Waiting With Those Who Wait

K   |   February 16, 2024 

I checked the mailbox when I got home today and the parcel has still not arrived. Yet again, I am waiting.

It feels like I am always waiting for something: something minor - like a parcel, or major - like a place to belong. Waiting has always dominated my story. Mostly, I am OK with that; I have learned that waiting is a significant narrative in Scripture.  We are all waiting for God to finish his work and restore his creation.

I have also learned that God has a purpose in my waiting. Sometimes, it is a lesson I need to learn, a change I need to make. Sometimes, it is the blessing of time that I didn't know I needed. One thing I am sure of is that, in God's sovereignty, waiting is a gift.

The problem is that while I see that for myself, it often seems that the people around me don't see my waiting as a gift from God. Often, while I am working hard to keep trusting God's provision in my waiting, others are pressuring me to do something, fix something, or even to give up.

A few years ago, during a time of waiting, God drew my attention to two trees. The first tree was waiting - it was winter, and the deciduous tree had shed its leaves and stood naked on the mountainside, conserving its energy, waiting to bring forth new life in the Spring. The second, an Eucalypt, was also leafless and bark-less, but it was dead.

I realised as I reflected on these trees that waiting looks different depending on what view of it you have. From the outside, waiting looks like death. It appears fruitless and passive, just like the Eucalypt. In contrast, internally, waiting is an active season of preparation for the future. As with the deciduous tree, waiting requires the wise stewardship of resources so that we can be ready for what is to come.

The people who (mostly in love) were pushing me to do, to act, to give up, actually want my good. They wanted fruitfulness in my life, but they failed to recognise what God was doing under the surface.

So, how can we support and encourage those around us who are experiencing a season of waiting?

Don't assume God is not at work just because you can't see fruit.

Instead, become curious about how God is at work. I have found it helpful to ask friends with apparently fruitless lives, "What do you see God doing in your life at this moment? Where is he at work?" As I listened to their answers, I discovered so much more than I could have seen from the outside, and rarely was their time of waiting fruitless.

Don't give them advice.

Most people who are waiting have thought through all the options, have researched all the possibilities, and are still faithfully waiting. Instead, ask them how you can support and encourage them. Make sure they know that you are ready to help if and when they need the help.

Wait with them.

The best gift I received during my waiting seasons has been friends who listened as I waited, who trusted in God's provision, who sat alongside me, and who did not give up on me until Spring came and fruit grew and we could rejoice together in what God had done.

 

We miss so much of what God is doing when we assume that what we can see is all there is. When friends or family are waiting, we have the opportunity to look beyond the surface, catch glimpses of what God is doing, and be able to share our waiting companion's challenges, sorrows, and joys. Waiting is indeed a gift from God.

 

Photo by Ümit Bulut on Unsplash

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K

K is an Aussie transplant who has lived in North India for the last two decades. Her biggest buzz comes from being able to help others to learn and to enjoy a deeper relationship with Jesus. K can frequently be found in one of the cafes in her adopted home city drinking hot chocolate since real decaf coffee has yet to make its way to India.

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