A week ago I had jury duty. I realize that it is my civic duty, or rather, my civic honor as they kept explaining to us, but it felt more like a duty and less like an honor. While I went to college in the land of prisons and criminal justice, I’ve never had the burning desire to be put on a panel of jurors, so to me the whole concept makes me sweat bullets.
You may have heard my sigh of relief when, after four hours of literally doing nothing but waiting, I was finally released to go home. No jury for me. At least this time.
Anyway, the entire day was a hurry up and wait kind of deal.
For instance, you have to be there at 8:00 AM or they’ll shut the doors on you, lock them and throw away the key. However, when I arrived at 7:15 in a slight panic not knowing what the day would hold, I made my way to the jury courthouse, got checked in, found my seat in a frenzy among 1300 other jurors, then proceeded to sit there until 8:45 AM when they actually shut the doors and locked them.
You see what I mean? Hurry up and wait.
And in my case, panic and sweat for fear the day might not end up in my favor.
When all was said and done, my state of panic was worthless. Thank you, Lord.
However, it stirred up in me something greater.
I don’t know about you, but that is how I always find myself waiting.
I wait in a panic.
A few summers ago during one of the Siesta Summer Bible studies, one of the questions on the first evening was to go around and share one word that describes the current season you were in. When it got to me, I didn’t even think twice before I blurted out the word “waiting”.
Nearly two years later, if asked the same question, I’d be inclined to share the same word.
Because I am, after all, in a season of waiting.
I’ve said it before and I’’ll say it again, waiting is the one thing God has used in my life to make me more like Him. The relief that statement alone brings me makes me thankful for the way He holds me in places that makes me more like Him. Far from easy, and even sometimes lonely, but at least I know He has a purpose for me in the waiting. I didn’t always think like that.
Since I get the joy of moderating the comments that come through this blog, that means that on SSMT days, I’m seeing a lot of scripture. It is impossible for me to read each and every one, or I’d be here for days, but on those days I’ve become a pro at skimming them. However, on this last SSMT post, at the top of nearly every page moderated, Psalm 27:14 popped up, “Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!” It wasn’t the verse I’d chosen, but I took it as a sweet reminder from the Lord.
That as He keeps me in a season of waiting, it’s not to bully me, but to strengthen me.
I’m no scholar, but I do see a theme in scripture when the Lord speaks of waiting, He often speaks of strength.
“Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength. Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the Lord 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.” Isaiah 40:28-31
I think of a bride getting ready to see her husband at the end of the aisle. I’ve not yet been a bride, but I’ve been in my fair share of weddings and I think we all know the length of time it takes for the wedding party (particularly the girls) to get ready for the ceremony, and rightfully so. We spend all day primping (while the guys play golf and then get ready in 30 minutes tops!), then, about an hour before the ceremony, all of the sudden everything comes to a complete halt and we sit, and wait. And often have a moment of panic. All of our hustling and hurrying and scurrying around all day, to sit and wait. That hour before the ceremony is the hardest hour of the day, in my opinion, but the expectation of what’s ahead brings unspeakable joy. She waits with expectation.
Often times, I’ve noticed my weariness in the waiting comes when I am tempted to manipulate things to go my way. I get lonely, so I try to replace that with busyness. Then I get burned out. Or, I get antsy, so I try to manipulate relationships, only to watch them fall apart. Or maybe I need a job so bad I take my first offer, only to realize it was a terrible fit, instead of just trusting in God’s perfect provision. My timetable looks terribly different than His, so when I try to push my timing on others, whether it be people or things, I’ll always end up selling myself short. The moment I lose sight of the true prize, I fall.
But most times, our waiting is much longer than any of us like to think or wait, but if we only knew what He had in store for us, we know the waiting would be worth it.
My sweet coworker KMac said it best, “We wouldn’t appreciate ANYTHING without a little delay and anticipation.” And all the people said amen.
That’s why in the waiting we wait with hope.
We wait with expectancy.
We wait in patience.
We wait in prayer.
We wait in strength.
Most times, the waiting really isn’t about the waiting, it’s about becoming.
“And therefore the Lord [earnestly] waits [expecting, looking, and longing] to be gracious to you; and therefore He lifts Himself up, that He may have mercy on you and show loving-kindness to you. For the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed (happy, fortunate, to be envied) are all those who [earnestly] wait for Him, who expect and look and long for Him [for His victory, His favor, His love, His peace, His joy, and His matchless, unbroken companionship]!” Isaiah 30:18 (Amplified)
Those who wait win the prize.
But know that even when you become tired in the waiting, the Lord is still working out every little detail.
“Meanwhile, the moment we get tired in the waiting, God’s Spirit is right alongside helping us along. If we don’t know how or what to pray, it doesn’t matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans. He knows us far better than we know ourselves, knows our pregnant condition, and keeps us present before God. That’s why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good.” Romans 8:26-28 (The Message)
You and I are waiting on the Lord to move in different ways, provide different things, and surprise us along the way. Instead of growing weaker, let us grow stronger. If you find yourself in any kind of waiting season, find things that stir your affections for Christ and pursue those. Maybe the Lord’s given you a gift you’ve let get dusty, pick it up and start practicing that craft. Whatever you do, don’t put your life on hold. Panic and worry do nothing but drain us of any energy or hope we may have had. This may sound harsh, but is there anything more unfulfiling that becoming selfish and living for yourself in our season of waiting?
And lest you think I’m writing this to preach to you, I’m writing this to preach to myself.
I recently saw this quote, on twitter of all things, by Charles Spurgeon, “The Lord’s “quickly” may not be my “quickly”; and if so, let him do what seems good to him!”
Expect, look and long for Him, dear Sister. At the end of the day, if you wait on God, no matter the outcome, I’m willing to bet by His promises alone, that the odds will always be in your favor.