Tuesday, July 22, 2014

The Art of Waiting

I had a lovely breakfast date with a friend this morning, and as my mind lingered over our shared words about times of transition and being 20-somethings, I started to think about waiting.

Everyone I know is waiting for something.

Waiting to meet the right person.

Waiting to get engaged.

Waiting to have a baby.

Waiting to adopt a baby.

Waiting for a promotion, a raise, or the right job to begin with.

Waiting for clarity, direction, purpose, or fulfillment.

Our 20s, especially, are chock full of waiting and transition. But I also think there's something about waiting that is common to man.

A couple of months ago, as I was preparing to teach at our Sunday night service, I met with my friend and "coach" Mike for a pre-service pep talk. (You know, the kind of coach's talk that makes you more nervous, in the best way possible.) As we chatted about the passage at hand--Exodus 32 on the Golden Calf--Mike made a suggestion: Maybe the word for our people is about waiting. "It was while they were waiting for Moses to come back down the mountain that the people sinned," Mike pointed out.


It was a powerful word. Not the one God had given me to share that night, but a word from my pastor and friend, and one that was not only for me, I think. I've been chewing on it ever since.

Moses had hardly been gone a month when the people went the way of their pagan neighbors and erected the golden calf. Just like the Israelites, it is in these moments of waiting when we can become fretful and disheartened. In our impatience we go our own way, devise our own schemes, make idols for ourselves. We forget God's goodness and His words to us. We neglect the covenant. We compromise.

But there is one who perfectly trusted in the Father's timing.

In our John Manuscript study tonight, we dissected Chapter Seven, in which Jesus observes the Festival of Booths. One of the remarkable things that rose to the top of our rather clumsy interpretation was Jesus' repeated words about his time having "not yet come" (John 7:6, 8). Just as God sent His Son at just-the-right, appointed time, so would He send him to the cross at the exact moment He ordained. Jesus knew this, so there was no need for him to rush into things. The Father who sent him from heaven would cause His plans to unfold in perfect timing.

Interestingly, the Festival of Booths, or Sukkot, looks back to a season of waiting. The Israelites were nomads, wandering the desert, looking for the Promised Land. I don't think it's any coincidence that in this passage with so much to say about God's perfect timing, Jesus observes this feast of waiting outside in tents.

How much more joyful our experience of life would be if we learned the art of waiting! If we settled into uncertainty, refusing to compromise in the in-between times. If we asked God to still our hearts and willingly walked with Him into the unknown.

After all, the Apostle Peter reminds us that our waiting is not just for a new job or a baby. Ultimately, we are waiting for the return of our King:

But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells. Therefore, beloved, since you are waiting for these, be diligent to be found by him without spot or blemish, and at peace (2 Peter 3:13-14).

Your waiting will not end a moment later than God intends. He has designed it to bring you closer to Him, and also to bless you with a thousand graces that remain yet unseen. Will you trust Him?


Anonymous said...

Chels, you present with such care, conviction and TRUTH. Thank you.

"After all, the Apostle Peter reminds us that our waiting is not just for a new job or a baby. Ultimately, we are waiting for the return of our King." Amen. I love you!

Chelsea said...

thank you, Sar! Love you :)

Emma Squared Designs said...

Thank you so much for writing this and posting it. I am 35-years-old and never been in a relationship. I have struggled for years with those well meaning family members asking about my martial status and they don't understand how much that hurts! My grandpa just lost his second wife to cancer and every time I see him he has to bring up me being single…because he is now too and is lonely.
I also feel that the church has forgotten about me because I am not a young person (as in JR high, High school, or college age) and I am not a young married, old married, parent, or anything else they focus on. I love my church but so often feel left out because I am single. There is a "singles" ministry but 90% of the singles are middle aged, widowed, or divorced individuals who don't understand my personal situation. I would love to be married but so far God has said "wait" and I just don't know how much longer I can wait before I explode!!!
Thanks again for making me feel like I finally have a voice and it is okay to be single.
Ali Smith

Anonymous said...

"After all, the Apostle Peter reminds us that our waiting is not just for a new job or a baby. Ultimately, we are waiting for the return of our King."

Beautifully said. Thanks for this! :)

God bless,
Paige from Singapore

Chelsea said...

Ali, I'm thankful for your guts in living as a single woman for the glory of God! Even though it can be lonely, you are not alone, sister! Praying God will give you continued grace to follow His lead.

Paige, thank you! :)

Matthew said...

Psalm 27:14 "wait for the Lord, be strong and let your heart take courage, wait for the Lord."