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  • Alex Allen

For Those Who Are Waiting On Something...

I remember as a young child the anticipation I would feel in those weeks leading up to Christmas. Underneath the Christmas tree in the living room there would usually be several packages with my name on them and I knew they contained items that I would enjoy, even though I couldn't yet see them and often didn't know exactly what they were. The waiting was excruciating for me; so much so that I would sometimes resort to shaking the packages in order to listen for familiar sounds that might give me a hint as to what was inside.

Many of us probably have somewhat similar memories of the holiday season as a child; particularly that anxious and antsy feeling that December 25th would never arrive. Of course, as adults, we can easily look back on those times and realize that it was actually the waiting, the anticipation and the delayed gratification that made the whole experience so special and memorable. Yet so often in our lives today, we still struggle with feelings of impatience surrounding other life events. I know I certainly do.

Sure, waiting for Christmas Day so I can open a few boxes of toys might not be of great concern anymore (although if anyone wants to get me a game of Rock 'Em Sock 'Em Robots this year, I wouldn't object. Those things are cool), but I can admit that my impatience hasn't really improved that much in my adult years, but rather has translated into other and perhaps more important areas of life.

Of course, there are the menial, daily tasks during which my patience might be tested. I'm the kind of guy who gets antsy if I'm sitting for more than a few seconds at a red light; and I have to contain my frustration when someone is blocking the grocery store aisle for too long as I'm trying to get around. But there are also much more significant areas of life where my lack of patience rears its ugly head. I get impatient waiting for big events to take place, I get impatient waiting for answers, I get impatient waiting for a breakthrough and yes... dare I say, I've even been known to get a little impatient waiting on God.

As a Christian, patience is a requirement. We learn two principles in the book of Hebrews which lead us to this conclusion: The first of these is in Hebrews 11:16 where we read that without faith, it is impossible to please God. The second is actually earlier in the same chapter. Hebrews 11:1 tells us that the definition of faith is the "substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." So if faith is necessary to please God and faith means believing God for things we can't see, that means that pleasing God sometimes requires being patient and knowing that He has things under control. Easier said than done; especially if you're like me.

There's another portion of scripture on the subject of waiting (particularly waiting on God) that I've grown very fond of during recent seasons of my life: Isaiah 40:31 says: "But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint."

I'm something of an amateur Bible geek and I like to dive in a little during study, particularly looking at the original language from time to time. And upon a little closer examination of this verse from Isaiah, I found a fascinating revelation in the actual definition of the Hebrew word that was translated in our English bibles as "wait." The Hebrew word is qāvâ. This word doesn't just mean to wait, but rather to wait in a specific way. It means to "wait expectantly, to hope or to look upon eagerly." This hit me like a ton of bricks when I studied it, as the Lord revealed to me: there's a right way to wait and a wrong way to wait.

See, waiting itself is only half the battle. In fact, all of us will, at some point in our lives, have to wait on something. We have no choice in the matter. But what we do have a choice in is HOW we wait. We can choose to wait in the way that this Hebrew word from Isaiah 40:31 describes or we can choose to take the route that I've mistakenly taken many times in the past: to wait in a less than patient and, frankly, more negative way.

It's easy to become bitter and even upset with God during seasons of waiting. I know this all too well from a personal experience I had not too long ago. It was actually last Christmas, interestingly enough, when it all came to a head, so to speak. But on the other side of this experience, I'll be eternally grateful to the Lord for the wonderful lessons He taught me along the way and for the miraculous ways in which He displayed not only His glory but His love for me as well.

I hate to sound like a cheesy, hopeless romantic; but something that has always been a desire of my heart is to find the right person, fall in love, get married and start a family. That desire actually intensified after I rededicated my life to Christ several years ago and found a relationship with the Lord. I found myself seeking a life partner to join me in my pursuit of the Lord and someone with whom I could start a wholesome, God-fearing family. As months and years passed, however, and I continued to pray on the matter, I kept feeling as though I was coming up short. Nothing seemed to be happening in that area of my life and any time I would think something was popping up it would either end in disappointment or in me feeling as though God was leading me away from it.

As I mentioned before, everything sort of came to a head around Christmas time last year. I was absolutely exhausted in every was possible - physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually - and I was experiencing feelings of loneliness and despair. I felt as though this one desire that had consumed my thoughts and mind was never going to be fulfilled and I even started to question God. I cried out, asking why He would even allow me to continue to have these desires or why He would have placed them on my heart in the first place if it wasn't something He was going to allow to be fulfilled. I had a desire to follow closely with the Lord's will for my life but at that moment, that seemed to be in stark contrast to what my heart wanted. I felt as though the Lord was telling me to wait and to be patient and yet I wanted something right then and right there. I was sick of waiting.

