If there is one thing I struggle with, it is waiting.
Actually, I think it’s not the waiting itself so much as the uncertainty. If I know I am going to have to wait a certain length of time for something, I can do that, even if the wait is long, but waiting when I’m not sure how long it will take, or even if the wait will ever be over, is hard.
I began a study last week, looking at Wendy Pope’s book “Wait and See” and it was only as I began to get into the study that I realised just how much I have been struggling with waiting.
I feel like I’ve been sitting in the waiting room for a while now. There is something I feel God has been calling me to, but it seems that I am having to wait for his timing and for him to open the right doors.
As I sat down and reflected on all that I have done over the last few years to try to pursue this dream, I realised that I have certainly done all that I can. The lack of progress hasn’t been for want of trying- passivity isn’t really my style- but I feel that I’ve been struggling to move ahead.
I’m sure there have been small steps forward. I have learned some things, and I feel like God has been working. It hasn’t been entirely wasted, but there hasn’t been the breakthrough I would have liked to see, and as I write this, I’m still unsure how to move forward. The ironic thing is that this was never my dream- it is so far from something I would have chosen myself that it can only come from God- but having embraced what I believe to be God’s will, I just want to see it happen.
Of course as I wait, the doubts begin to creep in: I must be mistaken, I must have heard God wrong, if this was really his will surely it would be happening, why would God even want to use me anyway?
In “Wait and See,” Wendy Pope looks at the example of King David. He began as a shepherd boy and no-one ever expected that he would be king. He wasn’t even invited to be there when Samuel was coming to anoint one of Jesse’s sons as king, yet he was the one God had chosen. But even then he had to wait. He knew he would be king one day, but that didn’t become a reality for several years. In the meantime he went back to tending his sheep. The delay didn’t mean that it wasn’t God’s plan or that David hadn’t been chosen- it meant that it wasn’t yet time.
This encourages me that God’s timing is perfect. He chooses unlikely people and he leads them into their calling in his time and in his way. This doesn’t make it easy, but it reminds me that there is purpose in the waiting- it isn’t a waste.
I began watching the Netflix drama “The Crown” this week, and, as soon as I heard one of the lines, I had to immediately press pause to write it down. Anthony Eden, the foreign secretary, has a conversation with King George VI, trying to persuade him that Winston Churchill, the current prime minister, is too old to do the job properly and should be encouraged to resign. The King obviously sees Eden’s underlying motive in desiring the role of prime minister for himself and he replies:
“It is better to be patient and get what you desire in the right time than have high office thrust upon you when you are not ready. I speak from personal experience.”
I have no desires of “high office” but this reminded me that God knows what he is doing when he puts a dream in our hearts and then makes us wait. We may feel that we are ready now, but he is the one who truly knows when we are ready, and if we seek him and walk with him, he will show us the way ahead.
Once again it comes back to my word for the year- surrender: surrendering our ways to God’s, trusting him to lead us forward in the right way at the right time and, in the meantime, learning to wait well.
There is so much more to explore around the topic of waiting, and it also seems an appropriate focus as we approach Advent, so over the next few weeks I am going to do a series looking at some of the challenges of waiting and some of the things the Bible has to say about it- good examples and bad examples of waiting, and how we can do it well.
I hope you’ll join me. This is definitely not a topic where I have all the answers but hopefully we can explore it together. There is no fixed plan for this series but I’ll probably be posting once or twice a week until Christmas.
As for where it’s going… I guess we’ll just have to wait and see!