Friday, April 8, 2016

Wait on the Lord

"For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence,
for my hope is from Him.
He only is my rock and my salvation,
my fortress; I shall not be shaken.
On God rests my salvation and my glory;
my mighty rock, my refuge is God.
Trust in Him at all times, O people;
pour out your heart before Him;
God is a refuge for us."
-Psalm 62:5-8

I am in one of those life seasons where it feels like nothing is happening. I know that isn't true. Things are happening. Life is beautiful and it is unfolding. Sometimes I need to be reminded of this. My niece is due to arrive in only 5 weeks! I am going to be graduating college next month. I have my doula training coming up, an internship that I haven't quite figured out the details for yet, among other possibilities.

But, the deepest dreams of my heart are buried deep within, dreams that I don't know if they will ever be given as tangible gifts on Earth. I am referring to my desire to get married, to have more children that I raise on Earth, as well as ministry dreams. It feels like God has pushed the giant "pause" button in these areas of my life as I watch everyone else's stories play out around me.

In my unanswered questions, doubts, fears, and concerns... I can hear Him gently asking me to "wait." I hear Him asking me if I will trust Him, His timing and His plan, even if it is the opposite of what I think it should be. Do I trust His character and that He knows best for my life, that He can see the end from the beginning, and knows me better than I know myself? He knows the name of my future husband (if I'm to be married), he knows the names, faces, and purposes of my future children! How can I doubt the God who knows and sees it all? The God who laid down His life that I might have life.

My favorite song lately that has been constantly playing on repeat is "To Those Who Wait," by Bethany Dillon. You can listen to it below (email subscribers click HERE).

Here are the lyrics:

I am waiting on You,
I am waiting on You.
You say You're good to those who wait.

My heart's discouraged,
So I come to You expectant.
You say You're good to those who wait.

Lord, today You know what I need to do,
But You can do more in my waiting than in my doing I could do.
So I won't run anymore.
I'm waiting on You.

Oh, wretched man that I am!
Free me from my distractions.
You say You're good to those who wait.

Then confession and repentance
Find me in the quiet.
You say You're good to those who wait.
Now I know You're good to those who wait.

Lord, today You know what I need to do,
But You can do more in my waiting than in my doing I could do.
So I won't run anymore.
I'm waiting on You.

Oh, my soul,
Wait upon the Lord.
Keep your lamp filled with oil.
Oh, my soul,
Be not deceived!
Wait for Him.
Don't be quick to leave.

Lord, today You know what I need to do,
But You can do more in my waiting than in my doing I could do.
So I won't run anymore.
I'm waiting on You.

Isn't that the most beautiful line - He can do more in our waiting than in our doing we could do. He is showing me that my waiting is not for nothing. It is not accomplishing nothing, even if it feels that way in this temporal world. Even if it feels like He is not working and moving, I trust that He is doing more in my waiting than in my doing I could do. Waiting is meant to be active and faith-building.

I must instruct my soul to wait upon Him. I must remind my soul not to be quick to lead, though I can feel so tempted to take initiative in leading when nothing appears to be happening... whether that be the thought that perhaps I should try online dating, perhaps I need to "get my name out there more" in ministry, perhaps I need to try out different churches where there are more eligible young men.

First of all, no big life decision should be made out of desperation. I am not saying that these things are necessarily wrong for everyone. But I know they would be wrong for me, out of a heart of desperation and distrust. I know that God has specifically asked me to wait even when it appears nothing is happening. Part of learning to wait is trusting that He is doing more in my waiting than I could ever do.

When I was at Ellerslie for the Advanced Semester this past fall, I had a conversation with a woman who is a missionary around the world. The week that she came in to teach us was one of the things that left the most lasting impression on me from my time at Ellerslie.

