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Tag: waiting

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Ice Doesn’t Melt at 31 Degrees

We had our first snow up in New England the day after Thanksgiving. There’s nothing like frosty weather to set us in the mood for Christmas. For some of us (usually those who still have shopping to do), the big day comes much too fast. For others, especially over-excited children, Christmas day can’t arrive fast enough. When my boys were younger, we always had to do a Christmas chain or advent calendar so they could see the days getting closer. Otherwise, I’d be plagued with, “How many more days?”

Waiting can be excruciating.

When I train any new greeters to the first impressions team at my church, I have them envision the father of the prodigal son watching the horizon, day in and day out, hoping to spy the silhouette of his son in the distance. Or I have them picture a mother who gets on her knees every morning and in earnest prays for her son or daughter to come back to the Lord. Every day they prayed, and each day they battled discouragement when nothing changed. However, this could be the day. The prodigal son could wake up and realize he doesn’t need to starve to death and can return home to his father’s house. This could be the day that a daughter, who had nowhere else to turn, remembers her friend who invited her to church. Today could be the day, and if you were the mother whose knees were worn from praying or the father whose eyes were strained from staring at the horizon, how would you want your son or daughter to be welcomed?

Waiting can be frustrating

dog waiting

Nothing happens to water until it reaches 32 degrees. Until that marker, ice won’t melt and water won’t freeze, but once the temperature hits that degree, things start to happen. Life can be a lot like water. We wait and we wait, and nothing seems to happen. I remember growing so frustrated in hoping for a book contract, questioning whether the desire I felt to write was actually God’s plan for my life. Discouraged was an understatement, but I kept putting my fingers to the keyboard. I’d written five and a half books (some of which will never leave my computer) before a publishing house reached out to me and then a second shortly after—all those years of hoping and waiting, and then wham, three books released in six months.

Waiting doesn’t mean forgotten

Joseph waited in a jail cell for a crime he didn’t commit, and after interpreting the baker and cupbearer’s dreams, he asked them to remember him so he could be freed. What happened after the baker and cupbearer were released from jail? Well, the baker was beheaded, but the cupbearer promptly forgot the man who’d helped him, so Joseph continued to wait in prison. It wasn’t until Pharaoh needed a dream interpreted that the cupbearer remembered Joseph and Joseph was brought before the king. In all that waiting, God never forgot about Joseph.

Waiting is a development period

Waiting can be a time for learning, developing, and understanding ourselves better. With me, I learned a lot about writing (what to do and what not to do) through those first books and by reading everything about the craft I could find. While waiting in the jail, Joseph was put in charge of managing the prisoners, which developed skills to help him later manage all of Egypt. He also grew in humility and wisdom. As a boy, Joseph hadn’t used discretion when telling his brothers about his dreams that they would someday bow down to him. Having three boys myself, I understand how such comments from a younger brother wouldn’t be well-received. God used this waiting period to teach Joseph and change his heart toward his brothers.

If you’re in a waiting period, God hasn’t forgotten about you or your prayers. Use the time to understand what God is trying to teach you, and don’t give up hope. Ice won’t melt at 31 degrees, but a lot can change with one degree.

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guy waiting at kitchen table

Waiting for the Plan

Waiting can be painful.
This year has been full of long, agonizing waiting. Waiting for schools to open, see family and friends, travel or vacation, a job position to open, and relief from bills or payments that have started to pile up. We’re told to hang tight for another 2 to 4 weeks, but the waiting has begun to feel endless.

Elizabeth understood what it was like to wait. She’d married Zechariah with the hopes to bear him a handful of children, yet her womb remained empty, and each night, she set their supper table only for two. She watched her hands become wrinkled, and her hair streaked with gray.

However, Luke 1:6 claims she was righteous in the Lord’s eyes, careful to obey all the Lord’s commandments. When she became pregnant, as the angel foretold, she didn’t doubt God’s ability to fulfill His promise. Not only that she would give birth in her old age but that her son will be called a prophet of the Most High, with the power of Elijah. Her son, John the Baptist, would prepare God’s people for the coming of the Lord.

