Hurry, Wait, and Wonder (Part II)
I’m better at waiting than I am at hurrying. That is unless I have to wait when I’m in a hurry, and then that’s ugly.
You know, it’s interesting that the concept of waiting has gotten a bad rap. A wait at a restaurant, a doctor’s office, or a salon is totally a negative thing, an unacceptable thing. I’m not sure that has always been the case. I’m totally guessing, but people from other periods in history had to be very accustomed to waiting for things. Waiting for the crops to provide a harvest. Waiting to go to town to make a new purchase. Waiting for months to hear from family members who lived away. Heck, I don’t know what all kinds of things they waited for, but I know they didn’t live in the time of instant gratification. Essentially, we refuse to wait. Around Christmas and birthdays, I’ll pay outrageous shipping rates because I’m not willing to wait to get my stuff. And if we do choose to wait, we’re generally not happy about it at all.
But waiting is a concept that is often addressed in Scripture – specifically waiting upon the Lord. We don’t wait on the Lord because He is slow or inattentive. We wait on the Lord because He is perfect. Which makes His timing perfect.
God has spent great effort schooling me in waiting on Him – learning the value of the wait. In November 2006, Chris and I first participated in a conversation about being part of a new church in Florence. There was a really small group of us who felt called to be part of something that did not currently exist in our city. I spontaneously combusted after that; I had never been ablaze about anything in my life – period. Until God planted the kudzu of a church start in my heart; it took over my life. All of our lives. In a very good way. We prayed individually; we prayed as couples; we prayed collectively. And I don’t say that to congratulate ourselves. I’m just trying to convey our desperation. We knew what God had told us, but there was no church start in sight. Just a clear call and a white-hot passion. We asked Him for it. We begged Him for it. We read books. We read blogs. We listened to sermons; we studied the Bible together. And it was not until March 2008, sixteen months of many twists, turns, and tears, that we very specifically received an answer to our prayers – NewSpring Church’s Florence campus was coming soon. It has been the greatest move of God that I have ever seen in my life, and I am anticipating much more mind-blowing movement in the future.
BUT, let me be very clear here. The wait is where it happened. The wait is where I pursued Him more passionately than I ever have in my life. The wait is where He pointed out issues in me that needed to change. The wait is where He humbled me, asked me to sacrifice, and taught me that apart from Him I can do nothing. To rob Beth Moore, relationship happens in the wait. The wait is the point. The process is the point. I had to get to a place where I could honestly say, “If the church never comes to be, the process was still worth the journey.” And I think I did reach that point, and I honestly have to admit that as tickled as I am that the answer has come, I miss the wait. Truly. I miss the anticipation and the desperation. Kinda like the anticipation of Christmas morning – only amplified.
So if you’ve been praying a heart’s desire for some time now; don’t assume He said, “No!” He may be setting the table right before you in small ways that you have failed to notice. Seek Him like crazy, listen and watch. ‘Cause it’s the greatest show on Earth, hands down!
In the morning, O Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait in expectation (Psalm 5:3).