Whatever It Is You’re Waiting For…

In Advice and Encouragement, Uncategorized by Debra Fileta11 Comments

I don’t know about you, but there are some of God’s words that make me laugh out loud.  Not necessarily because they are humorous, or comical in any way–but because they seem down- right ridiculous.  This passage happens to be one of them. 

Numbers 9: 19-22

When the cloud remained over the tabernacle a long time, the Israelites obeyed the LORD’s order and did not set out. Sometimes the cloud was over the tabernacle only a few days; at the LORD’s command they would encamp, and then at his command they would set out. 

Sometimes the cloud stayed only from evening till morning, and when it lifted in the morning, they set out. Whether by day or by night, whenever the cloud lifted, they set out. Whether the cloud stayed over the tabernacle for two days or a month or a year, the Israelites would remain in camp and not set out; but when it lifted, they would set out.

Here they are, millions of men, women and children journeying on foot to an unknown land.  They had just escaped the slavery of Egypt, and were on their way to the “promised land“.  There was something fantastic coming up ahead–God had promised it to those who followed Him.

You see, I laugh because the process of getting to this land must have taken a ridiculous amount of patience, and I myself am hardly a fan of the word.  I like to be efficient.  I want things to be done in time.  I don’t like to “sit around and wait”.  There is no time for wasting, and there is definitely no time to delay.  Frankly, there is really no time for patience at all–the entire concept just takes way too long.

The strange thing is, the part I find most challenging about this passage is not just about patience-it’s about the unknown.  You see, had God given them a “set time” to wait around- say, 2 days at a time, at least that would have given them time to plan out their patience, time to figure out what to do with their hours, time to compile a list of things to do, places to see.

But He didn’t.  The waiting was completely unknown to them.  It could have been days…months…or even years.

I guess I never comprehended the gravity of such a thing.  Imagine waiting around for something…something you expected to happen in a couple of hours or at the most, a couple of days.  Imagine having to wait for a year, maybe even two.  Maybe even longer. 

But even more than the wait, imagine being at a place of utter obedience.  A place in life that is so completely reliant on God that you don’t even bat an eye at the wait, because you trust Him.  Imagine having the amount of patience that sets aside your own agendas and plans–your own time-frame– in exchange for the greatest gift of all:  intimacy with God and being at the center of His perfect will.

No matter who you are or where you come from, there’s a good chance you have been waiting on God for something.  There’s a good chance that deep down you have a plan, and are hoping for that plan to pan out a certain way.  And maybe all this time, the waiting has just been a means to an end.   

But what if the waiting was not just the means to the end, but part of the end itself?  Imagine the purpose of the delay was simply this- to cure us of our obsession with the destination, in an exchange for an obsession with the Guide. I sometimes wonder if that is part of the big picture of “The Wait”.

The Israelites were forced to exchange their focus from the preoccupation of the destination to the preoccupation with the Guide.  Every day it was the Cloud that guided them- and it was the Cloud of God’s Spirit that ultimately won their attention, minute by minute, hour by hour.  Their eyes were fixed on Him—because they had to be. 

I’m challenged by this in my personal life.  I want to see the periods of waiting as more than simply time to kill.  I want to learn to see patience as the path that takes my focus on the natural and allows it to rest on the supernatural.  I want to allow God to use my time of waiting as a season to connect with Him, trust Him, and rely on Him rather than simply getting “through”.  I want God to grant me a ridiculous, laugh out loud patience that is ultimately more concerned with the Guide in the process of waiting.

So dear friend, no matter what it is you are waiting for, may God grant you the patience you need as you rest in His perfect will for your life, and as you fix your attention on Him. The Promised land will come, but until then, hold on tight to the One that Promises. 

Comments

  1. Thank you so much for these insightful words. Waiting and wandering seem to be the phase I’m in and I constantly need to remember God’s presence in it. It is too easy to wish the time away in discontent rather than focusing on God Himself. Your blog is such a blessing to me right now.
    -Leah

    1. Author

      Leah, so honored to hear you were blessed by this. Man, is it hard to wait and wander…I have been there, still am in so many ways. Praying for you in this moment that God continues to empower you to be present in the here and now, and more so, to feel Him strongly and intimately close to you during this time. Thank you for reaching out. Blessings to you!

  2. What a wonderful way of looking at it! I am really starting to enjoy the waiting but hadn’t thought about why. I love how much closer I am getting to God during this time but hadn’t seen it in that light. Beautifully put! Love your articles! May God continue to bless and keep you!

    1. Author

      Thank you Ruthie! What good news to hear how you are enjoying the wait! May His face shine bright on your life as you continue drawing closer to Him…and closer to your promised land 🙂

  3. I’m in my late 40’s and am still waiting for marriage…but in a far different way than I did in my 20’s or 30’s. It is hard to wait, but now I ask myself, “And then what?” when thinking about the arrival/end of the waiting period. Waiting is hard, but deep down I knew I wasn’t ready at the time I really wrestled with the time passing…and the opportunities passing. But, God knows best and I know what my heart is waiting for now…I just don’t know who he is (yet!)

    1. Author

      Kate, you are so right- waiting is the hardest part. But thank God the waiting has a purpose and it’s never in vain. Praying that you have peace and joy as you wait…like you said, God knows best. You have a beautiful heart, may God bless you and draw you nearer to Him during this stage of life. Thanks for sharing.

  4. Deb, this was meant for me. Thank you! it was like God wanted me to read this with a LOL expression on my face 🙂 I am currently looking for a job change and i’ve got too many rejection mails. Not giving up hope because i know he has a plan and something better in store. Good things to those who wait indeed 🙂

    1. Author

      Natasha, God knew what you needed! He’s sooo good like that! He knows the details! I am so glad to hear you were blessed by this…he does have something planned, and this time is a good break in the meantime. Use it to rest and connect with him- work will come soon. Thank you for sharing and I am so honored to hear you were blessed by this.

  5. Thank you so much for this, Debra. For many years (since my divorce) I have spent the time my beautiful daughters spend with their dad just ‘getting through’. My heart was broken and the loneliness I felt during those times was nearly unbearable. It wasn’t until I reached out to God (who I now know was waiting for me all along!) that I was able to turn ‘getting through’ into that season of knowing, connecting with and relying on Him that you mention. Over the past year, I have immersed myself in His Word and in constant prayer/conversation…and have received the BLESSING of his healing. I’ve ‘let the Lord love me’ and it’s amazing! I have struggled with patience my entire life as well…now, with His perfect help, I am doing my best to wait on Him…and to align my will with His Will (and timing!) for my life.

    1. Author

      Jennifer, as a mommy myself I can only imagine how hard it must be to be without your girls- on top of dealing with a divorce. Thank God he’s given you such a beautiful new perspective, it is so encouraging to hear that. You are right…what an amazing way that you’ve spent the hardest times in your life. To reach out to Him in your greatest times of need can be some of the most intimate times with Jesus. I know that has been so true for me. He meets me in my brokenness. I love how you said you are “letting him love you”- so beautiful. May He continue to love you, and may you receive that love each and every day. You are worth it…thank you so so much for sharing such a beautiful story.

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