Two nights ago, while sitting on a concrete floor in a warehouse with college-age students surrounding me, I heard someone say that they believe everyone goes through a season of life at some point where they feel like they are stuck waiting. They know what they're holding out for, they hope for the good outcome on the other side, and they believe that if they can just be patient for this time period, their blessing will eventually come. I can say personally that this is the position I find myself in right now.
I'm waiting for this summer to end, so I can get out of working a full-time job for minimum wage and go back to school, doing the things I love. I'm waiting for the next two years of college to speed by, so I can graduate and begin the rest of my life close to the people I love. I'm waiting for my circumstances to change, so I can finally save money rather than spending it.
I'm just... waiting.
And I'm sure whoever is reading this has certain things they are waiting on, as well- a job, a relationship, a new way of living. We all have things we hope for constantly that we often have to have patience with and trust that God will provide.
Sure, we can stay put for years on end and hold to the hope of finally receiving our blessing one day. We can have faith that God will provide for us and use that as a source of encouragement and strength in waiting. Of course, we can wait for "our time" to come, when things will finally be different.
But how does this help the waiting in the here and now? What are we supposed to do in the meantime?
I think one of the easiest things we end up doing in this season is just falling into a sad routine. We wake up, we go to work or school, we do our jobs with the bare minimum amount of effort, then we go home. Until a few days ago, I'll admit that this way of living was just what I accepted as the norm. After all, why should I be happy with my circumstances right now when I'm still waiting for things to get better?
I'll be honest, I had to step back and think about what living my life in this way says about my faith. And it's not pretty.
There's a passage in the gospel of Luke where Jesus compares waiting for the Lord to servants who are waiting for their master to return home. He says if the servants are constantly on their guard and prepared, they can immediately greet their master when he comes home and the master will notice that they have been watchful for him. Here, Jesus is most certainly referring to the followers of Christ being ready and prepared for when He comes again and restores us to Himself. And while that is the much broader picture that may seem like the distant future in our eyes, this passage is very applicable to how we choose to serve Christ in the here and now.
God wants His people to draw near to Him consistently, not just when our waiting period is over. How are we supposed to continue in a good relationship with Christ when we finally receive our blessing if we neglect Him for the whole time we are waiting?
The waiting period is not a freeze-frame. It's not meant to be a season where we do nothing but complain about our current circumstances and just sit still. No, the waiting period is an opportunity for growth.
It's our chance to be a witness right where we are, to find God's contentment and peace in what He has for us right now. Yes, it may not be where we would like to be or where we think our ultimate calling is, but God wants us to remain watchful. He wants us to persevere and thrive in our current circumstances, so we can be ready when the time comes for us to receive the blessing He has for us... in our personal lives and when it comes time for His return again.
Don't be the person who sits and does nothing in the waiting period. Choose to open up your eyes to the needs around you and earnestly seek what God is calling you to where you are. Choose to obey and trust in Him, even when your patience wears thin. Choose to be content with where He has you right now, not just where you're hoping He has you in a few years.
Choose to serve Him while you wait.
"Be dressed ready for service and keep your lamps burning, like servants waiting for their master to return from a wedding banquet, so that when he comes and knocks they can immediately open the door for him. It will be good for those servants whose master finds them watching when he comes." (Luke 12:35-37)