Waiting. Rats. Sigh. I have never met a person who enjoys waiting. Delays. Slowdowns. Interruptions. Postponements. Sure it does not help that our culture is hastily driven by instant gratification and instant results. Instant is a promised expectation in our world from instant oatmeal and instant banking to instant messaging and instant uploads. Waiting . . . who has time for that?!
But then, the reality of everyday life collides with minutes on the clock. This past week I met with my monthly Bible study gals, and we finished going through Priscilla Shirer’s Awaken book. What an incredible devotional! Day 78, “Upriver Realities” struck a chord in my weariness from waiting. Priscilla describes the Old Testament scene in Joshua 3 where God directs the children of Israel to cross the Jordan River’s swirling waters. The priests edged into the shallow east side of the river, but the tributary did not instantly divide like the waves did at the Red Sea crossing. Gulp. What was God thinking? This prescribed dip in the Jordan plan must not be working!
The Divine Dam
As panic gnawed in their hearts, the Israelites did not realize that roughly thirty miles upstream, as Priscilla writes, “‘the waters which were flowing down from above’ had already met the divine dam of God’s hand, rising up in a heap . . . . God was moving. God was doing something—though nothing in their physical field of vision could yet testify to it.”
Priscilla goes on to remind us that from our current vantage point, we may not sense or see God working for our good. Maybe we’ve let our feet get wet. Maybe we feel our trials drown us out. Or maybe we think like I declared in the middle of our study Tuesday night, “Well, it sure feels like God is stuck upstream!”
Are We Stuck in Our Hesitancy?
Is God stuck or are we the ones stuck in our hesitancy to believe that he has not forgotten us? God may be working at a “great distance away” (Joshua 3:16) in our lives, but he is still working. In chapter one of my Two Days Longer book, I write about God’s more clandestine, upstream activity:
Through life’s delays, God is at work—often behind the scenes—to draw us into a richer experience of knowing him more intimately. While we pace and sweat it out, nervous and impatient for God to intervene, he longs for us to rest in his love, his compassion, and his peace. The reward of waiting on God does not come in circumstances and timing that satisfy our expectations; the reward comes in God himself.
So as we wait on significant happenings and those everyday snags in our instant-everything society, we can be encouraged that we are learning to bend and flex and strengthen our trust that something good is happening upstream.
Are we willing to hold steady and even float a bit while that divine dam is built and secured on our behalf? I am. Come join me. The water is warm.
Very nice and well written post. Easy read that is encouraging. Have you written on the subject of recognition of when to change directions during a very very very long “wait”? Sounds silly but a real concern. You are great!
Thank you, Cynthia. Your concern is not silly at all. My Two Days Longer book does share a number of other people and situations of lengthy waits. Knowing when to change directions often depends on the situation and the people involved, but for me personally, I tend to commit the situation to prayer, I look in God’s Word for truths that help support my decision and I talk to wise, well-seasoned friends who share their perspective. I hope this helps kickstart your own journey of waiting and moving forward.
I sure wish that I could see what God is doing out of our field f vision. Thanks for reminding me I don’t always see what He is doing but He is always working! And His plans are good.
Shelly, I agree on wanting to see more of the good things outside of our field of vision. Perhaps this is where our trust is strengthened. Are we willing to trust that God is good and working for our good even if we can’t quite see the good yet?
Great reminder not to jump in too soon, Beth! Thanks.
You are welcome, Nancy. I’m so glad that the Lord is waiting right with us and is always ready to help us pace ourselves.