Wait.

Wait.

Hold on. Sit tight. Don’t move.

Wait.

[weyt, verb] – to stay where one is or delay action until a particular time or until something else happens.

“Well, what are you waiting for?” It’s a question I wish I always had an answer to. Truthfully, it’s a question I wish I didn’t have to ask myself so often. No one likes to wait, and few people know how to truly wait well (I am historically not one of those people). It makes us feel stagnant, purposeless, and empty. It makes it seem like you can’t quite do anything until you get an answer from the boy, or the job, or the school.

Underneath the waiting is the reality that there is something we want, but don’t have. There is a thing, or a place, or a person that we long for, yet find ourselves without. It’s the perfect opportunity for ungratefulness, lack of trust in God’s goodness, and intensified focus on self. It gives us chance to wave our arms and shake our fists, asking God why He’s forgotten.

But what if it’s not about what we wait for or how long we wait, but rather what we do in the waiting? If Jesus is really after your heart (and boy, do I believe He is), then it’s not just about enduring the time between “please” and “thank you.” It’s about being formed to His likeness in between.

The season of advent recently reminded us that we wait for the promises of a sovereign God to come to pass in our lives.

Sometimes it’s tangible:

“And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High.” {Luke 1:31}

Sometimes it’s not:

“And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” {Philippians 4:7}

If we believe that God is good and for us and intricately involved in both our desiring and our receiving, then our waiting must be seen through the lens hope.

Like the little ones on Christmas Eve, struggling to sleep but finding it impossible because they know what they will find when morning comes. They wait with unshaking expectation. There is no question of if there will be gifts and giggles – it is simply a matter of when the night will end.

Could we wait with such expectation? Submission laced with certainty to lead us to a place of confidence in the One we trust.

Now Yahweh surely isn’t Santa Clause and I have no intention of hoping you believe so. But the waiting modeled for us in Scripture is wrecking me a bit this holiday. It was full of expectation, hope, and anticipation.

The word waiting is often translated as looking for and even receiving. There was a confidence in their expectation that demanded something would be done, and though they surely didn’t know all the details, they knew their God would come through.

“If the Lord makes us wait, let us do so with our whole hearts; for blessed are all they that wait for Him. He is worth waiting for. The waiting itself is beneficial to us: it tries faith, exercises patience, trains submission, and endears the blessing when it comes.”

-Charles Spurgeon

We wait because it strengthens our trust in Yahweh’s promises. We wait because it heightens our sensitivity to His voice. We wait because it reminds us that He is God and we are not.

As you enter the new year waiting for that thing, press in to the longing that lies beneath the want. Wherever you find yourself and whatever you are waiting on, do so with your whole heart. Make a list of things you’re waiting for and match each with a lesson to be learned in the waiting. Ask Jesus to make Himself known in your waiting and trust with confidence that He will speak and lead you along the way.

Here’s the thing: you will always be waiting for something. And a life fully lived is a life that is all-in to each & every moment of each & every day. Learning to wait well allows us to fully indulge in the joy that today brings, trusting that the unwritten days & decisions will unfold exactly as our King sees fit.

You can wait well because you follow the unchanging Giver of good gifts (James 1:17). You can anticipate because He is able to provide exceedingly beyond your wildest dreams (Ephesians 3:21). You can be the example-setter of patience and endurance because you have everything you need right now to be holy (2 Peter1:3).






 

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Those Who Mourn.

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.”

Matthew 5

“I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.”

John 10:10

The beatitudes have long been prized as humbling promises that we are taught to desire. The reality is that although they are beautiful to hear, they are quite hard to live. The funny thing about them is that we want the effect without the cause. We want the kingdom of heaven, but we don’t want to be poor in spirit. We want to inherit the earth, to be satisfied, and definitely to receive mercy. But we don’t always want to be meek, to hunger and thirst, or to… (gasp) show mercy.

I think that most of all, we want to be comforted. We want shoulders to lean on. We want trusted arms wrapped tightly around us. We want kind words, and we want friends to catch the tears. We want to be comforted.

And the fervor with which we want to be comforted is usually matched by a refusal to mourn. We refuse to admit hurt, and brokenness, and pain. We run from memories and fight when sudden instances take us unexpectedly to those moments.

But these beatitude promises are conditional. They are dependent on our willingness to do the hard things. And I’m coming to believe that that is what makes them so beautiful, so desirable to our fickle hearts.

I think somewhere deep inside we know that we were created for more than mundane surviving. We are not designed to just scrape by in life. We were created for abundance, for deep, deep joy.

Could it be possible that this richness, this deep, unshakeable joy, hinges on our willingness to do the hard things?

When I traveled to a tiny island in the Mediterranean Sea after my college graduation, I lived with the loveliest family. The Passmore’s taught me about hospitality, prayer, joy, and pressing in to really listen to Jesus. They modeled for our team what it looks like to do family well. They are also fierce competitors, and anyone that prizes ice cream and loud laughs, and can get feisty over a card game will instantly earn my trust.

A couple weekends ago I traveled to Middle of Nowhere, Iowa to celebrate the life of their littlest love. Lilliana Joy passed away in her sleep at the end of October and we gathered with shattered hearts to remember her sweet cooing and gentle heart.

The Passmore’s aren’t perfect. (I’m sure Eve would want you to know that.) But I think that’s why I’ve grown to adore them so much. They do mess just as well as they do glory. And I think it’s their ability to embrace the fullness of each moment that causes them to leak freedom the way they do. They are honest about hard things. They model vulnerability and invite others into the freedom they find. They welcomed their community of family and friends into their mourning that weekend and though it hurt and was really, really hard, there was an immense comfort that radiated from the Passmore family.

I know that mourning is hard. I know it’s messy and invasive and makes you vulnerable more than you’d like to be. But maybe it’s hard because the glory of being comforted is too sweet to be easily gained. Maybe there is a greater discipline that comes through mourning that allows us to love more deeply. Maybe our hearts need to mourn to be whole again.


Is there something you haven’t been willing to mourn? Is there pain of depression and anxiety that you never wanted in the first place? Mourn that. Is there a broken heart, a boy who left when he promised he wouldn’t? Mourn that. Has graduation left you lonely and missing the community you used to have? Mourn that, too. Is there a miscarriage? A lost job? A life you thought you would have by now, but don’t? Mourn, mourn, mourn.

Grieve for all you hoped would be that isn’t. Let the tears you’ve fought tumble from your eyes like a sudden thunderstorm. Know that it’s okay. Grieve expectantly because there is a surefire promise to those who mourn:

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.”

Do the hard things so you can marvel in the sweet things. It’s not really life any other way.