Steady in the Storm, Chapter Eight: Promises and Obstacles
“Obstacles and adversities are not promise breakers, they are tough seasons that we have to face while holding true to the promise God has spoken over our lives.”
I won’t lie to you. Sometimes I read my own book and think, “Wow, I wish I could be more like that” or “Humm… I should do that” and “That’s good advice”. We preach what we most need to hear. That’s what makes us experts, we’ve lived it, are living it and will most likely live it again until we achieve level expert.
Sometimes the obstacles and adversities of life are obvious, striking us in the face, blocking our path, forcing us to chose a better way. In my experience, however, I find that adversities have been the most mundane, boring and tiresome part of life.
During more than one season of my life I have likened my current circumstance to that of a doctor’s waiting room. You’ve arrived on time, but they are running behind, leaving you to puruse through the magazines from five years ago, giving you suggestions on how to spruce up your wardrobe for fall, while simultaneously making you regret your fashion decisions from five years ago. You huff and sigh and wait for them to call your name. Will it ever happen.
I hate waiting. I’ve never been a patient person, especially when I feel my dreams are on the other side of the waiting room. I want to push forward, forcing my way through the door and demand that it’s my turn!
God has never promised us immediate gratification. In fact, I feel he’s against such things. Jesus seems to be all about the waiting. Waiting for the right time, season, moment, but most of all I think he’s waiting on us. Waiting for us to grow up, smarten up, listen up and step up. He’s waiting for us to mature, to grow deeper into ourselves and deeper into him. He wants our understanding to lengthen and our wisdom to mature.
It happens every time I’m in a waiting season. I go through the immature emotions of spiritual tantrums and bursts of faith-rage, blaming God for holding me back. I then seem to reach a place where my tantrum has worn itself out, like a child screaming on the floor, only to fall asleep face first in their toys. This is the place of turning over my will. I learn to settle into the waiting and learn to bide my time.
When we shift from telling God to do something to asking what we can do, this is where the growth happens, and in my experience, shift happens shortly after. I’m in the stage where I’m waking up from my tantrum nap, Lego stuck to my check, asking God what I can do. He’s giving me things, and they aren’t super spiritual or earth shattering either, they are ‘clean-house’ type things. They are ‘get ready’ type things. I don’t even know what I’m getting ready for, but I feel God making a check list and he needs my help.
Waiting doesn’t look like doing nothing, waiting for your name to be called. It looks like doing what is before you. Cleaning house so to speak. It’s character shaping. I’m not at the point in life where I can loudly claim I have the years of experience to know, but I have started noticing the pattern. Waiting has taken up more of my years than the execution. The waiting is the long climb to the top of the mountain and the execution is the ten minute photo op at the top. You then turn your butt around and climb down the mountain. More waiting.
Learning to embrace the waiting is probably the hardest lesson I have to relearn, over and over. What does waiting look like for you right now? Are you in the spiritual-tantrum phase, the nap-face-first-in-the-toys phase, or are you waking up with Lego stuck to your face, asking God what you can do. I feel like I’m finally in ‘doing’ stage and he’s giving me a check list.