, have you grieved it? Do you have unconfessed sin you need to own and let go of?
Again, God is never silent. There are just times when we are so self-involved that we can’t hear Him. Imagine you have the most amazing Dad in the whole world who is waiting patiently to spend time with you, love you, and give you the things your heart longs for, but you can’t hear Him because you are listening to your headphones and staring at your phone hoping to find life’s answers on Google.
We ask for things, we wait, and we wait, and we wait some more. Luke 8:9 says, “The knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of God has been given to you.”
Wait. Read that again. We are waiting on God, but Christ just told us that He has given us the secrets to God’s kingdom. He has given us a road map, a divine guide who lives inside of us and we take Him everywhere! He knows where we need to go. Too often we ask God to lead us and then we just punch the gas to hurry up and get where we are supposed to go. We didn’t get directions, we just figured the way would be revealed, but we can start driving now, wouldn’t want to lose any travel time. We think we know what God wants, and we think that we can trust our heart when it leads, but God tells us in Jeremiah 17:9, “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure.” Ouch. The world tells us the lie that we should follow our hearts. I admit, I have hit the gas in my faith journey and actually heard myself say, “God can meet me there.”
When I arrive at the destination that I appointed myself to choose during my “waiting” and I find myself unsatisfied by the place. The luxury accommodations I was expecting turns out to be a creepy motel, with staff that looks very unsavory and when I look around there are no familiar landmarks. I check in, get the keys to my room only to find a dark windowless box, no light, no bed and the purpose and the will of God that I was seeking isn’t sitting in a pretty box with a bow like I expected. “God, this doesn’t look anything like where you want me to be? Where did I go wrong?”
I had a revelation this morning, and as most of my posts are a culmination of many notes over many weeks that come to fruition with a big powerful aha moment, I can say this post is no different. I have wanted to write on this topic of waiting on God for weeks. But every time I would finish my study and look at all my notes, all my mini revelations that I write down, it still felt like I was missing something. Then, after my study, while I made coffee and prepared to do some house cleaning while the whole house sleeps, it hit me.
We have it wrong. We are waiting for God to deliver to us the package of our purpose, the package that contains the direction He wants us to go in. In reality, the waiting that we are doing is NOT on God. It is on ourselves. God is the one who is truly waiting. Waiting on us.
And praise God for having the most perfect patience. We are hard-headed, hard-hearted, and sometimes downright hard to watch live this life. We make some of the most painful and yet simple to avoid mistakes. Many of which we make while we sit in wait for God to deliver a future He has already given us.
We wait on God to lead us in our calling and give us fulfillment in doing what we are meant to do. We are waiting for tools and tricks to do these things when He has already over-delivered and placed inside of us everything that we need to do His will, to fulfill His purpose for you and to ensure that when you stop and access the Holy Spirit that you having living inside of you, you can feel satisfied in your journey.
The problem we have is often as we look for things to fill us up in this world. We have to abandon the line of thinking that our salvation in Christ Jesus automatically came with a feeling of satisfaction. That is worth repeating. Your salvation did not come with a guarantee of finding satisfaction in your life.
We wait for God’s blessings, for his plan, for his guidance, but all the while we are secretly hoping we can figure it out on our own. WHY!?! Sometimes when I miss the easy lesson that God is showing me and it hits me with a wave of understanding years later, I wonder why he bothers with me. With us humans altogether.
We are NOT waiting on God. God is perfect, He already knows everything that has ever happened, and will happen. He is not in Heaven crafting your life moment by moment. He already knows your future. He is NOT making us wait. HE is waiting on us. If we truly want His direction, we will seek it.
One of the hardest times in my life was when my first marriage was ending. I had put every single piece of me into it. I had faith that God would fix it. I prayed daily to be a better wife, a better mother, a better servant. The end of something often declines far more rapidly than the problems began, and as 2010 came rushing down the side of a mountain, I just let it drag me with it.
God felt deathly silent. I had no direction and I felt lost and lacked the basic foundational understanding of who I was, and who I belonged to. I was adrift.
A little tiny boat on a rushing sea, no sail, no map, no stars to guide my path. Just the inky blackness and the hopelessness that comes with the enemies lies that this is all our life will ever be.
Why would God be silent and not fix my husband, or fix me, or fix our marriage? And if he wasn’t going to fix it, why would he make me stay in a place where His daughter and the daughters He had given her were not safe?
In my waiting and waiting that felt endless, the Holy Spirit spoke to me through a song by Dave Matthews Band called Grey Street. The lyrics broke through to me in what I perceived as silence. What I realized at that moment was that God wasn’t being silent, I just hadn’t been listening. This is an exact picture of me, NOT listening to God.
Why? Because God wasn’t giving me the answers that I wanted. My selfish lying heart was waiting for him to fix my broken marriage as if it was only His responsibility. I wasn’t seeking Him to fill the emptiness in me that had been compounding from the first day of this relationship. I was waiting for my marriage to do it for me. I had it all wrong.
She says nothing of what she thinks
She just goes stumbling through her memories
Staring out on to Grey Street.
She thinks, ‘Hey, how did I come to this?
