Just about everyone goes through seasons of waiting in their lives. These are times when we feel like we can’t really move forward - or it seems like God is leading us down a path, but suddenly the progress just stops. Should we turn back? Did we take a wrong turn? Things out of our control are failing to happen in the time we thought they would, so we feel confused & stuck.
Our new journey into foster care is currently like this - things outside of our control are leaving us feeling stuck. The path leading up to our first placement feels like it’s stagnated, like things are taking longer than they should. Training for foster care was a pretty fast-moving & exciting time - we thought we were following God into a purpose much bigger than us. But now we’re just waiting, living out a pretty bland daily routine. Did we miss something? Our lives have been pared down & stripped away to make way for something that has no known arrival date. Honestly, it’s leaving us feeling discouraged, let-down, & even a little forgotten.
I wonder if sometimes God removes a lot of things from our lives so that we can see Him more clearly - He clears out distractions so we can focus on what’s most important. In our case, it seems like He’s been revealing what a life of faith should look like.
A key concept for the inevitable waiting periods of life is faith. Here’s what the Bible has to say about it:
“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” - Hebrews 11:1
“But he must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind.” - James 1:6
“Whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says is going to happen, it will be granted him.” - Mark 11:23
Faith is the foundation of our daily life with God - “the assurance of things hoped for.” In reading the numerous stories throughout scripture, we see exactly what faith is & how it’s lived out. Faith is huge - just read the rest of Hebrews chapter 11.
In seeing many examples of what faith is, it also becomes clear what it is not. Faith is not passive, it’s not doubtful, & it’s not a desperate, hopeless, last-ditch effort when we can’t seem to make progress on our own.
Often my attempts at faith look more like impatience, bitterness, or avoidance. I tend to try & move on to something else in life, to run away from the waiting game, to protect myself from the pain of a possible letdown. I don’t get mad at God, but I do tune out the situation, avoid it, & fill my mind with other things so that I don’t have to face my unfulfilled expectations. It’s like I can’t handle the pain of not getting what I want, of not knowing what’s next, of not being in control.
This is not faith. Seasons of waiting aren’t about just getting by - they’re about waiting in hope, in expectation. God wants us to really believe that He is going to be faithful, that He is going to come through, & that He has good plans for us (Jeremiah 29:11, Hebrews 11:13-16). Sometimes these waiting periods will be longer than we’d like, but it’s most honoring to God to be ready, eager, & full of belief in Him. The next time that you’re tempted to grow bitter, to give up, or to lose hope, run back to God & let Him strengthen you to wait expectantly. As God is always faithful to us, let’s be faithful to Him.
Credits for this post:
Thanks to Sabrina for sharing amazing scripture with the team on Sunday. Thanks to Derek for sharing a fantastic article today that refreshed my thinking. Thanks to Heather for working through all of these thoughts with me.