During Seminary, my husband and I felt the Lord was stirring in our hearts to move to New England for ministry. This desire became a passion and something we would think about often. We would go on walks around campus talking and dreaming about a future life in New England and would yearn for the time to go by quickly so we could move to start this new ministry.
A newly engaged couple will have a day-by-day countdown until the day they become one. They anticipate it with excitement and desire for the time go by quickly. Eager parents wait nine months for that beautiful baby to be born. A family separated by distance will count down the months and days until they can see each other again. Even during this time of quarantine, we are quick to look ahead for a time of “normalcy” and the ability to go to places we want to go to. So often we look ahead with excitement for a change or reunion that we often forget to dwell in the now.
Elisabeth Elliott wrote a book, Passion and Purity, telling the story of the courting time between her and Jim. She talked about how that middle time was difficult but also a time for growth for them. This waiting time helped them both realize what God had called them to separately and as a couple. While they wanted to be one during that time, they found their dependence on Christ and fell more in love with Christ during that time. Waiting periods are inevitable; we all experience them. The question, “is how will you use your time during this period?”
The Bible gives us a lot of insight of waiting periods. In the Old Testament, we see the Israelites waiting while as slaves for a redeemer, you see the Israelites again waiting to enter the promise land while wandering around the desert for forty years, you read about Ruth and Naomi waiting for the Kingsman redeemer during a time of famine and death, and you read about Paul desiring to be with other believers while he is in chains or in another area serving. In each of these situations, the waiting time is important. It is during this time that the Lord is teaching and growing his people. We are challenged during the waiting period to lay aside ourselves and find our dependence on Christ.
If you are anything like me, I usually despise the waiting period. I can be impatient and try to fly by this time so I can get to my “exciting moment.” However, when we do this, we miss something great. We miss the privilege to find our rest in Christ. We miss the moments of being able to remind ourselves that our refuge is in Him; in the good and in the bad. This waiting period helps us focus our attention on Christ so that when the exciting time occurs, we are prepared and ready to continue depending on Christ. Rather than rushing, let’s try to slow down and rest in Him.
“Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you (1 Thess. 5:18).” We need to be thankful for this waiting time and seek to glorify Christ. The Israelites were in the desert for forty years waiting to enter into the promise land. During those years they learned to trust and depend on Christ, they learned what a great God they served, and they learned how sinful they are and in need of Him. These years were not easy, and I am sure they complained and longed for the day to enter into the promise land. However, they learned and grew. That time was precious and important in the lives of the Israelites. We serve a sovereign and good God, so friends don’t brush by this time flippantly. Let’s take this time to grow and fall more in love with Christ.
During this time of rest and waiting let’s pray. Pray for the future event or ministry the Lord has for you. Pray for lost family members and friends. Pray for your current circle of people that you can pour into, and pray for growth. This waiting time was not unplanned, instead it is a gift. It is a gift from God to prepare you for the next chapter He has for you. Let’s refocus our life back to Christ and find joy in the waiting time. Soon the waiting time will be over and the moment you have been waiting for will be here; at the that time lets pray that we will be able to say our refuge is in Christ and our hope is in Him.
“Trust in Him at all times, O people; pour out our heart before Him; God is our refuge for us. Selah.”-Psalm 62:8
Soli Deo Gloria,
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