I’ve dreamed myself a thousand times around the world,
But I can’t get out of this place’
Now there’s an emptiness inside her
And she’d do anything to fill it in
But all the colors mix together
And how she wishes it was different
She prays to God most every night
And though she swears He doesn’t listen
There’s still a hope in her He might
She says I pray
oh, but they fall on deaf ears
Am I supposed to take it on myself
To get out of this place?
I had hope he was listening and I had a strong faith that God rescues His own. My problem was I didn’t believe who I was in Him. I had salvation, but no satisfaction was to be found because I was looking in all of the wrong places.
He has given us His word and His Holy Spirit. He has given us the one commandment we are supposed to live by, (John 13:34-35) “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples if you love one another.”
God is more than familiar with the way we do things. He knows our ways, and it isn’t news to Him that we want to try to run the show. We have given our soul to Christ, but have we given Him full reign over our heart? Have we given Him control over all that he has stewarded to us? Proverbs 23:6 says, “My Child, give me your heart and let your eyes delight in my ways.”
God gives the best gifts, our biggest problem is that on occasion we just don’t open it. Imagine your best friend comes over with a beautifully wrapped box. The wrapping paper perfectly adorned the box, each crease perfectly folded and a bow that has been masterfully laid on the top. The excitement on your friend’s face as they hand you this box, ready for you to take the gift that was thoughtfully crafted just for you and who you are. The gift in that box won’t work for anyone else and the love that was poured into creating something this unique cannot be measured. You look expectantly at the box and then carefully place it in the back of your closet, never to be opened and enjoyed. The gift inside hidden and unknown.
This is my illustration of the gift God has given us in the Holy Spirit. We can choose to open it, see what he has for us, or we can store it away. And then act as if we are waiting for God to give us the gift he has already given us.
We wander the desert searching for God, searching for the answers. Waiting to know what to do next. In the distance, we see a beautiful oasis. The sun glimmers off of the water, and the excitement that you can quench your parched throat is almost more than you can contain. You run the last remaining yards to reach it only to find that it is completely surrounded by a glass box. You can see inside all of the things you need, the things you want, and you can see God, sitting there expectantly, waiting for you to come in and drink and be filled. Why can’t I get in!? You press your face against the glass, just close enough to feel the coolness of what awaits you on the other side. Peace, fulfillment and rest. Why won’t God let me in?
Often, this picture comes to mind for me when I think about waiting for God to open the right doors.
Just open it already!
He has given us the free will to choose whether or not we want the gifts, direction, peace, satisfaction and unfailing love that comes with that salvation. You already have access to it.
We are not waiting on God.
Time is a thief, and it goes so fast that we can’t grasp the concept that every fleeting moment is an opportunity to be walking with our Creator every day. We don’t have to wait on Heaven to experience Him here. We don’t have to wait for a grand miracle, or “hear” from Him in order to step into what He has for us.
The person we are waiting on is ourselves. We let the fear of the unknown let us sit stagnant instead of working towards building a relationship with our Creator that will help us understand better the HOW to hear Him. He is speaking, we just may not be ready to hear it. That is okay!
Even as I have felt significant growth in the past 7 weeks of dedicating my morning and my day to God and investing in that relationship, He is still molding me, stepping on my toes, calling out my sin and sometimes forcing me to see things in myself I need to work on. It isn’t easy and it isn’t supposed to be.
I needed a shift in my mindset when I was waiting for God to rescue me. I realized the person who was making me wait, the one who had put me into a false prison wasn’t God and it wasn’t the enemy. It was me. The person who kept me in a place that as God’s beloved daughter, I did not deserve to be in, that was me too. And while Satan works hard to keep us oppressed and in fear, sin, and hopelessness, even he can’t do it without our permission. How much space are you giving the enemy to work against you in your life?
I can have a greater understanding of what God has done for us, but it doesn’t make it any easier to put it into practice, and I still find myself trying to steer this tiny little boat myself. I just need to remind myself, and maybe you need the reminder too:
“My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways.” Isaiah 55:9
As we marinate on that remember that God intends for us to have a future that is filled with satisfaction in Him. And that will overflow into every area of our lives. When we let him overfill us with His love and satisfaction not only do we have more to give and share but how much more is the love others pour into us if we are already full???
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11
God isn’t waiting to speak to us, lead us or bless us. He isn’t waiting to give you the plans he has for you. They are already inside that gift. They are just on the other side of the door. He is waiting for us to open the door and step through it. He gave us the key to everything we need when he gave His Son’s life for ours. The journey on the other side is unknown, and yes, a little scary. But it comes with all of the food and drink of God that will bring us the satisfaction in our faith that we long for, and it will give us the direction that we need to move forward in our purpose (You know, the one you keep waiting for God to give you.) He has given us the gift of all of the secrets of the kingdom of Heaven, wrapped up in a bow, and it is sitting inside of you with a guide. A friend that will stand by you through everything, that friend is the Holy Spirit.
Stop waiting for something that you already have. Get into God’s word, develop your personal relationship with him. This morning I opened the box, and I pray you open yours. Let God open up your heart with his abundance and unfailing love. The plan for your life, the success He has for you, the satisfaction that can be only found in Him awaits you inside that gift he has already given you.
Be brave, have courage, and open it!