Learning to Wait When Our Longings Linger
Purple crocuses pop against the backdrop of the dormant blades of grass—a sign that spring is on its way. Layers begin to shed as buds form on trees, and tulip and daffodil leaves miraculously sprout through the once hardened earth. Hope is palpable as new life slowly begins to surface and spring makes her debut.
As the air grows warmer and the earth begins to shift from shades of brown to vibrant green, these tiny indications of what is to come send revival coursing through our veins. We are quick to put the not-so-distant dark days of winter in our past as we cling to the hope of spring.
The new life reminds us that nothing lasts forever. Seasons change. And the wait is always worth it in the end. Through the long days of winter, it’s hard to remember the contagious hope offered each spring.
In life, winter seasons linger longer than we’d like when our longings go unmet. We fail to find hope as we grow weary and restless in seasons of waiting, but in the wait—no matter how long it stretches on—we can find strength knowing that God does not abandon us.
The Search for Certainty in the Unknown
“Lord, give me the strength to strap on this leg brace.”
After a deep inhale, I grabbed the brace and put it on. For over a year, I had been strapping on not one, but two braces as I worked to regain the mobility the growth of my tumor had constricted. Four and a half hours a day I sat in those braces.
After a year, even the steadily increasing mobility didn’t combat the weariness heavy within me. I deeply related to David’s plea in Psalm 13, “How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? How long shall I take counsel in my soul and have sorrow in my heart all the day (1-2 ESV)?”
I wanted to know when it would end—if it would end. The uncertainty gnawed at me.
The unknown shakes us in seasons of waiting. We desire to know the big picture—we don’t like not knowing what waits for us on the other side. In seasons of waiting, it can be hard to live fully, to believe that we will grow through what we are going through. We simply want to get through.
As I worked to regain my mobility, I was terrified to consider the possibility that my present reality was what God had for me. I believed that I would one day walk normally again, but I knew it wasn’t a guarantee. In the middle of waiting there were times I wanted to give up—days tears filled my eyes, and I wondered what the future held. Days I wondered why this had happened to me.
While many questions remain unanswered even now, in the weariness of waiting, as believers, hope is never truly lost for God is with us in the waiting.
God is in the Waiting
While that particular season of waiting has passed, new seasons have emerged. It’s one thing to say “God is in the waiting,” but it’s harder to live like you know it to be true as you wait for your longings to be met. May you return to these truths as I do to offer you the strength to endure your season of waiting.
Remember: God is always good.
In the wait, it’s impossible to know what is on the other side of our heartache. We often need time and distance to discern God’s purposes through seasons of waiting. But when we look back and remember how God has met our every need in other seasons, we are reminded that God is always good. We remember to trust His wisdom and timing. Creating space to reflect back on the trials and storms God has seen us through helps us to remember that God is always good.
Take Heart: God is always working.
Prayers often feel neglected or ignored in seasons of waiting. Whether our prayers are answered with a yes, no, or not yet, God is in it. He knows our every need even before we ask (Matthew 6:8). And while the outcome may not be what we hoped or imagined, we can take heart knowing that God’s plans are the best of all.
We more clearly see the way God is moving and working in our lives when we take note of the ways God is at work. Consider writing down your prayers as a way to track God’s provision in your circumstances. Even when it doesn’t feel like it, He is indeed working.
Trust: God is always on time.
“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose,” we learn in Romans 8:28 (ESV). God is with us in our suffering and He is always working all things for our good. While things may not go according to our desired timing, we can trust that God is always on time.
It took seven hundred and thirty-two days to regain nearly complete mobility of my leg. The days were full of ups and downs and what felt like endless waiting. But without that period of waiting, I never would have come to appreciate the gift of mobility—for we don’t always know what we have until we lose it—nor would I have learned to lean on God to get me through. Suffering opened my eyes to the gifts in front of me—gifts I would not have recognized had healing been granted in my timing instead of God’s.
Know: God can handle it all.
God is always with us and He knows our pain and heartache—keep taking it all to Him. Matthew 7:7 instructs us to, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.” Keep seeking. Keep asking. Keep knocking. Keep turning to God even when you are weary and hope is hard to find. He will give you rest.
Faithful to What We’ve Been Given
Without winter, we would never know the joys of spring. Every season of life serves a purpose. While we would all like to skip pain and suffering, without darkness, it’s hard to appreciate the light.
Winter makes way for the beauty of spring. First, we must be planted and allow our roots to grow, for only then do we get to experience the beauty of spring. God is always working. In time, He will help us to bloom. Let us be faithful to what we’ve been given as we learn to wait when our longings linger.
God’s presence sustains us in seasons of waiting. If you feel ungrounded in your season of waiting, I’d love to gift you with a copy of Ungrounded. May it be your companion as you pause in God’s presence. Enter your email below and a PDF of the ebook will be on its way to your inbox.
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