Waiting can be a form of suffering. Waiting for a diagnosis, for someone to come home from duty, waiting to be married, waiting for something you’re praying and hoping for every moment. It can be one of God’s greatest tools for shaping our character to be like His. It’s a vulnerable place. For me it was waiting for a 2nd pregnancy. I won’t begin to say that I truly ‘suffered’ in our 6 months of praying and waiting. But I will say that the Lord taught me so many things and I have such a deeper compassion for the disappointed. Then the good news, we were pregnant! Told our families, couldn’t have been happier. Why did I ever get so impatient or worry??? God had answered our prayers, His promises are true! And then, the unthinkable. A month later I was staring at an empty ultrasound screen where days before there was life, now emptiness. We had lost our baby. I had written this post originally right after we found out about the pregnancy. My waiting was over. I could share all that I learned now that it was. But then I felt compelled to share some of my journal during this process, even after the loss. Not when things were sunshine and roses. But in the middle. Talking about it is both hard and healing.
I have good days and bad days. This has been a devastating loss, one of the biggest in my life. But life goes on, sometimes that hurts because I don’t want it to, I’ll never be the same after it all, and sometimes I’m so thankful it does. There’s still a reason to get up every morning, God is still faithful, unmovable. New mercies every day. He already gave me everything, He doesn’t owe me anything. I’ll probably write more about this loss as time and prayer bring clarity but for now, this is what I know.
If you are suffering, or waiting for answers, or both, this is for you. If you aren’t, you will soon. I’m right there with you. Here it is…
So many times I wished away the waiting, in our instant society we’ve lost the value of waiting. If it’s not right away, something is wrong. And I personally am a planner who is very goal oriented. Much of my life, I’ve decided I wanted something and went after it. But this was out of my control. Your true character comes out when someone tells you no or you don’t get what you want. My 21 month old son, scratches and hits and throws his binky when things don’t go his way. I get jealous, competitive, feel sorry for myself, impatient. But God in His graciousness draws me to Himself.
Because “God always ignores your present level of completeness in favor of your ultimate future completeness. He is not concerned about making you blessed and happy right now, but He’s continually working out His ultimate perfection for you.” (My Utmost for His Highest)
He didn’t give me what I wanted, when I wanted. Because He wanted me to want Him more. “Think of the last thing you prayed about – were you devoted to your desire or to God? Delight yourself also in the Lord and He shall give you the desires of your heart. “ (My Utmost for His Highest) My motives and my heart needed to be adjusted, the Lord needed to be my first love, not even my children or desire for children given to me by Him. Prayer is not just presenting a request and hoping for an answer, it is to know God.
I’m learning that life is so much less about me and more about God’s purposes. What have we lost in an instant society? Anticipation, surprise, patience, discipline, and delayed gratification resulting in maturity and a deeper appreciation for things.
“ And not only that, but we also rejoice in our afflictions, because we know that affliction produces endurance, endurance produces proven character and proven character produces hope. This hope will NOT disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” Romans 5:3-5
I had to learn to be content and to trust.
“Can any of you add a single cubit to his height by worrying?” Matt 6:27
Worry is the antithesis of joy, it robs you of peace, takes away precious time and energy, it is a statement of distrust.
“It is not only wrong to worry, it is unbelief; worrying means we do not believe that God can look after the practical details of our lives.” (My Utmost for His Highest)
“I wait for Yahweh; I wait and put my hope in His Word. I wait for the Lord more than watchmen for the morning – more than watchmen for the morning. Israel, put your hope in the Lord. For there is faithful love with the Lord, and with Him is redemption in abundance.” Psalm 130:5-7
Contentment can be in regards to material possessions and also in regards to present circumstances. Propriety, modesty, and contentment are not valued in our culture, it’s all about newer, bigger better. Advertisers succeed if they make us discontent. Contentment can’t be given, it’s a choice. It comes from humility and is the opposite of entitlement. However, it is not settling for less than God’s best or being apathetic.
Perseverance > Endurance > Character > Hope
The end result is Hope!
“Hoping does not mean doing nothing. It is not fatalistic resignation. It means going about our assigned tasks, confident that God will provide the meaning and the conclusions…It means a confident alert expectation that God will do what He said He will do. It is imagination put in the harness of faith. It is a willingness to let God do it His way and in His time. It is the opposite of making plans that we demand that God put into effect, telling Him both how and when to do it.” (A Long Obedience in the Same Direction by Eugene Peterson)
Even knowing all these truths, waiting is still HARD and not very FUN! Focus on God’s goodness to you, what has He already done? And get to know His character.
“The Lord is gracious and righteous; our God is compassionate…Return to your rest, my soul, for the Lord has been good to you…How can I repay the Lord for all the good He has done for me? I will offer you a sacrifice of thanksgiving and call on the name of Yahweh.” Psalm 116
“For the Lord God is a sun and shield. The Lord gives grace and glory; He does not withhold the good from those who live with integrity. Happy is the person who trusts in You, Lord of hosts.” Psalm 84:11-12
And know that He is answering you, “Jesus never mentioned unanswered prayer, He had the unlimited certainty of knowing that prayer is always answered…God answers prayers in the best way – not just sometimes but every time. However, the evidence of the answer in the area we want it may now always immediately follow.” (My Utmost for His Highest)
I am doing my fair share of sowing, and you may be too, but don’t forget His Word and His promises.
“Those who sow in tears will reap with shouts of joy. Though one goes along weeping, carrying the bag of seed, he will surely come back with shouts of joy, carrying his sheaves.”