A Season of Waiting

Our summer garage sale concluded, my teen helped me drag unsold items back inside the garage.  Holding up a heavy winter coat he’d outgrown, my son turned to me with a puzzled look & a shrug.  His comical expression said it all.  Nearly 90 degree heat had been oppressive that day and before the words “what were you thinking?” could escape his lips, I cut him off. 

“Hey, winter is coming.  Somebody’s gonna need a warm coat soon.”

Later in the week I was walking and praying for the umpteenth hundred time about a longing of my heart.  It was a specific request I’ve repeatedly prayed over the course of several years.  I was tempted to fuss at God and ask what was taking so long. 

I wanted to tell Him, “If you’re trying to build character in me, I’ve been told by numerous folks that I have PLENTY.”

My request wasn’t a selfish one.  It wasn’t even predominantly about me.  Furthermore, something in my spirit told me that the Lord had not said “NO” to this petition.  I even felt led to continue to present this specific request to Him.  Still, I wondered aloud, “Lord, if you’re not saying NO, then what’s up with this lengthy delay?  A little clarity would be nice…” 

So many other times in my life I have prayed and had either an immediate answer or a definitive closed door.  Clearly this was not one of those times.  The door was not closed, God was not telling me to move on and forget about it.  I didn’t even get a sense God was annoyed with my repetition as if I was pestering Him.  In fact He had shown me on other occasions what I am seeking is in accordance with His will and is close to His heart.      

I’ve often said that, for me, the most frustrating pairing of two words is “wait patiently”.  I suppose no one likes to wait.  That morning on my walk I caught an image of the Lord putting my request…and my waiting…into perspective.

My mind wandered back to the garage scene with my son and then it hit me.  My petition to God was the equivalent of asking for a coat in the heat of summer.  All this time, in the heat of life’s circumstances, I had been ignoring the obvious.  This was not the right time for the fulfillment of my heart’s longing.

God wasn’t saying, “No, I’m not going to give you what you are asking for”.  He wasn’t even disagreeing with me that I would need an answer someday.  Just like asking for a coat in Colorado…anyone who’s ever experienced the Rocky Mountains in December knows it WILL get cold enough here to warrant a coat.  Eventually.  I wasn’t asking for anything out of the ordinary.  But my timing was waaaaay off.

My loving Lord gently whispered to me regarding my petition,  This isn’t the right season.  He knows a time will come when granting my request will be more appropriate.  Until then, God simply says, wait and be patient.  

 “Wait on the Lord; be of good courage.  He shall strengthen your heart.  Wait, I say, on the Lord.” Psalm 27:14

 “My soul, wait only upon God for my expectation is from Him.” Psalm 62:5

 “Turn to God, keep mercy & judgment and wait on God continually.” Hosea 12:6
 
So often we think we know best what we need, and when we need it.  We take our petitions to God and ask him to sanction our desires and grant our requests as if He is some Holy Vending machine.  Of course, being deeply spiritual, we would never verbally describe God that way.  But our attitude betrays us.  We figure if we are following God closely, listening for His voice & obeying His directives, He will be more likely to give us “the desires of our hearts”.  That’s Biblical, right?
 
Not exactly.  When God says, “Delight yourself in me and I will give you the desires of your heart,” the translation has more to do with God gifting us with desires than it does granting fulfillment of those desires.  In other words, it is God who stirs in us to desire in the first place.  We desire peace, in the Middle East, in our home, or in our heart.  We desire a promotion at work…or a job just to make ends meet.   We desire a runaway child to return home or a wayward spouse to repent.  We desire a ministry or good health or someone to love us or any other of a million desires we may have in a lifetime. It isn’t that those desires are bad.  It’s simply a matter of asking in due season.  

 

God, the Giver of all good gifts, is not going to give us a coat in the heat of summer.  His timing is perfect.  He knows that often we need time for life’s circumstances to cool off a bit before we can receive what we are asking of Him.  I don’t know about you but if someone presented me a coat in the midst of a heat wave, I’d probably be foolish enough to wear it, then complain about being very uncomfortable.  Better to wait for God to move in His time, when the season is right.

