Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Faith Files: The Wait Space

I wonder how you cope with and manage things when there is a lengthy period of time between a promise from God, and actually receiving what was promised?  Do you just rest, knowing that God's got it under control, or do you get all angsty and mopey and whiney.  Or frustrated and annoyed?

These past months have been long.  Dark.  Confusing.   I confess to all the angsty, mopey, whiney, frustrated and annoyed emotions!

Over recent months there has been a long space of time, for me, where I knew God had a plan, but I couldn't see that he was working on it.  I couldn't see if anything was coming together.  Well into this dark space we had a sermon, at church, about why God doesn't seem to answer our prayers.  I was super interested in how that question would be handled, because my father and I had just spoken a few days before and he told me that old "God sometimes says yes, sometimes no and sometimes wait".  My response to him was "Well, Dad, I don't like that answer much.  Because the wait doesn't ever sound like "wait", it sounds more like silence and the silence is dark and cold and scarey".  That silence just feels like there isn't an answer at all and you start to question what you think you know about God.  Does he really keep ALL his promises?  Does he really hear all my prayers, and are that really that special to him?  Is God who he says he is, all the time?  That sermon?  Said all the same things: yes, no, wait.  Not much help there!!

My season of waiting has been met with silence.  During our fast there were five specific things I was praying over, two of which related to our work and finances.  During those weeks of fasting most of the things I was praying for became worse!  The darkness closed in and I prayed harder.  More specifically.  More deliberately.  I started asking God why.  "Why, if you are a God who keeps promises, can I not see you doing that?".  I have been waiting for the provision of a job since I resigned in December last year.  In truth, I have been applying for teaching positions since August last year, because that is the season for advertising positions for the following school year.  I resigned because I absolutely knew that God was leading me out of the role and the place I had been and asking me to trust him to step fully into what he had planned for me.  Five months a long time to wait.  In silence.  When you're waiting for a job and the bills keep rolling in and it doesn't look exactly like God is quite meeting all the financial needs you have.

About a month ago I finally decided I was tired of being blown about by the winds of my emotions.  If God is a promise-keeping, reliable, unchanging God who loves me with an all-consuming love, do I really believe that, even when I can't see it and things seem hard?  Has God changed, just because I don't understand what he is doing?  So I had words with God one day and I drew a line in the sand.  Like Job, I decided to choose trust and worship while I waited.  I decided to choose to believe what I know to be true rather than what I felt like I was experiencing.  I decided that the space of waiting, between stepping out in faith and experiencing fulillment of God's promises to provide, needed to be a time characterised by worshipping God for who he is, not what I felt.  I needed to choose belief instead of unbelief and doubt.

When I became intentional about the waiting space in my life God showed up to show me who he is.  He showed me that he does not ever change and that my understanding of my circumstances is limited at best; that his ways and thoughts are so far above mine.  I learnt that trials are an expected part of life.  After all, if Christ endured trials, what on earth makes me think I should be exempt?  God reminded me that he is a solid foundation, a place of rest, the protector, redeemer, restorer.  He is trustworthy and fulfils his promises in the way he sees fit, not how I think I want things to eventuate.  When I let go of my questions and chose trust and worship I was able to rest in the knowledge that my future is secure, even though I can't see the path ahead.  I let the questions and the worry and the anxiety go and chose to just wait peacefully.

Three weeks ago I attended a job interview, after months of absolutely nothing to show for application after application.  I was told that I was one of only two interviews being conducted for the position, despite numerous applications from which to choose.  It was the most beautiful, amazing interview, and while I waited for the school leaders to deliberate, phone referees and make their decision I decided the best way to position myself would be to desire God's will.  If the position was to be mine, to give me a heart for this community and these students.  If the position was to be another's, to be content that God would bring the right job.  Because as much as I desperately want to teach, I want to be in the exact place that God wants me to be.  It seems to be that God likes it when I get to that place with him.  When I lay down all my cares and worries and desires, and choose a posture of personal surrender and preference for God's will in the situation.

Two days after I got to that place I was offered the position (can you say "happy dance"!!!)

The 'wait space' is difficult in so many ways.  But this has ended up being a beautiful learning time in which I have again learnt that God does indeed fulfil his promises.  It's hard to remember, in the wait space, that his plans are always good and always the best for us, even when they don't quite look how we wanted them to.   I didn't think I wanted to travel more than 15 minutes and I didn't feel excited about teaching the top end of Primary school.  During my interview and the trip there and back I've realised God knows best.  The half-hour trip will be the perfect buffer between work and home.  A half hour of my own thoughts in the silence of my own car, driving myself instead of the learner driver thing.  And I know I will fall in love with the students I get to share my days with.  I can't wait to get started!  Mid-July seems so far away!!!!

What I know is that the wait space can be a beautiful place of trust, worship, belief and surrender.  It requires us to lead our souls beyond our emotions and to choose what we know to be true.  And God shows up.  He is absolutely and completely a good Father who knows the plans he has for our success and future and blessing.

The wait space can be a blessing too.


jude's page said...

Loving the message that you have shared, thankyou

Left-Handed Housewife said...

Sorry, I thought I had commented on this post before, and now I find that I didn't. Congratulations on the job offer! So well deserved, I'm sure.

But also, thanks for a beautiful post. So much truth here.