What stirs up in you when you hear the phrase “wait patiently”? Life is full of instances where we are called to wait. When we are single, we wait for that special someone to enter our lives. Eventually we get engaged, and wait for the wedding. In time, many couples decide to start a family and again there is a period of waiting. For some the news will come quickly, others it takes an extended time of waiting to make the big announcement to their family and friends. For others, they wait patiently only to realize what they are waiting for may never happen as planned. Some couples seek fertility treatments and wait to see if those will work; while other couples seek adoption – and once again…wait.
Recently Josh and I have been invited to share in the waiting period of a possible adoption. No, we aren’t adopting, but a couple whom we love dearly hope to. They have been waiting to start their family and it would seem as though God has a bit of a different path for them than they originally thought. So we are now waiting with them for the sweet, little blessing God already has picked out for them (and us) to love. During a meeting with the social worker, we discussed what the process will look like for both the couple and the child. I’ve always thought of the adoption process as being a waiting period for the parents-to-be. But in our conversation, I realized this is just as much a waiting period for the child whose greatest desire is to be loved by a family of their own.
Have you ever been in a season of waiting? I’m sure we’ve all experienced this at one time or another. It can tug at our heart and mind; it can be exciting, but it can also be very painful. The other day I was reminded of a quote I had heard a while back about waiting. I’m not sure of the original author, but it goes like this: “The work God does within us while we wait is just as important as whatever it is we’re waiting for.” Similarly, we are reminded of this in scripture. Romans 5:3-5 says, “3 We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. 4 And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation.5 And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.” (NLT)
When I reflect on my life I can think of several situations when I wanted God to take the difficult time away and fix it. Yet, in reality I would never give up any of those trails, simply because they have formed and shaped me into who I am today. Yes, some of them were hurtful; no, I do not care to experience the pain again – but I am thankful for each experience. I guess in some ways I have learned to simply remember some of my past a little differently because of the joy I have found in the outcome of my waiting.
This week many of us will sit around a table with family and friends and enjoy a traditional Thanksgiving meal. Some families will go around the table and share what they are most thankful for this year. There are likely a few individuals who will struggle with what they are thankful for. Others will simply say a prayer of blessing and carve the turkey. Whatever the case is for your family, may it be so of each of us that we not only find ourselves grateful for the bountiful blessings of this life, but also for the good work God has done within us while we are waiting.