It wound up being a bit of a curse and yet also a blessing that I was sort of contained to my house alone for much of Christmas weekend. If you live locally, you'll likely recall the peculiar winter storm that came through last Christmas. We had ice, snow and subzero temperatures which shut a lot of things down for a few days. So here I was on a holiday weekend, which was supposed to be the "most wonderful time of the year" according to those song lyrics and yet I was going through one of the worst seasons of depression, doubt and anxiety in recent years; and I was stuck at home with no work to go to and no church services to attend. I broke down.

I remember getting down on my knees in the middle of my living room and just pouring my heart out to God. I told Him how frustrated I was, as if He didn't already know. I told Him that I couldn't see an end in sight to the frustration and depression that I was experiencing. As I prayed, however, the prayer somehow supernaturally started to shift. I began to develop a heart of repentance. I told God that I was sorry for elevating my desires and the things I wanted in life above Him and what He had already provided me with. I started to praise God and to thank Him for the blessings over my life. And finally, I had a breakthrough.

I began to realize that God had brought me through so much in my life already and that it was when I had trusted Him the most that I had worried the least. I recalled the portion of scripture where Jesus talks about becoming like a child before the Lord. A child is totally dependent upon their parents or other adults in their life to provide for them. A child doesn't necessarily know how the next meal is going to come or where it's going to come from. They don't necessarily understand how everything works together or happens. They just have to trust that their guardians are going to make it happen.

This is the kind of faith God desires from us. We can't see all the answers sometimes and we're never going to be able to understand how everything works together in the grand scheme of things because we're not God and we have tunnel vision. We can only see through our narrow perspective of the world, whereas God can see it all. He sees through time, space and everything else. And the Bible tell us in one of my personal favorite verses (Romans 8:28) that God will work all things together for the good for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.

I like this verse because it doesn't say all things are going to BE good; it says that God will work them together FOR good. I also like the stipulation, if you will, at the end. The verse applies to those who love God and are called according to His purpose. This means that we must do our part in following the Lord and then everything else will fall into place the way it's supposed to.

Over the next few weeks, I was more spiritually on fire than I had been in quite some time, if perhaps ever in my life. I started to be happy with what God had already given me and I started to focus more on deepening and strengthening my relationship with Him. Instead of spending my time feeling sorry for myself, I spent more time in prayer, more time studying the Word and even more time fasting and just seeking the Lord; not for what He could give me but just for Him and who He was.

I was already experiencing a "spiritual high," if you will; but what happened next was something you would only expect to hear in some sort of fairly tale or movie or maybe even in a miraculous story straight from the scripture. Just a few short weeks after my breakdown and subsequent breakthrough, I wound up meeting a very special person. Interestingly enough, we ended up meeting through a series of prayer meetings that the Lord had impressed upon me to start at our church.

Now, as we sit in the midst of the Christmas season once again this year, I can tell you that this special person I met has a ring on her finger; and in a little over 20 days, she's going to have another one and so will I. On Christmas weekend last year, I was miserable and in a state of self loathing. On Christmas weekend this year, I'm going to be saying "I do" to the love of my life and we will embark on the next chapter of our lives together as husband and wife.

I can't begin to explain how amazing this year has been for me personally and how crazy it is that everything has happened so quickly. Of course, things probably happened so quickly that some will likely criticize. But through prayer, fasting and seeking the Lord, there's no doubt in either of our minds that we're doing the right thing. And it's absolutely clear to me that this wonderful relationship we now have was divinely orchestrated.

See, it wasn't until I gave up trying to fix things or figure things out myself that I began to see results. It wasn't until I stopped focusing on the things I wanted from God and just started focusing on Him that He really showed up and showed off. It's okay to have wants and desires and it's okay to express those to the Lord. Even though He already knows everything anyway, He wants us to share things with Him and to bring our desires before Him. The problem is when we begin to elevate the blessing above the one who brings the blessing. The problem is when we begin to seek the miracle and not the Miracle Worker.

I'm not sure what you're seeking today or what you're waiting on. Maybe it's an answer from the Lord, maybe it's a miracle or a blessing or a person or a financial breakthrough. Maybe it's even a medical breakthrough. I can't begin to guess what your need might be but the Lord knows what it is. In Matthew chapter 6 and verses 31 and 32, Jesus tells his disciples not to worry about what they'll eat, what they'll drink or what they'll wear because God already knows that they need these things. Instead, he says later on in verse 33 to "seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you."

I'm here to tell someone today that God does love you and that He does know what you need. He sees whatever pain or difficulty or struggle you're going through today. But what He wants more than anything is for you to just come to Him and to lay it all at His feet; ultimately, to have faith in Him and to trust that He can work it all out for the good. I'm living proof and an example that when you just yield to God, what he blesses you with is going to be way better than anything you could have ever possibly imagined.

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