A verb that, according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, means to stay in place in expectation of.
I am just now exiting a season of waiting. For the last couple of weeks I had been waiting for God to not seem so silent. For Him to not seem so far away, and honestly, it was hard and it was LONG. What I was feeling was me trying to deal with the fact that God seemed to be silent or that he was feeling a little farther away than usual, but I knew the truth. The truth is that he was and is right here with me, but that did not make this season of waiting any easier.
While all this had been going on I was thinking what is God trying to teach me? What can I learn during this wait? Well I have come up with four things so far.
- It is uncomfortable.
It is uncomfortable because it makes you think. One of the things that I needed to think about was if I was only feeling this disconnect with God because he was not answering prayers the way I wanted. Obviously, I am a planner and I had a plan and I wanted things to be on my timeline. When that did not happen I got frustrated. However, this is not the only time I have told God what my plan was and it did not go my way. How many times do we do this? We pray and we tell God how awesome we think it will be to do something on our timelines and then get frustrated when we do not get our way. In the last couple weeks I have come to the conclusion that God must shake his head at me multiple times a day saying, “Girl, have I not provided for you for your whole life? I got your back, just trust me. I love you.”
It is uncomfortable to be out of control of a situation. It is uncomfortable to not know when exactly something is going to happen for you or if something will happen for you. It is uncomfortable when things seem to be happening for others at the exact time they want, but here you are waiting. It is uncomfortable for God to feel silent. For Him to feel just out of reach. Lastly, it is uncomfortable because we can realize that we spend far too much time thinking about what we want and being self focused that we lose focus on Jesus. God is not a genie. He is not a magic 8 ball. He is our father who cares for us, provides for us, and loves us immensely more than we can imagine. He listens to the prayers we cry and His love for us is true. So I have learned that yes, this waiting period was uncomfortable, but he was right by me all along and sometimes a little discomfort does the soul some good.
2. I distract myself with noise.
When I am in a situation where waiting seems to be the only thing I can do I have learned that I distract myself with noise. With all kinds of noise. Radio, podcasts, time spent on social media, talking to friends on the phone, TV, movies, etc. Anything to help me not have to wait in silence where I would have to wrestle with my thoughts. This goes for any period of waiting, not just the spiritual waiting I was in these past few weeks. I do this all the time. Whenever it is the week before I fly home to see my family I am so impatient that I have to fill the time with other things. Distracting myself so that minutes will seem to pass by quicker. How often do you distract yourself with noise? When you are going through something hard do you do things to keep yourself busy so you do not get caught up in your thoughts that come in silence?
How often do we miss opportunities in the waiting period because we have distracted ourselves with noise? It can feel as though we jump from waiting for one thing to the other, but we cannot not live life in those waiting periods. You will miss so much of life if you do not look up and learn to see the joy in the waiting period.
3. Waiting helps us grow.
I am going to specifically talk about my devotion life here in terms of growing. Initially when I started feeling like God was being a little distant I was asked if something had changed in my devotional life and nothing seemed to have changed, but my devotion style has been the same for about the last 7 years. Pray. Read the Bible. journal. pray. So I took the next few weeks and tried other things. I looked up other styles of prayer journaling and tried them. I tried different forms of prayer. I started looking at smaller chunks of scripture at a time and trying to look at it in different ways. It was fun. It is fun, because I am still trying to mix up how I do my daily devotion time.
I think that in a time of waiting we have the opportunity to grow if we take it. Try something new! You never know, it might just change your perspective on a situation.
4.God never leaves you alone.
The Creator of the universe has given us the knowledge and comfort of knowing He will never leave us. He showed us the greatest act of love by His death and resurrection for our sin so that we may have that eternal life with Him. Why would he do that just to leave us? He would not. There are multiple times in the Bible that God shows us He does not leave His people. Even when we get self focused. Even when we are in the hardest times of life. Even when He seems silent. He is there. He is continually there. Arms wide open.
Not only is he always there, but he gives us the people in our life to show us His love as well. In the last few weeks I have talked to so many people who said they have experienced seasons like the one I was going through. It was comforting to know that others go through the same thing. To not feel like something must be wrong with me because my relationship with God is not always picture perfect. It is scary to be open and vulnerable with people. It is scary to admit to that we struggle, but the feeling of knowing someone else has had those same struggles brings comfort and peace.
There are other things I have learned, but I think these four things are things we can all learn and apply to many situations in our lives. There is always something to learn in the waiting period so try to enjoy the ride.
Until next week.
Peace and love my friends.