It's April 12 and we are definitely in a waiting period. The Coronavirus aka Covid-19 aka Black Plague of 2020 has reached us and slowed our fast paced world way down. So what do we do now? Wait it out? We all know, no one likes waiting. It's inconvenient. It's irritating. Especially for kids. The last thing my kids ever want to hear from me is "not right now".
We live in a society of instant gratification. People want things and want things done right now. Especially if you're a go-getter. For the most part, the internet and modern day technology can accommodate. We have grown into a society of not having to wait for much of anything. However, God works on a very different time schedule than that of society.
I always use the analogy that I am like an impatient child when it comes to God. Like God is constantly going "good grief, what is she doing now? I told her to just sit still a minute and I would help her!" (pretty sure my guardian angel Earl stays pretty perturbed at me too). Anyone who has children, knows what I'm talking about. How many times have you uttered to yourself "man, it's quiet...I got a lot done." Maybe while the baby was sleeping or the kids were at school or at Grandma's house.
When we are in our waiting season, we have a tendency to get quiet and still. God is like do you hear that...silence! And He's like us as parents. He's going to get some stuff done while it's peaceful and quiet! It's not that He can't accomplish this when we aren't sitting still. I mean, after all, He is God. He can do pretty much whatever He wants, when He wants.
"Something actually happens while nothing is happening."
But why is it so hard to just be still and wait. This is not something that is new to us. We have to wait all the time! On the bus. On that oil change (that reminds me, my car is due for inspection). On the line at the checkout behind the little old lady counting out her pennies from her coin purse. On your wife to get ready. But not only that. Our Christian lives are about waiting. We are geared, whether we realize it or not, that we are always waiting on God to lead, heal, provide, move, direct us to the "what's next".
Where we as humans mess it all up is our need to control it. Some of us have had to teach our teenagers how to drive. I just held my breath and cringed all over again. You want to trust they know what they are doing and let them do it. But still, that need to control their every move, dictate, yell, scream, stomp a hole in the passenger side floorboard where your invisible brake is, resisting the urge to grab the steering wheel is very real. Anytime I'm riding with someone (and by someone, I mean me) who gets their road rage feathers ruffled because the car in front of them might not be going 5 over the speed limit and is slowing them down, I always say "You know, they might be saving you from a car accident ahead."
So how do we prepare for what we have no idea is being done for us in this waiting period? How do you prepare for such an uncertain season that might lie ahead of you?
First, let's understand why God does this. God is always inviting us to trust in His goodness today and in His faithfulness tomorrow. He is doing it for His glory but it is for US. We are much more apt to hear it louder, clearer, better and understand it more when we are still. He does this because He wants us to:
1. Trust in Him. He wants us to let go of the steering wheel. He is not your 15 year old anxiety filled teenage daughter who just swerved off the side of the busy road because a bunny ran across in front of her (not saying I did that, not saying I didn't either). He's a pretty experienced driver. Letting go of the wheel, frees up our hands better so that we can put them together in prayer to Him.
2. Patience in Him. I was never a patient person growing up. I think mine was more anxiety driven than instant gratification. Nothing will teach you patience like being in the waiting. I look back on all the times the past several years where I've been forced to slow it down and just wait on Him. The goodness that has come from every single time is so yummy and it makes me crave what He has in store for me next. It's like waiting on breakfast to get done. You know it's coming. You can smell it. You can already taste it. God is waiting for you to sop up His goodness like a biscuit sopping up gravy. "Wait for the Lord; Be strong and let your heart take courage; Yes, wait for the Lord. Psalm 27:14
3. Teach us humility. God owes us nothing really. He already gave His son. There is absolutely nothing we could ever give in return to repay Him for that. We are but a breath in life. Sometimes some of us just need a big slice of humble pie! You ever been around someone who is humble? I love humbleness in people. They just have such a sweet spirit about them and most are pretty wise. Wonder why...maybe because they've been in many a waiting season and have learned from it? Hmmmmm...... "You have made my days a mere handbreadth; the span of my years is as nothing before you. Everyone is but a breath, even those who seem secure." Psalm 39:5)
4. To clear the stage. Stage? What stage? Are we performing tonight? Wrong stage. There is a christian song called "Clear the Stage" by Jimmy Needham. (if you click the title Clear the Stage, it will take you to a link to listen to the song). It reminds us that ANYTHING AND I MEAN A.N.Y.T.H.I.N.G. we put before God no matter how small it might seem, becomes our idol. He wants us to see only Him first. Seek Him first. Wake up to Him first. Not your phone. Not Facebook or Twitter. Not your boyfriend or girlfriend. Seek Him first throughout the day. Not that 6 pack of tacos you just picked up from the Bell. How much money you have in the bank. Your worth...and those tacos...can't provide and sustain you. God can. He is your first and foremost! "Dear children, keep yourselves from idols." 1 John 5:21
5. To sanctify us. He wants us to be set apart. And be pure. We are His children. Every parent wants their child to shine. To be proud of them. He's teaching us to shine in these moments. Polishing us. (But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. 1 Corinthians 6:11)
So while you are waiting, focus on God. I have seen more communities, more people, more families come closer in this quiet time we are in than I've seen since probably 9/11 happened. More people have made comments about how this Easter spent in this waiting season meant more to them than any other Easter ever has. I'm seeing more of my neighbors out riding bikes and waving to each other. They're talking to each other from across their yards (have to obey that 6 foot rule). More people just "popping in to say hey and see how you are doing." People are smiling. People are laughing. People seem to be caring about others. More people reading their bibles. But not just reading. They are studying it. Getting lost in God's word. Their hearts seem so FREAKING FULL!
Moses. Sarah and Abraham. Joseph. Joshua. Ruth. Elijah. Just a few examples in the bible of people who had to endure a waiting period. Good gosh, some of them had to endure 40 years or more of waiting. Can you imagine? We start getting all bent out of shape if it takes longer than 30 seconds for your YouTube video to load.
So how do we prepare for the uncertain season ahead?
God is doing the work.
All we have to do is have faith in Him.
AND IN THAT STILLNESS, FAITH WILL GROW. “The LORD will fight for you while you keep still." Exodus 14:14
Slow down. Take time. Breathe in He said. He'd reveal what's to come.
The thoughts in His mind. Always higher than mine. He'll reveal all to come.
Take courage my heart. Stay steadfast my soul. He's in the waiting. He's in the waiting. Hold onto your hope. As your triumph unfolds. He's never failing. He's never failing.