Waiting

Waiting Blog picture

“I can’t wait until I’m in college!” fourteen-year-old Kiersten recently proclaimed.  Considering she is only in ninth grade, she has a long wait ahead of her!

Kiersten, of course, is looking forward to all the fun that college seems to be:  dorm life, classes strewn throughout the day as opposed to seven hours straight day after day after day, and the fun of being on her own.

Micah, on the other hand, responds with “I can’t wait until I’m out of college…”  Quite fitting for my active and athletic child to whom school seems like prison and homework feels like torture.  As a mere seventh grader, life after college must feel like light years away!

I’ve been thinking about waiting quite a bit lately.  Not the waiting represented in the above statements made by my children.  Not the normal life cycles of waiting that we all experience:  waiting for summer, for our next birthday, for Christmas, for a new phone (or a first phone in the case of my kids!), for an event we are looking forward to…

But the waiting for something that may or may not happen.

Waiting on the child who is going through a phase.  Waiting to see if it really is just a phase.  Waiting on a difficult situation, not knowing the outcome.  Waiting on someone else’s difficult situation, and feeling helpless.  Waiting for something you desire greatly, and wondering if it will ever really happen.  Waiting on an opportunity that may never come your way.  Waiting on the pain or the struggle to go away, and wondering if it ever will.  Waiting in the midst of uncertainty.  Waiting on anything that may not have the outcome you want, or that may take years to come to fruition, or that may never come to fruition.

There’s a type of waiting that comes with an ache.  That’s the waiting I’ve been thinking about lately.

When I think about this type of waiting, I often remember the story of a Sunday school teacher from when I was a child.

I don’t remember her name.  I don’t remember her age. And I don’t remember many details.  I just remember that she shared a story about prayer with us one time.  I remember her telling us that she prayed for thirty years that her husband would become a Christian.  Every day she would pray. Thirty years of praying.  Finally, after thirty years of waiting and praying, her husband became a Christian.  I remember that she told us that God doesn’t always answer our prayers right away, and that it may take years. And she shared that story.  And now, more than thirty years later, I still remember that story.  And her patience.

And I’m reminded that some of the things I’m praying for, that I want to happen NOW, may not happen right away.  It may take years…if ever.  Because I also realize that MY prayers, may not be the best way.  God may or may not answer my prayers the way I want Him to.  And I really don’t like that.

At the same time, I trust that if He does not answer my prayers the way I want Him to, or in the timely manner in which I would prefer, it is probably because He has a better plan.  Or that maybe the waiting is part of His plan.  Because sometimes it’s in the waiting that we grow.  It’s in the waiting that we learn to trust Him.  It’s in the waiting that we have to relinquish our plans and be open to His plans.

And I still don’t like it.  Yet, in a strange sort of way I do.  Because I want to rest in Him.  I want Him to be the comforting all-knowing parent who says to me, “I’ve got this.  Trust me.”

This past Christmas, I was struck in a new way by a fact I’m sure I’ve heard multiple times over the course of my life.  During a Christmas presentation in church, one of the readings mentioned the 400 year wait between the last prophecy about the Messiah and the actual birth of the Messiah, Jesus Christ.  The topic of waiting had already been on my mind.  So the reality of a “400-year wait” caught my attention.

And it was thought-provoking.

Four hundred years is a very long time.  I wonder how many people had given up on the hope of a Messiah.  I find myself marveling at the reality that God made promises – very clear promises – and then did nothing for 400 years.  If God could wait 400 years to fulfill a promise, then I guess He could wait years to answer my prayers.  And I guess I must accept the reality that I must wait.  And not know.  And wonder.  And be frustrated.  And be impatient, discouraged, disappointed, uncomfortable, unhappy.  Or…hopeful.

The Israelites had to wait 40 years in the desert.  Forty years of wandering.  FORTY!  They left Egypt, heading to the Promised Land.  And they waited.  And waited.  And waited.  And I’m sure they wondered, “Will this ever really happen?  Will we ever go to the Promised Land?”

So I have to wonder what the waiting is about.  God could answer any of our prayers immediately.  He could have sent baby Jesus soon after the prophecies of the Old Testament.  He could have led the Israelites straight into the Promised Land.  He could answer my prayers NOW.

He must want us to wait.

I try to grasp this reasoning through the eyes of a parent, recognizing that God is my heavenly Father.  I don’t always answer their requests right away.  Although, sometimes answering them immediately may be easier for me, I know it’s not always best for them.

“Mom, I’m bored.  What can I do?”  When I’m patient and don’t give them answers or easy ways out of boredom, such as watching t.v. or playing with electronics, they often eventually figure something creative out on their own.  Which is often way better than anything I could have suggested.  And required them to think and stretch themselves.

“Mom, I want that new toy NOW!”  Often if I wait, it is much more enjoyable and exciting for them to receive it later for a birthday or a special surprise.  The waiting brought more enjoyment and appreciation when they finally received it.

“Mom, I can’t figure out the answer to this homework question.  Can you just tell me?”  If I allow them to figure it out on their own, or even just slowly guide them, they feel a bigger sense of accomplishment by working it through themselves.  And they actually learn it better.

“Mom, why can’t I have an Istagram/snapchat (fill in the blank) account right now?”  From my parental perspective, I want to wait until I feel like they are mature enough to handle navigating life on the web.  Whether they realize it or not, I am protecting them from things they aren’t ready for and posts/pictures they may later regret posting.  They may not grasp or understand this reasoning until they are older (if ever at all!).

