I remember being a teenager and having to get braces on my teeth, which in those days upped your “geek factor” immensely! I was told it would be for 18 months. They would be off by high school–Perfect! Almost four years later, and nearly graduating, they finally came off. I guess my teeth were stubborn! Every appointment after the 18-month mark, I asked the orthodontist, “When?”, to which he always replied with a non-committal “I can’t say for sure”. Waiting.
Life is full of waiting times and the end result can be exciting , disappointing or just frustrating. The reality is, with modern technology, we’re more used to “now” and “today.” For the most part, we’ve lost the discipline of “waiting”–let alone, as David in the Psalms says, “waiting patiently.”
During the season of Lent, we, too, are waiting. We are in a time of somber reflection but we are waiting, looking ahead to the miracle that is in Easter! Perhaps you are in some type of waiting period in your life today. If you are, may I offer you some thoughts for your journey:
1. Wait with EXPECTATION
Sometimes, while we are in a waiting pattern, we can lose faith and think God has forgotten about us. I like what The Message says in 1 Peter 4:12, 13: When life gets difficult, don’t jump to the conclusion that God is not on the job…. In other words, we need to be mindful that God is always at work. Sometimes our waiting is a “divine delay”; God is keeping us from something that might actually be harmful to us or He is prolonging the time because He is preparing something better! I have experienced this in my life! Likewise for us, we may not see it, His timeline may not be our timeline, but He is never late or early. The 40 days of Lent is a slow and deliberate march toward Easter, but Easter is coming, and it teaches us to wait for God’s timing–perfect and miraculous!
2. Wait with CONTEMPLATION
Waiting does not mean inactivity. As we await Easter, we prepare ourselves through prayer, reading, journalling, reflection, confession, and perhaps self-denial. The Scriptures say draw near to God and He will draw near to you. (James 4:8) We incorporate spiritual practices to draw near to God so that He can do a work in our lives. During times of waiting, I believe God always wants to do a work of some kind in our hearts or lives to perhaps prepare us for what is to come. Waiting is a time to draw near to God and to contemplate–who am I becoming through this? Philippians 1:20 says He who began a good work in you will be faithful to complete it. God is always concerned with who we are becoming–that we are growing in Christ-like character, becoming more and more like Jesus. He begins with the end in mind! Refining takes time. Waiting refines us. Philippians tells us He is committed to that process.
So take heart, my friends! Psalm 46:10 says, Be still, and know that I am God–I love this verse because it reminds me that He is in charge, not me. When I am waiting, I know I am waiting on and with the One who is all-powerful and all-knowing. I can trust Him. Easter is coming!
Contributed by Mandy Trask