I read something today that reminded me that so many of us spend a lot of our time “between” things. We are waiting — we’re ready to move on in life but circumstances and developments and just plain time haven’t progressed far enough for us to get moving. So we wait.
I remember specific times in the past when I was in life’s waiting room. I spent most of that time fretting about the thousand and one things that might end up going wrong and thwarting the plans I had for that future I was waiting for or, more commonly, fretting at myself for not having plans! I felt impatience and urgency at a time when patience was called for and urgency was premature. It is tough to wait. The cloud of the looming future follows you around and can darken even the brightest day and insert a depressing solemnity into the wonder and fun that is life.
It is during times of waiting that I often begged God to show me what He was doing. Now, having lived a while longer, I can look back and realize that what He was doing was preparing me and others for the plans He had. I regret that I didn’t enjoy those times more. I didn’t like waiting, especially because I didn’t know what was going to happen. I wanted the musical score of my life to hit a climax right then, not realizing that I was on measure 8 and the master Conductor was even then preparing to swell the music, through various movements of beauty and awe, sadness and joy (and much that was to my ear mundane) toward His soaring and majestic triumph in measure 86! Everything has to be kept in time and working together, even if I want the tempo to snap it up a bit.
Thank God I’m not directing the orchestra.
Yes, He is perfectly capable.
To whom then will you compare me,
that I should be like him? says the Holy One.
Lift up your eyes on high and see:
who created these?
He who brings out their host by number,
calling them all by name,
by the greatness of his might,
and because he is strong in power
not one is missing.
– Isaiah 40:25-26 (ESV)
With eyes downcast we wonder if God’s even there. He asks us simply to look up. The more we learn about our universe, the work of His hands, the more we bow in awe. The starry host of heaven is his creation, and every one of these trillions He has called by name. ”The heavens declare the glory of God” – yes they do, in all their mindblowing beauty and in the way our brains crumble at the attempted comprehension of the vast distances, forces, beauty and raw power of the controlled nuclear explosions we call stars and all the infinitesimal and (to me) bizarre quantum particles that make up this extraordinary place we call home.
He calls them all by name. But what of you? Does He know you?
Why do you say, O Jacob,
and speak, O Israel,
“My way is hidden from the Lord,
and my right is disregarded by my God”?
Have you not known? Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He does not faint or grow weary;
his understanding is unsearchable.
– Isaiah 40:27-28 (ESV)
Yes, he does. And He knows you throughout eternity, from the foundation of the world. He’s not tired of you, and you don’t confuse Him. He “gets” you. If you are His, you are His beloved child and of far more value than the stars.
He gives power to the faint,
and to him who has no might he increases strength.
Even youths shall faint and be weary,
and young men shall fall exhausted;
but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength;
they shall mount up with wings like eagles;
they shall run and not be weary;
they shall walk and not faint.
– Isaiah 40:29-31 (ESV)
And when your patience is thin and your strength is gone you can call on Him. He will teach you the joy of waiting, of being renewed, of walking, of running. . .
. . . and of flying!
I’m the type of christian that can probably be defined as as “a follower of Christ often characterized by spiritual attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, usually expecting instant spiritual gratification as well as expedited, decidedly effortless christian maturity.” God spoke Psalm 46:10 especially for christians like me. It’s been a difficult but extemely valuable lesson.
I am always hesitant to post anything. It’s weird, but every time I want to post, a feeling of shyness overwhelms me. Sometimes, I can overcome it, but not usually. Well, I think I can overcome it for just this moment because I really want to thank you for writing this today. Impatience in the ‘between’ times of life has always been a problem for me (I am a Narnia fan, and so I refer to it as the ‘Wood between the Worlds’ because it seems to last forever, when I so want to jump into a pool of water). I am starting to get into my ‘grown up’ years, although I don’t feel ‘grown up’ (I often wonder when I will), and I am now realizing that time really does fly by. With this new realization, my impatience with the ‘between’ times has been more of a struggle for me. I really want to enjoy every part of life, not just the more exciting ones. Foolishly, I have never gone to the Lord about this. God used your post today to show me that this is something only He can give me the grace to overcome.
Anyway, I just wanted to say thanks.
Hmmm – the “wood between the worlds” – I hadn’t made that connection but what a great observation! (I’m a Narnia fan too 🙂
Bobby – thanks for reminding me of Psalm 46:10
Oh, and B, no need to feel shy – I like what you write
So much of the time I’m thinking of or doing only things I want or would like to do, making my desires into really big things. Then, I come into the presence of God, and I feel very small and insignificant. At those times I think, “How can you love me, Lord? And, why?” Sort of a paradox where a lot of the time I act as I’m the only thing that matters but then before God that I don’t matter at all. The greatness of God is so evident, as you’ve wonderfully laid out, from the vastness of outer space and all that it contains to the smallest parts of cells — and He knows it all. So often, it’s hard to believe I can be found in all that. Then, chalk up my unworthiness — and I’m running for Tarshish, trying to avoid God for all of the little I’m worth. Thanks for reminding me that He does know, and He cares.
My character really needs so much work. I’m pretty sure God keeps me in the wilderness for my betterment, but I still haven’t come to the point of finding joy in the waiting yet. I hope to, though, because I figure to be out there in that waiting period a lot. Especially in my writing endeavors, but also in even more personal matters.
You give me a lot to look forward to, Bill, and have done it in a beautiful way. Thanks again.
just wanted to say…
“didn’t like waiting, especially because I didn’t know what was going to happen. I wanted the musical score of my life to hit a climax right then, not realizing that I was on measure 8 and the master Conductor was even then preparing to swell the music, through various movements of beauty and awe, sadness and joy (and much that was to my ear mundane) toward His soaring and majestic triumph in measure 86! Everything has to be kept in time and working together, even if I want the tempo to snap it up a bit”…
is beautifully written.
and so true. i don’t have big words or huge ideas or theories, but i just want to encourage you to keep this stuff up. it’s encouraging, to come here everyday and read what you’re feeling, what you’re thinking. thanks for letting God talk through you, and for being transparent enough not to mess it up trying to put it in your words, or even understand all of it.
You bless me.