I asked her about ministry and told her people have essentially told me I need to pursue things further and "get my name out there." But I feel God has asked me to wait and trust Him to open the doors He desires to be opened, which He has faithfully done up until this point. Some people find that lazy or not being serious. I asked her what she thought. She told me that she knew the specific call God had on her life as well and people would say the same things to her. She too felt God telling her to wait. She encouraged me to wait and trust that in His perfect time and way, things will unfold. She shared how through a series of events, God opened doors for her, after decades of waiting upon Him! Decades! I felt the Lord confirming within me that He is asking me to wait as well. And to know that the waiting, even if it lasts for decades, is for a purpose.

So often I believe we put God in a box. We assume He will use us most effectively in our youth. But here is this amazing woman of God that waited until she was in her 50s until God opened doors in ministry. Think of Corrie ten Boom, one of my heroines, and how she started traveling the world sharing her message of God's love and forgiveness, when she too was in her 50s! She shared the Gospel around the globe for close to 40 years. Age is no factor or obstacle to God and it shouldn't be to us either.

This reminds me of something written by R.T. Kendall:

In His Time 
"When God shows us that He is going to use us (and He can do that), we usually tend to think that we are going to see this happen in the next week or two. What often happens is that it is a long time before God gets around to using us as He has planned. Take Moses.
When Moses grew up, he refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter, "choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season" (Hebrews 11:25). Moses thought that when he left the palace and identified himself with his brethren, they would clap their hands and say, "Welcome. We've been waiting for you to come." The truth is they rejected him, and Moses needed another forty years of preparation.
It may be a good while indeed before God's greater purpose in us will be realized. It could be that you, too, are in a similar situation. Perhaps you are older and you have yet to see what God's greater purpose in your own life is. Perhaps you have just about given up. You thought at one time that God was going to use you. You were convinced of it. God's message to you right now is: the end is not yet."

As we are in the waiting, what should we be doing? It shouldn't be a time of doing nothing. We should be actively seeking Him... through studying His Word, getting plugged into a local church, reading books and articles, praying without ceasing, building relationships with other believers, and being faithful to love the people He places on our path. Carry on with your life because tomorrow is not guaranteed and neither is what you think or hope your life will be.

We are to be abiding in Him, for it is only out of a close relationship with Jesus Christ that an effective and fruitful ministry can flow out. Remember, He is the vine and we are the branches (I encourage you to read and study John 15 in depth).

Remember that our identity is not in our occupation, marital status, or even in ministry. Even if everything in this life were stripped away, we still have Him. Our identify is in Christ.

There are a lot of things I don't know or understand about my future. What about my health issues? What job am I supposed to get? How will I provide for myself? Will I ever be able to purchase a house on my own? Will I be lonely spending my life as a single woman?

He is sovereign over all my life circumstances. 

In the past 2 days, I have heard 2 separate teachers say the same thing (clearly God is speaking to me in this)... I need to be not looking at what God has withheld, the things that everyone around me appears to be given, but instead looking at what He has provided and being thankful for those things. I need to receive all things in my life as coming directly from the Lord.

Waiting on God will always be a theme in our lives, even though what we're waiting on will change.

No mistake or sin on our part can cause His plans to unravel. I need to remember that too. We cannot ruin His plan. Submit your life to Him and trust He can redeem those places that feel too broken.

"I know that You can do all things, and that no purpose of Yours can be thwarted." -Job 42:2

There are many more quotes and things on my heart I wish I could share, but for now I need to wrap this up.

Be encouraged, dear reader. He is El Roi, the God who sees. He sees your circumstances, your dreams, your heart. He sees everything about you that nobody else does. He has a perfect and beautiful plan, even if it doesn't match your own. He is asking you to wait. Are you willing to give everything to trust Him and wait upon His will for your life? Whatever it is you are waiting on... direction, guidance on where to attend college, what degree to pursue if one at all, who to marry and if you'll marry, longed-for children, what job to get, how your ministry will unfold, etc... He is with you. He desires what's best. He knows what's best. He is a faithful Shepherd.


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