Sometimes the wait is so long that we forget what we came for. The wait changes our identity. In the wait, we find ourselves so transformed, that we become ready for the Answer – and that Answer being bigger and more glorious than anything we first imagined..
Once again I’m taking five minutes with the Five Minute Friday #fmfparty gang to write unedited on a theme sent out by Kate Motaung. The word-prompt today is ‘wait’.
(You can join in too – here’s how.)
When I was young, naive, un-hammered by the disappointments of life, I put my trust in Him. I laid some prayers in his hands expectantly. I did more than just ask. I put my heart in his hands too. It was as if the answer to these prayers would be his reciprocity – his answer to my love.
First came the biggest disappointment. My innocent trust at God’s power to heal was confounded. Did God not care? Not know? Not have the power to act? How was my theology off? How could he have failed to answer as I anticipated? It was no minor disappointment… but I started to learn about God’s answers transcending ours, and his perspective of eternity swallowing up time and space and our frail humanity here on earth. Perfect healing comes in being with Jesus…
But the other prayers I’d entrusted to him. Would these also be disappointed? My own self-assurance was now gone, and I couldn’t anticipate how He would act. Year by year, as the long wait ensues, I’ve grown in a realisation that He is Lord of time, and He is the Wise One I’m counting on to act for the best – whether I can imagine that ‘best way’ ahead of time or not.
25+ years later, I’m still waiting on some of those answers. But my heart is still in his hands, and that’s surely the safest place.
By way of observation, I’ve found the strangest thing happening recently. Before, I even found my identity in the place of ‘disappointed’, living a life that is ‘making do’ in the absence of God’s response to those early prayers. Loss of hope is a deeper bereavement than any I’ve known in terms of losing family or friends or relationships. But when it’s God’s time – and I wonder if I’m feeling the early whisps of the winds of God’s answer coming – a hope resurfaces. A vision revisits, and refuses to be ignored. My identity starts to crumble in this ‘shadowlands’ of God’s failure to answer as I’d hoped. I start to see that this is not who I will be, in the end, living in disappointment.
What follows is a preparation time, even before there’s any evidence that God’s answer is on the way. It’s all of grace. My hope was gone, let there be no mistake about it. But I have hung on to the character of God in it – he is undeniably the God of the impossible.
So in response to these early winds of change, I find myself packing up and getting ready for a journey into a totally new identity. I’m looking at my life and assessing what will fit me for the next season of life, when God answers. What am I going to have to let go? What will I need to find, or add to my life for the journey ahead? To experience this change of heart is quite extraordinary, and as I said, it’s still happening before there’s much hint here and now of any answers from God’s hand on the way.
- For those of you who would like to pass some time away in the wait, check out this Literary Clock project – book quotes citing all the times of day that have been mentioned in literature!