As we prayed last night for the end of your season of waiting I thought that perhaps this is a bigger topic I need to reflect on. Yours is just one of many stories of waiting that I’ve come across lately. It seems that the Lord allows us to go through something and then uses it to bring help to others. I also feel like my brief encounter with intense waiting has given me confidence that God is present in waiting.
Every season is a season of waiting
I walked into the post office to see if anything had arrived for us from Belgium. It had been our 2 weeks stretched into 5 with no firm end, just empty promises. Now Rosenort is a small town’s small town, you can’t go anywhere anonymously.
That’s where I met my friend who’s husband was waiting for a heart transplant. It was a moment where I put my head up and realized that I wasn’t the only one waiting. They’d been waiting for a heart before we were waiting for visas, they were waiting after we received our visas. Then, not long ago, their waiting ended tragically, and a new season of waiting began.
This has become clear for me: everyone is waiting. Waiting to grow-up. Waiting for Christmas. Waiting for grades. Waiting in line. Waiting for health. Waiting to get paid. Waiting, waiting, waiting, waiting. What is the big idea with waiting? Are there things we can do while we’re waiting? Are there things we should stop waiting for? Should I change the way I wait? Where is God? Doesn’t he know I’m waiting?
No space is empty
I don’t suppose too many pastors use physics to lead us into understanding about God, but let me try. We used to believe that the gap between things was empty – that’s why we call it space. And outer space then must be very empty indeed. Did you know that You could fit the entire human race in the volume of a sugar cube.1 The rest of the universe is made up of things we can’t see – much of which we can’t even detect, even if the physicists tell us it’s there. There are light waves, radio waves, tv waves, magnetic fields and something called Dark Matter (which is a fancy term for something we can’t measure, can’t predict, can’t describe but we’re pretty sure exists for a reason we can’t imagine). God fills all this “space” with his creation.
What does this say about waiting? That God, who made this universe (which includes Dark Matter) does not consider waiting to be an empty time or a vacant space. For those of us who pray, we can sometimes experience God even more acutely in these space times than when we’re feeling a sense of fulfilment or completion. God lives in the spaces. God is the Alpha (beginning) & the Omega (ending), and he’s also the middle 1/3rd and the final 2/7ths. Psalm 139 confirms this encouragement:
Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
8 If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
9 If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
10 even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.
11 If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me
and the light become night around me,”
12 even the darkness will not be dark to you;
the night will shine like the day,
for darkness is as light to you.
Even physics confirms it, (because God made physics to testify about Himself).
God made you. He made you to wait so that you could be found and that you could find God in the waiting. He really thought of you when he put this whole thing together and wanted you to meet Him. His eye was on you from the beginning, and his plan has been to draw you, entice you into love with Him. It’s what He does.
God is a waiter
I can think of 2 ways that God waits: He waits in loving suspense for the conclusion to the story he’s writing, and he’s waiting on us as the servant God who loves to serve and bring us full joy.
God waits for each person to find Him. He’s not slow and he’s not impotent but rather,
The Lord is gracious and compassionate
slow to anger and rich in love. Psalm 145.8
The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. 2 Peter 3.9
he does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities. Psalm 103.10
He waits. Imagine him as that well dressed waiter standing behind you, watching for your every move – attentive and tuned to you. Before you even know you need something it’s there. He loves surprising you with something you’ve been waiting for. He loves to answer your prayers. Imagine this: knowing what you need, he wants you to ask so that he can give it. When you pray, you can simply agree with what He wants for you.
This ended up being a bit longer than I anticipated, but it would seem that this is an important topic for us. We all need God to help us understand why we wait and we all can expect God to be just as near to us in our waiting as in the receiving of our prayers.
Fill yourself with courage today, for the wait and for the waiter.