I walk around the lake on this brisk winter day. It’s desolate save for a pair of bluebirds. What is teeming with expectation in spring and brimming with life in summer is dead at this time of year. Dark and spindly. Frozen. Life buried.
Spring’s promise is obvious. Winter’s? Not so much.
Without a doubt, winter is a season of waiting and waiting can be a thankless job. Waiting puts a pause on the payoff, a condition on things yet to come. In our instant gratification lives, waiting is more than a little painful. The quiet that can come with a wait is unsettling, because in that silent space, I’m forced to get awfully real with myself and also with God. Vulnerable places are not my favorite.
Waiting can appear apathetic….I don’t care so I won’t move…and sometimes waiting is that. Lazy. Emotionless. Lacking thought. Comfortable. Oh yes, sometimes we wait because where we are is just more comfortable than where we should be going. But waiting that is gut-level honest takes strength and courage. It takes stick-to-it-ness. This God ordained wait requires us to faithfully show up day after day, sometimes year after year. Death to self.
Not my way, but Thine.
Noah waited. A year on a boat with only his family, who were probably not super excited about the duration of their cruise. No port side excursions. Amenities were questionable. Oh, and two (plus) of every animal in the world along for the ride. Once he stepped on that boat there is no record of God speaking to him until over 365 days later. How lonely and overwhelming that must have been! As time passed, it would have been tempting to bug out early–they could see land at a certain point, after all. But the absence of a “go” equaled a “wait” for Noah. And then God spoke and they moved.
Abram waited. God called Abram, promised an inheritance and he and Sarai set off on a grand adventure. After a time, God was more specific: a son, the father of many nations. Abram looked around, childless and old–how could this be? He looked with weary, waiting eyes and came to a decision. Abram took God’s promise and jammed it into his own plan. Much as we do daily. Ouch.
Waiting makes my skin crawl and I want to resist because waiting necessitates listening and submission and listening and submission are scary. Waiting on its own isn’t enough. Waiting well is key. I want to wait well. Because with or without me, God is going to have His way, but if I jump ahead, I’m going to have to deal with the consequences of my decisions. And consequences are also not my favorite. I would do well to remember that I am a child of promise, one who God sees. Even when He’s quiet. Waiting, then, isn’t to be feared, but rather it’s a time to rest in God, gain the skills we need for whatever is next in our journey, all the while being ready and willing to move forward when God calls.
Two men. Different missions. Different choices. Both are “Hall of Famers”–listed among the faithful in Hebrews 11. I’m equally encouraged by their victories as their mistakes. Because even when they messed up, God saw them and walked beside them. And He used them.
Just as the promise of new life springs forth at the lake after a season of wintery waiting, so God’s promises in my life will come to fruition at just the right moment.
Wait well. Be vulnerable. Be ready. Open that space up for God to do a new thing in your life. He is faithful.
See, I am doing a new thing! Now is springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland.” Isaiah 43:19