the tug of war of waiting on God

photo by @theian20

It’s summertime, friends. My kids have one more week of school.

Hopefully, this means some trips. Which means time in the car. Which, in my car, means whining.

My beautiful daughter really is a pro. It’s astounding. No matter where we are going, she asks how many minutes. Anything more than ten minutes is astronomical to her, and it’s all equal. Thirty minutes? Might as well be seven hours.

It’s just a whole lot of waiting.

Let’s be honest, though. We aren’t much better at waiting as grown ups, are we?

I think I am convinced.

I am convinced that waiting is what makes us the most confused, weary and frustrated.

Grief hurts. But so much of the pain comes from wondering when it will ever end.

Rejection stings. With no end in sight, though, we feel hopeless.

Waiting asks the question: “When?”

When will the pain stop? When will someone finally notice? When will I actually be loved for who I am?

Waiting does more than fray our patience. Depending on our perspective, it can pull us away from God when we bring Him our hopes and our hurts, and wonder when He may answer. It feels very complicated, but is truthfully simple. We have two choices in how we wait, no matter what the circumstances are.

We either trust God or we don’t.

I’m sorry to be so blunt. Just about everything boils down to this truth.

Whether or not we trust changes the journey forward. If we wait in distrust, questioning God’s character and trustworthiness, it does nothing but slow our growth and stunt our maturity. Our attitude does not change who God is. Have you noticed? In the brief, fleeting moments when we finally feel like we’ve arrived somewhere; when we’ve received the answer, we don’t need God so much. We aren’t desperate for His voice or His presence. And just like my sweet Olivia Grace, pitching a fit in the waiting can’t physically altar the time.

How we wait changes everything.

But the truth is that we aren’t the only ones waiting when we call on God. Think about it. God is exerting great and perfect patience when He doesn’t give us what we want immediately after we ask. This is the common example, but it always works. Kids want candy and ice cream for breakfast. (I mean, don’t we all?) I am a firm believer that there are moments when we should all throw off the routine and indulge on infrequent occasions. But while straight sugar may feel fun in the moment, over time, it will take a toll on our bodies. It doesn’t actually serve us.

The things that God has planned for us in the in-between are unparalleled. There isn’t language deep enough to hold the magnitude of His vision for us in the in-between. The process is His favorite part. The talking, the vulnerability, the molding.

I’m currently in a season that I don’t know what to label besides a waiting period. It’s a little in-between. I am unsure of exactly what’s next. While I wait, I play tug of war with my patience in God’s perfect timing and plan. Like whatever is for me next is on the other side of the center line and I’m being pulled back and forth from surrender and trust. Through the years, I have learned that playing tug-of-war this way only hurts me. It also hurts Him.

God is not focused on giving us what we think we want and when. If He were, He would not be truly good. If He were, He would be fickle and a little untrustworthy.

No, our God is Sovereign.
Perfect and kind.
He is King and He is Dad.

We’ve all been tempted to run ahead of Him. We’ve picked up the tug-of-war rope, so heavy in our hands. The thing about tug-of-war is that we’re often tricked into thinking that we’re winning; that the odds are in our favor. It looks like our flag is going to cross that center line, and then suddenly it’s jerked out of our hands.

And if you thought that God was on the other side of the rope, you’re wrong. He isn’t holding the rope at all. He’s next to you, always.

He’s offering another way.
It isn’t easy, but it is good.
It may not be absent of pain, but it it is full of glory.

The prize isn’t waiting at the end, when you receive your answer.
The prize isn’t the end goal.

The prize is standing next to you.
It’s Jesus.

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