My four year old couldn’t hold his energy as we plotted toward the soccer field. He was ready to run & jump and the stroller would not contain him. I told him he could let loose on the boulevard so he bounded along with vigor and jolly.
“Are we there yet?”
“No, Bingham. Look, there’s the field ahead!”
“I can’t see it…. are we there yet?”
“No, we’re not there yet.”
“Are we there yet?”
“Mama, do you see this grass? Isn’t it awesome!?”
“Yeah, that’s cool, Bingham.”
“Some is long and some is short! This is great grass!…Does the field have grass?”
“Yes, there’s grass on the field.”
“So is this the field?”
“No, this is not the field.”
“Well, I like this grass. I don’t want to leave this grass. This is my field.”
Months earlier, Bingham had never seen the ocean. On our first walk toward the beach, we stopped at a small playground. A little pool was sitting at the side of the grounds. Inside the pool were some standing water and a few fallen sticks.
“Look, Mama! The Ocean!”
“No, Bingham, that’s not the ocean. We’re still on our way there!”
“But there’s water here.”
“That’s true… but the ocean is so much bigger. You are going to be amazed!”
“But I like this water. I don’t want to leave this water. This is my ocean.”
I am a lot like my son. Sometimes I’m so focused on what already is, that I stop hoping for something greater. I begin to expect that this is the thing, and nothing better could follow. Some people call that settling. Whether it is fear that something along the lines of my ideal incredible might not happen or the desire for immediate gratification, I frequently find myself short-sighted. When I find a piece of happiness, I become easily infatuated with the idea that the slice on my plate is exactly like a whole pie. This thing that I currently have becomes like my end goal. I think, “I like this thing. I don’t want to let go of this thing. This is my best thing.
At other times, though, my distaste for this part of the journey has more to do with my discomfort in the midst of it. I desire the hope at the end, but I despise the present. Right now, the burdens in the world are crushing. In one direction, there is heartbreaking news of disastrous flooding. From another, I hear accounts of family members dying in the hospital. Inside me, the storms of grief still lurk, ready to ambush me in unexpected and unwelcome ways.
But in both of these places, God says, “Wait.”
That word is so hard for me. I’m constantly learning lessons about waiting, and continually forgetting them. Most recently, God opened my eyes through a familiar verse. I began reading Isaiah 40:30-31 “Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted…” as I read, I thought, I am young, weary, and exhausted, this is for me! I continued reading, “…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.” I felt so empowered to keep going along with my own plans until I realized that I had skipped something. The “they” isn’t referring to just anyone. “They” are “those that wait on the Lord.“
There is hope. There is a future. But it’s not on my terms or in my timing. It is not up to me to decide where the field is or when I have found the ocean. But God knows, and he’s promised to take me there in His timing and on His terms. He will, but not yet. I am still perfectly in progress. There’s still work to be done here. God wants for me to be “complete, not lacking anything” (James 1:4) and He desires that our joy may also be whole (John 15:11).
Waiting means a lot of things. It means staying when I want to run. It means continuing to lean into forward motion when I want to stop. Waiting on the Lord means looking to him and at the Heavenly things while I am in the midst of the heaviness and the hard. Through every season of waiting, God asks me to fix my eyes on Him, clinging to the hope that I have in Him, and trusting that through Him I will have the strength to be content in every step (Philippians 4:12-13).
What would happen if I learned to wait on the Lord? What if I truly trusted the Lord to take me to the places He’s promised in His timing?
I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living! Wait for the Lord; be strong and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord – Psalm 27:13- 14
Photo Credit: Abby Miller