Once she’d given birth to her son, Elizabeth’s waiting wasn’t over, nor were her worries. The baby she cradled in her arms would someday become a prophet, and the world was notoriously unkind to prophets. Queen Jezebel had sought to kill Elijah and had been successful in killing other prophets (1 Kings 19:1-2). The prophet Jeremiah was tossed in a pit because King Zedekiah didn’t like what he told him (Jeremiah 38:6). Daniel was thrown to the lions (Daniel 6:16). It wasn’t uncommon for a prophet to be stoned, jailed, or sawed in half. Elizabeth, who’d waited so long to be a mother, knew her child wouldn’t have an easy life, but she trusted God’s plan.

Her son had a calling. He was to proclaim the coming of a savior. For 400+ years, the world hadn’t seen a prophet. But God was setting things into motion. John the Baptist was born to point them to the light of the world—the messiah that would save them. In the waiting, the worry, and the fears, Elizabeth never lost sight of God’s promises. God had a master plan, and it began with her trusting Him with her son.  

My sweet friend, who has a lung condition, has been waiting in her one-bedroom apartment since March. I admire her because, like Elizabeth, she holds a grateful spirit—that each day and each breath is a gift. She remains positive because she trusts God is making a way.

woman waiting at window

Although waiting isn’t easy and the future is uncertain, God is making away in the wilderness, like Elizabeth, we need to change our waiting to anticipation. As Christmas draws near and 2020 draws to a close, we must wait like children on Christmas Eve, expectantly for the great thing God is doing because He has plans for us.

In those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the wilderness of Judea and saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.”  This is he who was spoken of through the prophet Isaiah: “A voice of one calling in the wilderness, ‘Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him.’” Matthew 3:1-3

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man checking watch

Oh, the Waiting Places You’ll Go

Man checking watch

According to theFactSite.com, the average person will spend five years waiting in line and an additional six months waiting on stoplights. In Dr. Seuss’s book, Oh the Places You Can Go, there are a couple of pages dedicated to The Waiting Place. Reading to the boys, I would switch to a monotone voice and list out all the things for which people wait. By the end, I’d exhale a deep sigh, and the boys would be slumping in the rocking chair, begging to turn to the next page. How do we reclaim our waiting time? How do we turn our stalled moments, especially during a pandemic, into preparing?

Objects in motion tend to stay in motion. Objects at rest tend to stay at rest.

Dog laying

Newton’s first law was created to apply to physics, but it applies to people also. People at rest tend to stay at rest, whereas people in motion tend to stay in motion. I can see this in my boys and their friends. The ones who’ve been kicking back and sleeping in during their “second” summer no longer desire to hang out, leave the house, or pursue activities. Complacency has set in. I’ve had to force my boys to get up at our usual waking time, workout, and stay active, or they default to all-video-games-all-day mode. The challenge is to get them moving. They need to stay in mental and physical shape, or they will fall behind, and life will catch them unprepared.

 “it’s not the will to win, but the will to prepare to win that makes the difference.” – Bear Bryant

The apostle Paul had to do a lot of waiting. He spent two years in jail in Caesarea, and two years under house arrest in Rome. However, Paul didn’t sit idle. He wrote a good chunk of the New Testament during this period. And then there was the time he was shipwrecked on the island of Malta. If Dr. Seuss had a page in his book for Malta, it would have been The Stuck Place. We’ve all been there—stuck between jobs, careers, relationships. Many of us are there now, stuck sheltering in place. But this is not the time to waste.

There’s no time to wait. Act now, while the offer still lasts! – practically every infomercial

While stuck in Malta, Paul didn’t sit on his hands. He saw an opportunity to convert the natives. Waiting not only is an opportunity to strengthen and equip ourselves. It’s a chance to relook at how we’ve done things. Scrap the old habits that are bad for us or aren’t working and try something new. Ready our hearts so we can be on our mark, get set, and go to the new thing God is preparing for us.

start of running race

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