It's hard to write about the first traces of frustration as someone who knows she's blessed. I don't want to show ingratitude toward a holy, loving God. It's true I'm aware of the love He's shown me. It's also true there are certain areas of my life I've been waiting to come together longer than I'd hoped for or even expected. Just so you know what I mean, let me share a few examples with you:
The more time that passes, the less I imagine holding a new baby in my arms, though I've long prayed for a third, and that dream has not died. I still don't know whether I'm meant to continue as a substitute teacher, dictating my availability, or if I'm meant to have a classroom of my own in the near future. A rift that began two years ago with someone my immediate family know doesn't seem so easily mended, and these are dynamics that are out of my hands.
While none of these events, held in isolation, feel like they amount to much, they are all prayer requests I don't have an answer to yet. And when I ponder them for any length of time, my eyes start to well. I start feeling that bloom of frustration.
One Day at a Time
While I recognize my current season of waiting is not so long-suffering as many others, it doesn't help to deny the validity of the requests we're waiting on, the hopes we're still harboring in our hearts. While I sometimes have to swallow down that first taste of frustration, I'm struck by the fact that God supplied manna to His people one day at a time (Exodus 16:4). When Israelites feared there'd be a shortage in the future, they tried to preserve it, but found out quickly that it spoiled. When the people operated with a one day at a time mentality, they had enough sustenance to survive. They looked to God, knowing He would provide. Though the waiting and the not knowing in my life can feel frustrating, the manna approach reminds me that I'm not the one calling the shots here. Psalm 27: 14 tells us to "...be strong, and let your heart take courage! Wait for the Lord." This verse alone turns the waiting into something more. It requires us to exert courage in trusting He will answer in His time. It urges us to be stronger than we were before.
Not Leaning On My Own Understanding
Proverbs 3: 5 &6 is so frequently quoted and for understandable reasons. "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding," we're told. I don't know about you, but it's the leaning on my own understanding that gets me in the most trouble. If I spell things out to God and they're not delivered in the manner in the way I've explained, it's tempting to feel that I've been overlooked, ignored, or disregarded. That can't be since He says that I'm engraved on the palms of His hands (Isaiah 49:16). Since He is the author of my life, the one who numbers these days, who am I suggest or even think that He doesn't have what's best for me? Though the waiting for loose ends to tie or for monumental life events to fall into place can require an endurance of sorts, it helps when I shift my thinking and remember that He is the One who has my desires and dreams figured out. He knows them before I speak them aloud.
Everything is Used
Though no one thinks of our waiting periods, our desert seasons, as especially beautiful, we often recognize them as such when we look back. James 7: 7-8 says, "see how the farmer waits for the precious fruits of the earth, being patient about it, until it receives the early and the late rains. You also, be patient. For the coming of the Lord is at hand." Though it's human to think that "when I have this house" or "when I publish this book," I'll be happy, the truth is that it's in the process of becoming, that we are made. I'm reminded that there is no dress rehearsal to this one life; I'm living, drinking, and breathing it in now. I don't want to live as if "if only" this happens, I'll be alright.
Truth is: there are some disappointments people we know and love endure that we never quite make sense of. Perhaps we're not meant to this side of heaven. But if we trust and believe that we serve a God who cares for the desires of our hearts, we know that He isn't wasting that person's waiting either (Psalm 37:4). He might intervene in ways that don't make sense in our own finite eyes, but there's a reason He is God, and we are not.
While not all seasons of waiting feel the best, make the most sense or even seem worth it, there are lessons to be gleaned in these times. Lessons on who He is, on the value He's placed within us, on how He can work through us as we wait for that first hint of green to grow or that stream to start flowing with water. "Therefore the Lord waits to be gracious to you, and therefore he exalts himself to show mercy to you. For the Lord is a God of justice; blessed are all those who wait for him. " Isaiah 30:18