What do you turn to to fill your mind during the day? Is it social media, friends, family, news? We can turn to the news, which changes every day, sometimes every hour. Honestly, this avenue is hard to distinguish between what’s true, what’s being scripted to evoke deep fear, what’s being used for a political agenda, what’s being used for selfish gain, and what’s honestly going on. I don’t think we will ever know the full truth of what’s going on.. Not on this side of heaven. So we can make the decision- we can turn to all of that- the uncertain words of man, or we can turn to the truth in the Word of God, which never changes. No matter how much time passes, His truths are the only things that will EVER remain the same. No matter what we go through, no matter what people claim to be true, what stands in His Word will forever remain.
And so, rather than being bogged down with worry, we can be deeply rooted and live like trees planted beside a stream, like the trees in Jeremiah 17: 7-8, “But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him. They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.”
How do we become like the tree that always has green leaves and always bears fruit? There’s no set guidelines on how to overcome worry. We live in a society that thrives on it, that becomes excited at the happening of something bad, because that just means the next hot topic to post online or share on the front page of the newspaper, something to up the ratings and keep people tuned in.
The news station’s ratings might be at its peak when they are sharing stories that will instill deep worry in their viewers' hearts, but God’s news for you will cause your worries to plummet. He doesn’t come with stories that are fear-provoking. He comes with stories of salvation, faithfulness, and hope. His ratings for coming through are always five-star.
Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. -- Galatians 6:9
… Did you see the end of that sentence? IF we do not give up. Hello to the most difficult thing to practice. In our generation, we are accustomed to fast, instantaneous, right now. We have become the microwave culture. We want it ZAP, quick. Heaven forbid we have to wait five minutes for our coffee in the morning. The truth is, we have become a society that has a hard time waiting for anything- we market the freaky fast deliveries and yearn for overnight results. These stand in stark contrast to requiring patience and perseverance, basically negating anything that would require work or take more than five minutes to achieve.
That job you imagined you’d have right after college? You need ten years experience.
The husband or wife you thought you’d be married to at age twenty-three? Patience. He or she will be in your story at age thirty-two.
The money you thought you’d be earning by now to do the things you’ve dreamed of doing but need the money to do? It’ll come after you persevere through this job you dislike for five years, and after you start trusting the Lord through tithing at church. The Lord is telling you that you need to learn what He has to teach you in order to succeed.
The home you thought you’d create with a cozy fireplace and the perfect view to watch the sunset and sunrise everyday? Not for fifteen years.
One of the verses I’ve clung to through the waiting seasons has been Romans 8:28, where we are reassured that “He is working all things for the good of those that love Him.” It’s all for the good. If we haven’t received the promise we are believing in Him for, it’s because we aren’t ready for it.
If He gave us now, what we were hoping for, we might not have the capacity to excel in it or we might not be ready for it to carry it out as He intends.
You want that job, but you don’t have the skills necessary to accomplish what He needs you to in that position. He must first take you through this certain season to unmask qualities and skills in you that will differentiate you from the other candidates for the position. Because you waited and went through this season, you will accomplish far more than your brain can even imagine. You are going to impact not just one life, but many lives, just because you waited and developed more as a person. He has such big plans ahead of you, an even brighter and inspiring future than you’re planning in your head.
You want the marriage, but you haven’t developed the dependence on the Lord that you need. If you were to get married right now, the spouse would become the idol of your life, rather than God being at the center of it. You would let every single choice you make throughout the day be centered on your spouse—causing you to steer clear from the things the Lord really wants you to step into, causing heavy anxiety and fear of disappointment in everything you do.
You want to go to that college, but you don’t want to take the time it takes to do your homework and get good grades. You have no desire to take the ACT Prep class your high school is offering. You don’t go to your teacher for help when you don’t understand something. You’ve taken to copying your friend’s work, and don’t do so hot on the tests because you don’t really know what you’re doing. You get upset when you begin to fail classes, but learn that the Lord was drawing you somewhere completely different than the life-long dream you’d had to attend a big university. You’ll be going to community college instead, where you’ll launch into the activities that you’re passionate about, impacting various groups on campus.
Many of us don’t want that journey. We don’t want to have to be patient. We don’t want to be told to be patient. We don’t want to hear the words, “in God’s timing..” We want it all like we want our food- fast and convenient. Any process to obtain the things we really want is dreaded. Can’t we just order it up and have it overnight, Amazon Prime that thing? There’s overnight shipping, so can’t we have overnight answered prayers? I mean, God can hear every single prayer and thought, so if He hears it, shouldn’t He send some answers?
It can become very challenging to maintain a positive mindset through the waiting, especially when you look around and see people obtaining the very thing your heart is waiting and longing for.
The job. The restoration. The relationship. The marriage. The baby. The friendship. The vacation. The this, the that.
“Hello, Lord. Do you not hear my desperate pleas for this? Are you even listening?” I’ve said that many times.
Maybe you’re saying that same thing right now... "Are you even listening, Lord? Maybe you need to clean your ears out, God, have you tried that?”
He’s listening, friend. He hears you. He sees you. He knows your heart, every ache, desire, joy- he knows it inside and out, much better than you yourself even know what your heart is feeling.
Throughout Numbers 21:5, Moses listened to the Israelites complain “Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness?” Yet, Moses remained patient and pleaded with God for them. He showed them patience, and again, even more patience, when accepting the fact that he himself wouldn’t enter the Promised Land when they arrived. How much do you think he taught them during that season? I bet they learned a lot of dependence and trust in the Lord.
God used that season for preparation, just as he uses our desert and appealingly dry seasons to ready us. Rather than dread whatever it is you’re being patient for, instead view it as preparation.
Think of it like this.. You’re a seed ready to be planted. The field has to be dry enough, and prepared for planting. Once the seeds are planted, it has to receive adequate rain and sunshine to grow. The seeds must grow and turn into a plant over a period of time. It cannot be harvested too soon. The farmer must be patient until it is ready. You are the seed being planted. You will soon grow and flourish and become an abundant crop, but you must first wait for Him to prepare you, to nourish you, to give you the sun, rain, and clouds that you need to grow into a ready-to-harvest crop.
In His perfect timing, He will bring His promises to pass. He will strengthen you, mold you, provide you with everything you need, and do what He needs to accomplish to you and through you in order to prepare you for the future He has in store for you. Take heart. The crop is well worth the long nights and early mornings of planting, waiting, and harvesting.