All of my children were born overdue. I don’t know if my womb was especially comfortable, or they just didn’t want to be born, but all four of them didn’t come out for weeks until after their due date. I stopped answering the phone during those times. “Yes, yes, I’m still enormous. Thank you for calling,” was my standard reply to well-meaning friends and family who were waiting with me. Yet my waiting was more uncomfortable as I was the one who was waddling around the house, hoping and praying to meet my sweet babe sooner rather than later. Sometimes I wondered if I’d be pregnant forever. Thankfully, they were all eventually born.
Waiting and pain seem to be two elements that go hand-in-hand. After recently emerging from a very painful time of my life, I’ve been waiting. Waiting to know why God moved me to a new state. Waiting to find other believers with whom I can share life with. Waiting to heal from devastating soul-pain. Waiting, waiting, waiting.
Waiting is never fun, but is it passive? Is it idly sitting by, twiddling my thumbs and deep sighs? Is it standing still doing nothing and hoping someone else will fix my problems? Is it possible that waiting is active and alive? Could waiting be purposefully setting my expectation on the goodness of God? The Psalmist says it best, “Wait on the Lord; be of good courage, and He will strengthen your heart.”
But what does that look like on a daily basis? How can I wait on the Lord and not feel passive? It’s in my human nature to want to do something, to fix the problems, to be actively seeking restitution for my problems that are plaguing me. So how can waiting be active?
I think the best way to understand waiting is to look at it through the opposite angle. What does it look like to let impatience win and get ahead of God? This is our rational thinking we can “handle it,” charge in on our own strength and not bother God with our petty problems. But like a newborn babe, God’s perfect plan will come in time.
Many years ago, I was taught that reflective listening was a beneficial way to communicate. Reflective listening allows the other person to speak and then the listener reflects back a summary of what the speaker said. It’s not parroting or mimicking, rather it’s respectfully communicating that you fully understand what the person is saying. I think this is the same as waiting on the Lord. As he speaks his goodness over us, we need to reflect back his goodness for our souls to be strengthened in the waiting.
Maybe you’ve been waiting for years. Maybe you’re like David who said, “I am weary with my crying; my throat is dry; my eyes fail while I wait for my God.” In my own waiting, I’ve had to take a courageous stand to reflect back what God has spoken over me, lest I drown in my sorrow. Waiting is like spiritual bench pressing. It’s repeatedly lifting up the word of truth in my mind. It’s strengthening my resolve that God is good and has good things in store for me.
Scripture references: Ps 27:14, Ps 69:3