God's plan for us is for the LONG HAUL. We may not see what that long-term outcome is going to be, but we can trust that he has our eternal best interests at heart!
It's hard to wait and trust!
Especially in this age of super-fast technology, waiting for anything just seems to get harder and harder. Consider, for instance, when your computer screen is displaying that little hourglass, or that churning circular cursor that means 'wait', and it seems like nothing is happening. How long do you actually wait before you take action?
I suspect that many of us, myself included, don't wait all that long when we aren't seeing any indication that something is happening with the computer. I think I probably start thinking about my next move (should I click again? click on something else? try to cancel the transaction? reboot my computer?) within about 10 seconds of not seeing anything happen. Maybe even sooner!
That may seem like I am being pretty impatient, but with my computer it is more likely than not that it has frozen up and I will have to reboot. So for that scenario it is entirely understandable, and even prudent, to not waste too much time waiting for something that is not ever going to happen! I obviously don't trust my computer, LOL.
But, it isn't prudent to be so impatient for lots of other situations. I started thinking about this concept of 'waiting even when it seems like nothing is happening' over the last two weeks while I was recovering from a surgical procedure.
OK, so I am waiting. Is anything even happening?
For the most part, as I've been waiting to heal from the surgery, I have been patient, knowing that it will take some time for my body to do its thing. But at any given moment, it seemed like nothing was happening; I couldn't really see or feel my body working to rebuild cells and repair the damaged tissue.
However, if at any point in time I looked back a few days, it was apparent that something had indeed been happening, however invisible to me, since doing a comparison over a larger chunk of time revealed a more distinct difference in my healing status.
Patience and perspective...
Well, that whole experience led me to think about how the physical healing process might be similar in some ways to the process of waiting for God.
I know that God always hears me, and often answers in amazing, unexpected, and sometimes very subtle, ways.
But, even knowing that, in any particular moment of some life challenge or event, sometimes it would seem like God was nowhere to be found, and that my prayers were going into the air and disappearing into nothingness.
However, as I think back on many of those situations now and reflect on how I wanted them to resolve versus how they actually resolved, with the viewpoint of looking at the effects over a larger chunk of time, I can see that they really did turn out for the best. ("OHHHHHHH.... I get it now, Lord. Thank you for giving me what I needed, instead of what I requested!")
When that happens - when I can really see how God's plan was better than my plan - it is truly a gift, because there are certainly lots of instances where I don't get that hindsight perspective. But, it has happened often enough that it leads me to believe that one reason I might not see it for some of those other situations is because I haven't yet let enough time pass. (Of course, there will always be some situations which we as humans will never really understand why they turned out they way they did, at least not in our earthly life. That's another place where trust comes into the picture, I suppose!)
God is not short-sighted!
God's plan for us is for the LONG HAUL. It might be scary to give up that control in the short-run, but if we can trust that he has a much wider view and perspective on what we really need than we could ever hope to have, it can help us to let go and have confidence that God will show us the way.
So, like the disciple Peter walking on the water, we need to keep our eyes on Jesus. Although we see all the problems and concerns of life swirling around us, like the storm swirling around Peter as he stepped out of the boat, and we may wonder HOW in the world are these things going to turn out OK, we need to be focused and patient and keep moving towards the outstretched hand of Jesus.
That is REALLY hard to do. I don't blame Peter one bit for becoming afraid amid the crashing waves and howling wind. Here is some great news, though: We don't need to do this all by ourselves! In fact, if we do that, we are setting ourselves up to sink in the water. We need to continuously ask for God's assistance in overcoming our fears, in waiting for his guidance, and in putting our full trust in his goodness and mercy. He will always give us what we need to do what he wants us to do!
Even when I can't see what that long-term outcome is going to be, I can be sure that he has my eternal best interests at heart, and so I need to wait to be shown the way, keep my mind and heart open to his guidance, and trust that the direction will come.
Lord, please give me the patience I need...
So, while I will still probably only give my computer 10 seconds or less before I start to take matters into my own hands to get that thing to respond, I know I need to take an entirely different approach when it comes to waiting for God.
Even when it seems like the only response I get is the empty chirping of crickets in the night, I resolve to remind myself that God is working continuously in my life, giving me the grace to accept that his plan is the best plan. I am sure I will need to remind myself daily to take a deep breath, ask for patience and wisdom to embrace the waiting, and trust that God is on the case, even if I don't specifically see anything happening at any given moment!
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