Have you ever longed for something for so long, you became convinced God wasn't listening? Or that He'd chosen to ignore your cries? Or perhaps you've determined the answer is no and have moved on to something else, and then the next thing, and then the next.
Waiting is hard. The more we long to see something happen, the harder the wait is. But Romans 8:28 tells us that God works all things for the good of those who are called, all who belong to Him.
All things. If that's true, what does that say about our times of waiting?
My Emmaus Road: When It Feels Like The Waiting Will Never End
by Tara Johnson
“A watched pot never boils.”
The old adage has rolled around in my brain more times than I care to admit, yet I traitorously return time and again to watch the pot on the burner. Why is waiting so hard?
The watched pot represents something different for each of us. Perhaps it's a dream that once seemed so certain, but has now become frustratingly elusive. Maybe it's a petition for the good health you once enjoyed, or for finances that are never quite enough, or for a job that would mean the difference between your family's comfort and barely scraping by.
Or maybe you find yourself scanning the horizon day after day watching for the limping return of your rebellious child and the thought of surviving one more moment without word from him scrapes your heart until you fear you'll bleed.
Whatever the reason, times of intense of waiting can often feel like God has forgotten about us. Do you know where the enemy targets most of his most cunning attacks? In the realm of our emotions. He tells us that because we feel a certain way, it must be so. We feel God doesn’t love us because we can't sense Him with us, so therefore, God must not love us. We feel neglected by our husbands, so therefore, we are neglected. We feel hopeless in our circumstances, so therefore there must not be hope.
The blunt truth? Our emotions have very little to do with reality. They swing and dive with alarming speed. Truth doesn’t.
Not long ago I experienced my own intense season of waiting. The disappointment mounted as the enemy’s hissing lies increased. One morning I rose and, contemplating another day void of answers, burst into tears.
“This is never going to happen, is it, Lord?”
Heart-sore, I opened my Bible to Luke 24.
This passage tells about two of Jesus’ followers who were returning from Jerusalem. They were grieving all that had transpired during Passover. Jesus, the man they thought would be the Messiah, had been brutally beaten and killed. They were disillusioned and feeling defeated. Yet the newly resurrected Christ appeared beside them on the Emmaus Road, talking with them along the way.
And they didn’t even recognize Him.
The two men said, “We were hoping he would free Israel….”
They hoped. They wanted. They had dreamed and all their plans seemed to have been crushed into dust.
It struck me just how blind those two men were. They were lamenting everything that was wrong, how their plans didn’t fit God’s and yet they were oblivious to the fact that the Savior of the world was walking beside them.
With a start, I realized I was no different. I was walking on my own Emmaus Road, obsessing about God not doing things my way and, in the process, totally missed the main event.
There is a blessedness, and a time of leaning hard on Jesus, in the waiting, but we often lose sight of what matters when we obsess about the whys. Why haven’t I met Mr. Right yet? Why isn’t my ministry taking off? Why is my marriage in so much turmoil? Why is my health fading? Why are my children rebelling?
Here’s the point I missed…that goal, that dream, that prayer, the waiting is not the next step in the journey. Jesus is the journey. It's about being with Him as we journey through life...not waiting for the next thing around the bend.
“The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him. It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.” ~ Lamentations 3:25-26
As I was dwelling on my own Emmaus Road, my Father spoke to me plainly. “Little one, you’re so driven but often for the wrong things. If you’re driven, be driven to know Me. If you’re looking for contentment, be content with Me alone. I am enough. Let Me be your obsession.”
What about you? Have you ever tried to rush God’s timetable? What are other advantages and blessings that can be found in a time of waiting?
Tara Johnson is an author, speaker and singer from Alexander, AR. A passionate lover of stories, she loves to travel to churches, ladies retreats and prisons to share how God led her into freedom after spending years living shackled as a people-pleasing preacher's kid, and a steep battle with depression and perfectionism.
Her first nonfiction book Hollow Victory: How to Identify and Disarm 5 Landmines that Make Victorious Christian Living Feel Like a Lie was released in 2014. She has won the Bronze Medal in the Frazier awards hosted by My Book Therapy and has articles published in Plain Truth Magazine and Live It Loud Magazine and has been a featured guest on Voice of Truth radio and Enduring Word radio. Tara is a member of ACFW and is represented by Janet Grant of Books & Such Literary Agency. She and her husband Todd have been married for nineteen years and the Lord has blessed them with five children: Bethany, Callie, Nate, as well as Taylor Lynn and Morgan Lane who are with Jesus.
Waiting is always hard, but the more we understand who God is, what He's promised, and how much He loves us, the easier it becomes. God doesn't just love; He is love, and everything He does and allows is because of His immeasurable love. Knowing this allows us to weather the uncertainties and disappointments with peace.
We'd love to help you do just that! Join us this coming Saturday in Lincoln, Nebraska for our Wholly Loved Conference where you'll learn how to rest deeply in God's love and grace, allowing Him to heal your wounds, smooth away your rough edges, remove the false labels you've grabbed hold of, and shift your thinking so that you begin to see yourself as He sees you--deeply and wholly loved, created on purpose and for a purpose, and beautifully and intentionally unique.
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