Last week we talked about the futility of rushing ahead of God and the importance of waiting on his timing.
This can make sense in our minds, but it’s not always easy to put into practice. The feeling of helplessness is tough when we long to feel in control, to feel that there’s something we can do to end our season of waiting.
But the truth is: sometimes we just have to wait… And sometimes the wait is long… And sometimes we can’t understand why it has to be so long.
What we can do though, is keep our eyes on God- the God of the impossible, the one who can bring sudden and dramatic breakthrough, even after a long wait.
We see this in the Bible- the man sitting by the pool of Bethesda, who had been ill for 38 years, the woman who had suffered bleeding for 12 years and tried every possible solution, the man who had been born blind. Each of them had waited several years, longing for healing- in the case of the man by the pool even longer than I have been alive- but in a single encounter with Jesus everything was transformed.
I have seen it happen in my life too. For years I was seeking God for freedom from the feelings of shame and worthlessness that crippled me. I felt that, like the woman with the bleeding, I had tried everything and nothing had worked. I knew the truth in my head, but I couldn’t find the way to truly believing it in my heart.
It is not an easy place to be: stuck in a situation where you long for change but you feel helpless to move it forward, and it’s even worse when you realise God is the only one who can help you, but it seems that he is silent and you can’t understand why.
The wait seemed like an endless cycle:
- Grasping eagerly at every possible solution that arose: thinking maybe if I read this book, or prayed this prayer, or talked to this person, or took this action it would be the key to unlock the healing.
- Dealing with disappointment as time and time again my hopes were dashed.
- Realising that the only thing I could do was to wait and pray.
- Handling the frustration of prayers that seemed to go unanswered.
- Wondering if there was something I was doing wrong, or if I should just accept things as they were, or if God even cared.
The wait was long and hard and, while I don’t want to dwell on that time, I also don’t want to forget that time. I want to acknowledge that the waiting is part of the story. I don’t ever want to share a testimony that jumps straight to the healing without mentioning the challenge of the waiting, because it is a part of the story that people who are waiting now need to hear.
It is a part of the story that I need to remember in facing other seasons of waiting, because as I remember the waiting, I also remember the impact of the breakthrough that finally came, when God did something that only he could do. Shame was transformed into confidence and despair gave way to hope in a way that was instant but lasting. It was like coming out of a dark, narrow tunnel into a bright spacious place (hence the title of this blog) and remembering that gives me hope.
As we enter this season of Advent, it is a time of waiting: a time of admitting our need and our helplessness, waiting for God to do what only he can do. It is a time of remembering his promises, and it is a time of hope, even in our waiting, because God is faithful.
“The people who walk in darkness will see a great light. For those who live in a land of deep darkness, a light will shine.” Isaiah 9:2 (NLT)
God’s timing may be slower than we would like, but he does know what he is doing, he does have a good plan. No situation is beyond the reach of his transforming power and, though the waiting is hard, when the breakthrough comes it is absolutely worth the wait.
If you are waiting for a breakthrough at the moment I’d love to pray for you. Just leave a comment or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Join me throughout November and December as we explore the topic of waiting. Click here for an index page of all the posts in the series.