Tuesday, October 23, 2012

When the waiting hurts

Last week I walked out of work and I yelled at God.

I let Him have it.

Here’s the thing: my words weren't a surprise to God because He knows me intimately. He knows when I sit and when I rise and when I lay down. So He is certainly aware of my emotions.

It was a tough week after the car accident and some communication misunderstandings and I screamed at God, “What am I supposed to write about waiting well? What do you want me to tell these people?!” (By ‘these people’ I mean all of you.)

“Right now the waiting is. so. hard. What do you want me to write? We already know that You love us and that You understand. But it still hurts. It hurts so bad right now. Waiting is incredibly painful.”

And then I knew. That's exactly what I should tell His people:

Waiting hurts.

God desperately loves you and He deeply understands, but that doesn't mean it’s not painful.

It hurts when they make the unexpected announcement you've been longing to make.

It hurts when they get to make a choice you can only dream of making.

It hurts when they get the recognition that you are waiting to receive.

It hurts when they take for granted what you desperately want.

It hurts when it's in His control, and yet He's choosing to say no.

When Ryan and I got engaged it was a joyous time. It had been a long eight-year journey and I was ecstatic to finally be tying the knot. I went dress shopping. I asked my attendants to support me. We picked out a venue for the reception. We chose a photographer. We registered for gifts. We attended bridal showers. I was a glowing bride-to-be.

But in the midst of my joy, my dear friend (and roommate!) was heartbroken. Her engagement had been called off. What should have been a time of shopping together, dreaming together and planning together, was now a time of mixed emotions. On March 9, 2001, she walked down the aisle dressed in navy rather than white. She danced as a bridesmaid rather than a bride. And she endured a painful season as my dreams progressed and she continued to wait on God for her future husband.

Fast forward five and a half years: In due time God brought a wonderful man into her life and they had gotten married 10 months earlier. She discovered she was pregnant and shared her pregnancy news with us. However, her announcement was bittersweet. Just weeks earlier I had lost our baby to miscarriage and I was grieving that loss. It was deeply painful to see her walk through a season that I longed to be in: wearing maternity clothes, registering for baby gifts, preparing a nursery, attending baby showers. Shopping, planning, and dreaming. She was a glowing mama-to-be.

Looking back now I see how God met us in our times of waiting. He dried our tears. He walked alongside us through our pain. He used those seasons to prepare us for what He had in store.

The worlds tells us to take control. God says, "Trust me. I'm in control." 

The world tells us that waiting is wasting time. God says, "Blessed are all those who wait for me."

The kind of waiting that the world laughs and scorns at can be excruciatingly painful.

I've referenced these words by C.S. Lewis before: “We are not necessarily doubting that God will do the best for us; we are wondering how painful the best will turn out to be.”

When the waiting hurts we can cling with desperation to the promise that He makes everything beautiful in its time. That means He is working all things together right now for beauty.

Sometimes waiting for beauty hurts like hell, but it's the only thing worth waiting for.


cybil said...

I`m not sure in which context C.S. Lewis says this, but I think it could be mistaken into an image of God who finds delight in hurting us.
I don`t think so. I think he loves to bless us, to heal us and to give us fullness of life.
You are certainly right that waiting hurts.
Greetings from Germany

Team Harries said...

Waiting for beauty! Love it. Love all your posts :)

Anonymous said...

I'm in a time of waiting right now and it's the worst experience of my life! You're right when you say the world expects you to take control, no one in my life seems to understand why I can't just actively "fix"the situation myself. And it hurts to always have them ask me questions I don't have answers to! I can't wait for God to just act already so that everything can start making sense to both me and those around me. I'm in deep agony, and honestly I don't think God understands...if He did He'd make it all just go away. Sounding immature I know, but that's where I'm at. It's bad.

keep believing said...

Thank you so much for sharing these words of wisdom. It is so true that waiting hurts. I've been struggling with waiting...not understanding why God would have me wait so long. The truth is...he didn't come through in "my time." When I feel like this I often think of the song by Casting Crowns "Praise You in this Storm." The first line in the song says "I was sure by now God you would have reached down and wiped our tears away stepped in and saved the day." I feel like this every day I have to endure more waitiing...but then I sing the second line...because then I remember "once again I say amen...and it's still raining." The chorus states "I will praise you in this storm and I will lift my hands for you are who you are no matter where I am and every tear I've cried you hold in your hands... you've never left my side, though my heart is torn, I will praise you in this storm." Every period of waiting is an internal struggle or storm that we face. It hurts, but I never lose my faith even though I may not understand why now, I know I will understand looking back. I look forward to the years ahead when I can look back and see the work the Lord has done in my life. My favorite verse and this is the verse that keeps me going day after day after day of waiting is Jeremiah 29:11 "For I know the plans I have for you" declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you, and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

Tam said...

@Keep believing...your post have me tears it is so touching to my tortured soul. as I painfully continue to wait

Anonymous said...

C.S.Lewis was NOT a Christian. Please do the research. Otherwise, the post is true. So many believers seem to be going through so much pain these days. I'm waiting for something that becomes more difficult to believe by the day. Impossible, actually, and the pain is acute.The late Pastor David Wilkerson has a three part series on youtube called 'Death of A Promise'. It's very worhtwhile to view. He reviews Biblical patriarchs and how they waited for many years for promises to come to pass. They endured very difficult situations while they waited.He also tells of his promise from God about founding Times Square Church and how it was fulfilled. David demonstrates how a promise has to 'die' before it can come to pass. It has to appear to be absolutely humanly and naturally impossible. Then when it happens, God's incredible power and glory is displayed. LAZARUS, SOME FORTH!

Anonymous said...

@Linda Emerson, I know it's been a few years since you posted this comment. I just wanted you to know that I listened to that 3 part series of Dave Wilkerson and "Death of a Promise." I can not tell you how much it changed my life. I stumbled across your post during one of the darkest days of my life. This sermon touched my spirit in ways I couldn't even describe, and I knew I was meant to hear it. I just wanted to say thank you.