I’m learning to trust God in the waiting.  I’m learning to be open to new ways of being and living, while I wait.  I’m learning that it’s okay to be uncomfortable, even unhappy, with the waiting.  Because in that place of uncertainty, I have to trust in the One who knows all things.  I have to look to Him with hope and anticipation and wonder and be ever-ready to hear His voice and see His handiwork, as I wait for Him to unveil His plan.

I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in His Word I hope; my soul waits for the Lord more than watchmen for the morning, more than watchmen for the morning.           Psalm 130:5-6 

 

 

 

 

 

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4 Responses to Waiting

  1. June Thompson says:

    I recently have read and meditated on a book called Waiting on God, by Anndrew Murray. I liked it so much I bought copies and gave them out to other fellow waiters! I still have two extra copies and would love for you to have one. Call me or email me and I would love to get it to you.!

    • Randy Wood says:

      Hmmm…I wonder what you are waiting and praying for? I’m interested in knowing.

      • June Thompson says:

        Hi, Randy, just saw this today! Mainly I was, and still am, learning to be patient and wait for God to act in his timing, instead of me trying to make things happen. It seems I am always learning to trust and wait!

  2. Ellen Harmeling says:

    Dear Kimberly, thanks for your blog. That word doesn’t sound nice enough for what you wrote!

    Today I was privileged to get to have lunch with Milford. Mariam Clough and I had gone to eat at Family Restaurant on 60 – not my first choice – it’s kind of a greasy spoon, but anyway, while we were waiting to be seated, Miford also walked in so we invited him to join us. I miss him – used to see him in choir and sometimes at your parents’ house. I’m not singing in choir anymore. I dropped out to take care of Bob and now my voice is not so good anymore, so I just listen and enjoy. Anyway, it was a welcome surprise and a pleasant lunch time in spite of the location. By the way I sent your blog on to him as he doesn’t get it, but I’m sure he would like to.

    Your thoughts resonate with me. Waiting is something I have done throughout my life for one thing and another. My father couldn’t understand why he had to wait to die. He was ready, had limitations which were irksome and wanted to get on to something bigger and better. But he waited. I recently came across this verse: Acts 13:36: “When David had served God’s purpose in his own generation, he fell asleep.” That is pretty clear. We know when we will die! When we have served God’s purpose. We don’t know what that purpose is, will probably never know.

    At different times I have had reasons to wait and never knew the reason. We certainly “in the flesh” want things and want them now.

    I don’t know much news from your old home town – or whether you now these or not, but will pass along a few items. David Kennedy Nelson graduated from Erskine this June, put in some time at Huston motors for the summer selling cars and is now teaching physics at the high school. I don’t think this is his permanent goal, but maybe a step to it. Also Suzanna Rawlings graduated last June from —I don’t know. She came and worked for the year at Care Center as an intern. There were 10 or so and they did different jobs. She is now teaching Geometry at the high school. You probably know Amanda Quam is teaching math at the high school and has also bought a house on a street near the Episcopal church. It’s an old house that needed lots of work. Kirby and his wife, Rob and Gail and others helped to get it in good use. She helps alot with youth in our church – I don’t know exactly her position but she spends a lot of time with Stacy Butcher who teaches at Bok Academy (charter school across from Warner Southern – which you may not know is now a university.) Rob has been chairman of the board for two or three years.

    CC now has about 19 buildings! Either given to us or bought. We now own the building that is behind (west) of the hotel. It will be the new thrift store when they can get it ready. The hotel has been sold and sold and has now been painted on the outside, all but the lowest floor. The man who is the 2nd or 3rd owner still plans to fix it up, but, I have my doubts. For years the windows have been open to the weather and with all the new regulations, it will take mucho to get it all back in good shape. We have been given 2 or 3 old houses that didn’t sell, so different ones are living in them.

    Brian Kistner finally got married in the fall of 2015 and just recently had a baby boy! He is thrilled to death, and a bit scared. She was here from Washington or Oregon working on a master’s ( I think) at Webber and they met. She is at least 10 years younger, very tall and very much on the ball. She was in charge of all the interns, is very competent and sweet.

    Micah is the new youth minister – been here a year straight from Erskine. I’m told he has a girl friend somewhere. And a good friend from college is working in the area so has moved in with him. He is living in the building just east of the church on Park which used to be where Literacy and AA met. They all meet in the church now and he lives there. I think it was a move to conserve money – not sure. He is doing a great job with the youth, does children’s sermons once in a while – yes, we are back to doing children’s sermons again.

    Micah and Shane Miller have both been taken under the care of presbytery to attend seminary. They will stay here and do much of it on line. You may not know Shane. He has been around for several years, has married Mary (don’t know maiden name, but she grew up around here) and they have three very young children. He works at CC and has been teaching a class along with the Furland boy who is now married, has a step-daughter. Shane preached at Frostproof Pres last week and helped with worship today. He has also taught Ekklesia for Chad once when he was gone. Mary has now taken over MOPS since Candy is gone.

    Your parents have been here recently two times – once for the end of the loan on the building and once for something that eludes me. I got to spend a few minutes with them, but never enough, of course. They look great, seem to be very involved. I miss them a lot!

    Chad is doing a good job. His sermon this morning, I thought was excellent. He is starting a series on the Beatitudes and this was the introduction. I asked him how Matt was doing and he said he thought he was a bit overwhelmed! Understandably.

    Guess I’ve wander around too long and can’t think of anything more exciting to write about. I’m thankful all is well with you and yours. You both have a huge job of rearing your children in the “nurture and admonition of the Lord” and it appears you are doing just that. God bless you both.

    I love you – give some of my love to Randy also. You both have a special place in my heart. (Have you ever worn your blouse inside out again?) Just had to remind you. Ellen

    ________________________________

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