by Emily Conrad
The woman laughed quietly, as if embarrassed to have come across a secret. She kept her eyes on the computer screen and said, “The test reports on emotions, too. It says you’re frustrated and unsettled.”
I smiled and agreed. The test, which I had taken to help with my food sensitivities, had seen me in what often felt like an invisible war: the war of waiting. The acknowledgement was a relief I hadn’t known I craved.
I had an entire journal dedicated to the topic of waiting, but back then, I didn’t pen many entries. If I had, most probably would’ve been uneventful. Today, nothing happened.
God is present and good to those who fear Him. He has a purpose in all our waiting. He refines and prepares us, setting us on the slow, right road, the narrow path that leads to the heights. So, when I found myself waiting on that narrow path, I knew I needed to have faith. Since there wasn’t much I could do to rush things along anyway, I resigned myself to waiting.
I think a lot of us tend to do this.
Unfortunately, waiting in resignation doesn’t relieve frustration and feelings of being unsettled.
Resignation left my waiting journal mostly blank because I had no progress to report. Resignation told me that if my big goals weren’t happening, nothing was happening. It let me drift in the doldrums, waiting for God to show up and wondering why He hadn’t yet.
In reality, God is very present in times of waiting; Jesus has promised to never leave us. If we find ourselves waiting for God to show up, it’s only because we’ve blindfolded ourselves to His presence.
We can take off the blindfold by trading the habit of waiting in resignation for waiting in relationship.
How? By praying through our problems, pouring the struggle out to Jesus and actively looking in his Word for His responses.
One way I’ve done this is by expanding the scope of my waiting journal. Waiting is no longer the focus because I’ve already tried that I know there’s no story there. The story isn’t my dreams-come-true, either. The story is the growth in my relationship with Jesus, growth that takes place while I wait for lesser things, like the realization of my other aspirations.
When I focus on Him in my journal and throughout my life, there’s never a day that passes without something happening.
I find God drawing me close and saying, I see you. I see the wait, and I know what you’re feeling. Now, take a moment to see what I see. Quit focusing on the long road in front of you and look to the eternity that awaits you. It’s good and I’m with you. And yes, I’ve got everything completely under control.
Refreshed by being seen and heard and loved by God, we can see and hear others and help them turn from waiting in resignation to waiting in relationship.
We’re all waiting for something. We’ve all got results that show up in our relationships just as clearly as my emotions registered on that test. We can ignore them, resigned to suffer through and let others do the same. We can read them to each other while avoiding eye contact. Or, we can pull our chair closer, lay a hand on a shoulder, and listen.
Being heard like this speaks volumes to our souls, and it all starts with making the change from waiting in resignation to waiting in relationship.
I smiled when I got those test results because it’s a relief to have the struggle acknowledged and to be given a chance to voice it, even if only briefly. That’s just a glimpse of the blessing godly friends can be to each other when we ask questions, acknowledge difficulty, and pray together, waiting not in resignation, but in relationship with each other and with Jesus Christ.
How can I pray for you in your wait today?
What a terrific post, Emily! This line really hit home for me: "If we find ourselves waiting for God to show up, it’s only because we've blindfolded ourselves to His presence." You're so right. God is already here with us, in the midst of our waiting, and He's at work every day of our lives. We need to stop looking ahead, frantically searching for our desires in the future we can't see, and look at Jesus, here beside us at our right hand. Thanks for this post!
Thanks, Jerusha! Well said! He truly is at our right hand and at work every day.
Great post. A good friend of mine and I are both in a place of waiting, though each for different things. We check up on each other regularly, making sure not to ask if anything has "happened yet" focusing more on how we are doing emotionally. We've accepted our waiting. Our goal now is finding joy in the waiting….we're working on it….as you said I think the key is trading in resignation for relationship. I love how you phased that :).
Great idea to focus more on emotional well-being than on asking about what external event may have happened! Thanks for sharing that tip!
'Trading resignation for relationship' … I love your perspective here. Thank you for sharing. Like most humans, we are in a season of waiting in our family. God has used this time to refine us in unexpected and wonderful ways. It isn't easy and I still don't love it, but we've moved beyond resignation and I sense the fruits of this season are near, as opposed to feeling like we're standing in the middle of a barren field. Great post!
Loved this:"The story is the growth in my relationship with Jesus, growth that takes place while I wait for lesser things, like the realization of my other aspirations." Thanks for inspiring me with this fresh perspective!
I'm not at the point of loving the wait, either, but it helps when the end seems to be in sight and there are positives along the way. So glad God has shown himself to you and your family like this! Praying He would continue to encourage you!
Thanks so much for reading, Julie!