Seasons of waiting

Am I the only one that prays, with great expectation, and then piously and impatiently gets frustrated when I have to wait for an answer?! Anyone…….just me? Okay….

We have a new custodial staff member that works in my office. She is precious. I met her yesterday and I already feel like we are long-lost sisters. She was telling my boss about a local author who just had a book published, and of course, I had to jump in on the conversation.

We got to talking about other things and later that same day, she stopped by my office, looking for a personal set of keys she had misplaced. Unfortunately, I had not seen her keys, nor had anyone else in our office.

This morning, I saw her cleaning and asked if she had found her keys. She had not. She went ahead and replaced two of the ones she could not live without, to the tune of over a hundred dollars. I felt so bad for her. “The law of nature is that when you replace all of your keys, then you will find the original set” I un-helpfully responded. She said: “Oh, I am still praying I find them, then at least I will have a backup set should this happen again!” I admired her positivity and continued prayers, even for something as small as lost keys.


A Purpose in the Waiting

Just this morning, I was listening to a podcast by Greg Laurie. He was talking about the death of Jesus’ beloved friend, Lazarus. The way Pastor Greg explained this scenario was different from anything I had ever heard. It was a light-bulb moment for me, perhaps the Holy Spirit grabbing hold of my stubborn, impatient, “I prayed so where is the answer?” spirit.

You see, Jesus was informed that Lazarus was ill. Very ill. To the point of dying. He actually DID die. Still, Jesus waited. This must have incensed Mary and Martha, Lazarus’ sisters.

In fact, in John 11, verses 21 – 22, we see:

[verse reference=”John 11:21-22″]Lord,” Martha said to Jesus, “if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask.[/verse]

I strongly believe that these sisters must have felt what I have felt so many times. I prayed, I waited, I believed, I expected, but still….nothing. I know to the depth of my core that God is capable of ANYTHING, whether it be healing, renewal, a softened heart, a better attitude, a reconciliation, a miracle, or simply the wisdom to understand God’s will. But I have felt myself growing increasingly frustrated with the inevitable timeline between asking and receiving.

However, the text goes on to say:

[verse reference=”John 11:14-15″]So then he told them plainly, “Lazarus is dead, and for your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him.[/verse]

And there it is. God’s reasoning for Jesus’ wait. He could have absolutely healed Lazarus. It would have been a miracle, no doubt. Yet, how much greater a testimony to raise the dead than to simply heal the living (which He had already done). There was a purpose in Jesus’ waiting. A God-inspired purpose that would captivate humans until the end of time.

There was a purpose in Jesus’ waiting. A God-inspired purpose that would captivate humans until the end of time.

It was the raising of the dead that spoke to so many believers, unbelievers, and those on the fence at that time. A divine message that continues to speak to us, hundreds of years later.

This gives me hope! It should give us all hope. We may pray for the metaphorical healing of a portion of our lives that is very ill, whether physical, emotional, or spiritual. And that prayer will be answered.

It may not be the answer we seek. It may not be the timeline we desire. It may lead to the death of a relationship, career, familial tie, or some other human tragedy. But rest in this, my friends, “With God, ALL things are possible.” Even resurrection from death.

And how honored should we be that God would use our own struggles, no matter how personal or heart-wrenching they may be, to attest to His great glory?

When I think of it that way, I realize that those times of impatience, frustration, waiting, longing, hoping, praying….those are the times that God is working behind the scenes. Knowing exactly what He is capable of, even going so far as letting something die in order to resurrect it again, better than ever before, THAT is a divine comfort we can find in life’s inevitable seasons of waiting.