When I was twelve, I went to visit my uncle who lived in the big ‘ol city of Seattle. Getting to stay in an apartment, eat at Planet Hollywood, and shop at The Bon was, like, a huge deal. But as with all large cities, we also spent a fair amount of time waiting on public transportation. I remember distinctively sitting on a bench, awaiting the bus. I was so anxious for what was to come, the adventures we were about to unleash, that I could hardly stand it. I wiggled, squirmed, and annoying whined “When is it going to be here?! I'm tired of waiting! Come on! Let's go! I'm ready! Is it coming, now? How much longer?”
And because my uncle never had any children, I'm sure he wanted to strangle me right then and there. But luckily, he didn't. Instead, he gently replied with a kind “You know, Shaye, patience is a virtue.” But I was twelve…I mean, really? What did I care about virtues? I just wanted to get where I was going! I've never been one to sit still and wait for things to happen. And here we are – thirteen years later – and I still remember his words. Even if it seemed to me that too much time is spent at the bus stop, I'm slowly and painfully learning that God has designed it to be just so.
I'd like to say that I have matured to the point of never experiencing impatience – but that would be an ugly lie. Learning to wait on the Lord can be a slow and painful process. Knowing that Stuart will be finishing school in six months and not knowing where he will be working (or even if he will have work) has been wearing me down. I want to fix it. I want to control it. I want to mold it into what I want. I want resolution. And my prayers for peace and patience have slowly manifested into pure desperation.
But God, didn't you hear my prayers these past few months?! I need resolution now! Answer them, please! I'm desperate – I'll take anything! Aren't you listening?!
It's true. My prayers have gotten slightly desperate. I am grateful that I am called to boldly ask of the Lord the requests on my heart, but I must also learn to be just as grateful when He chooses to answer them in His timing and in His way. I have laid my soul, bare at His feet.
I often find comfort in thinking about Abraham and Sarah.
The Lord promises Abraham that his decedents will be so numerous, they will be like grains of sand on the beach. But his wife was baron and he was old. How could this promise from God be possible? “Abraham fell facedown; he laughed and said to himself, ‘Will a son be born to a man a hundred years old? Will Sarah bear a child at the age of ninety?'…Then God said, ‘Yes, but your wife Sarah will bear you a son.'” Genesis 17:17-19
God heard the desperate cries of Sarah, pleading for a child. Yet He still chose to answer her prayer in His time – it wasn't instant or without struggle. And ultimately, God's promise was kept. Even when it seemed impossible, the Lord blessed them with children. “Now the Lord was gracious to Sarah as he had said, and the Lord did for Sarah what he had promised. Sarah became pregnant and bore a son to Abraham in his old age, at the very time God had promised him.” Genesis 21:1-2.
Do I trust in a sovereign God who is in all things and works for the good of those whom he loves? Yes, I do.
Do I believe that God has a perfect plan in place for our family? Yes, of course.
But do I trust God's timing? Do I trust that He will unveil his plan to us before it's too late? Do I trust that, like Sarah, he hears my cries of desperation, even if he may not choose to answer them right now? Do I trust that even though it all seems impossible, he will keep his promises?
Sure, the future is unknown – but not to the Creator of the future.
And so, I must continually pray for patience. I must wait upon the Lord and trust that He is at work. The blessing is that difficult situations like this provide us with wonderful opportunities to grow in our faith, for which I am thankful.
As a Christian, I am not told that trusting in the Lord and awaiting His plan will be comfortable or easy.
But I am told it will be worth it.