 “For you have need of patience, that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise” Hebrews 10:36

 “I waited patiently for the Lord; he inclined unto me and heard my cry,” Psalm 40:1

 “Rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him…”  Psalm 37:7

Indeed, I am resting in the Lord.  Even so, as long as God is not closing the door on my heart’s longings, I will continue to dialog with Him about them, asking in faith.  If His reply remains “WAIT” I will wait a bit more patiently than before.  After all, winter is just around the corner.

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9 responses to “A Season of Waiting

  1. My dear Di,
    I believe I was one of those who said you have PLENTY of character. Or you ARE a character? I miss your character. When may I buy you dinner and enjoy some of your Character?

  2. Thanks for sharing this great message. Learning the proper season is a lesson that I need to be reminded of regularly.

    God Bless you and keep up the good blogging.

  3. Dianna: I know the feeling! And your post is inspiring–as always. Sometimes I wonder if and when and how some of my prayers will be answered. Your article will help me. In exchange, let me offer this: In my “writing place” at home, I post a few reminders of God’s will as a write. Here’s one: “The human mind may devise many plans,
    but it is the purpose of the LORD that will be established.” Proverbs 19:21 (NRSV) (See also: Isaiah 55:8-11)

    And this one from Nehemia (4:9) reminds me that we have to be ready for his will, and still go on with life: “We prayed to God AND posted a guard day and night to meet this threat.” (Nehemiah is rebuilding the wall in Jeruselem and he know that the enemy of the Jews would try to tear it down; but he also knew that God was in charge. )

    Thank you for sharing your “walk,” Dianna. It will be of help to others–including me! Chevy

    • Chevy, Thank you for sharing those Scriptures! God often brings to mind Is. 55:8-11…His ways are not my ways & vice versa. But the follow-on to submitting to HIS ways, according to vs. 12, is that we will go out with JOY & be led forth in PEACE. I really can’t ask for more than that…

      I’ve always appreciated your insights.

  4. your prayer partner

    Long ago when you & I first started praying together about this request your heart was breaking over it. It’s an understatement for you to say that it isnt a selfish request. You have suffered a great deal over the ones you are praying for. I don’t understand why God hasn’t answered long ago but I seee him at work in you, Di. I know you still long for God to provide but YOU are different now as a result of your continued asking and holding on in faith. It’s been beautiful (and at times painful) to witness how God has used this situation to transform your heart in this season of waiting. Still praying and believing with you, sis. Winter will be beautiful when it comes.

    • Thank you…for every time you have ever prayed for and with me, for all your support & encouragement, for loving me in spite of myself. I love you, dear friend.
      di

  5. I enjoy your blog very much. Usually I agree with what you write but I’m a little confused this time. If you have been praying for something for years and you still don’t have it, don’t you think that means God said no? Isn’t silence a form of rejection?

    • Erin, I’d be careful not to confuse silence with rejection…at least with God. Okay, every woman knows there are men who say “I’ll call you,” and hiring managers who say “we will let you know” but they never do. THAT, girlfriend, IS rejection. But I don’t think God operates that way. When God rejects something, He has been known to make it quite obvious. Think Sodom & Gomorrah. Think sleazy vendors in the Temple. God isn’t the strong, silent type. In the book of Genesis we learn that Sarah spent years in God’s waiting room for a child of her own. By the time she went shopping for baby lotion, she was desperately in need of wrinkle cream!

      When I am trying to discern whether or not God is saying NO on something, I first ask myself “Is this in harmony with His word?” God won’t contradict Himself. In my particular case where I have been praying for years He has shown me in Scripture that my desire is also His desire. It could be that He has work to do in the hearts of the people involved {He certainly has in me!}. It could be a matter of physical circumstances not yet being aligned. It could be that as I wait the Lord is spurring me to other creative solutions for my situation, remaining open to something I hadn’t even considered. Or most likely, it a mystery that I will never understand.

      Whatever God is up to I won’t be in a hurry to throw in the towel simply because waiting is painful. And I learned from Sarah the illegitimacy of taking matters into my own hands. When trusting God clearly emerges as the best alternative, waiting can becomes peaceful.

  6. Interesting blog. I had never heard that verse on delighting in God and he will give you the desires of your heart explained that way before. That makes a lot more sense than what I’ve always believed. Thanks.

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