I sat on the curb after practice, wondering, “Is mom ever going to come?” It was a particularly hard high school year. For one, my nose got hit with a field hockey stick. Even today, it sits a little crooked. And on this particular day, after all those sprints, shooting pains shot up my legs. I could hardly sit. Every position was agony. So with my teammates long gone, I moaned. Then, I replayed everything: the shots I didn’t make, the girls that were faster than me, and how I must have looked downright stupid.
Five minutes turned into twenty. Would she ever come?
Times of waiting are battles – the sense of “not knowing” compounds everything. Here, we tend to think, “If she isn’t there for me, God won’t be there either. I’m unworthy. I’ll be left behind. I brought on this problem. I’m stuck. Bound to fail. Surely, I’ll make a fool of myself again.”
I find it is here that old injuries, gut-wrenching feelings of abandonment, and age-old failures come back to attack. They often rob our faith.
Yet, I can’t help but wonder: If waiting times aren’t uncommon to Biblical men and women, why do I think they’ll be uncommon to me?
I mean, Sarah waited decades to have a baby. Blind people waited what probably felt like forever to be healed by Jesus. Mary waited while Jesus grew up. The other Mary waited for her brother Lazarus to get healed. Moses waited to get out of Egypt. Jesus waited decades to start His ministry, then about three years to die on the cross to defeat death.
Even in the worldly sense, waiting times have value. A delayed inheritance makes a son wise. A pregnant mother gives nine months time for the baby to grow. A toddler girl learns to swim before jumping in the deep end.
What if our times of waiting aren’t meant to torture us, but to grow us? And to prepare us for a greater land ahead?
“The land you are entering to take over is not like the land of Egypt, from which you have come, where you planted your seed and irrigated it by foot as in a vegetable garden… It is a land the Lord your God cares for; the eyes of the Lord your God are continually on it from the beginning of the year to its end.” (Deuteronomy 11:10, 12, NIV)
The new land has new terrain. New obstacles. New preparation is needed for that place.
Consider, if you want to adventure through new terrain, you must prepare for it. If you’re traveling over rocky ground, you need the right wheels. Perhaps an SUV. If you are climbing a new mountain, you need to have a harness, and one you trust. Waiting gives us time to prepare to go to the places God has planned for us.
We can wait well. Here are few ways to do just that:
One: Remember the cross.
Encourage yourself by saying, “Jesus’ sacrifice fully covers me and now protects me from any assaulting words of the enemy. Even if I don’t do things perfectly, through the sacrifice of Christ, I am hidden in Christ.”
Two: Reconsider who you are.
Think, “I am a daughter of the most-High King. He knows how to take care of me.”
Three: Reestablish who God is.
Say, “God is on my side. He will pull through for me, help me and rescue me. I can trust Him.”
Four: Remind yourself: Waiting ground is faith-proving ground.
Choose to delight in and dwell on the little blessings God gives day-to-day.
Five: Reflect on the learnings.
Encourage yourself by saying, “God, teach me what I need to know through this time of wait, so I can grow in faith.”