In the book Oh,The Places You'll Go by Dr. Seuss, there is a scene called "The Waiting Place." That particular passage talks about the place where everyone keeps waiting. To quote the book: "For people just waiting for a train to go, a bus to come, or a plane to go." It goes on to talk about the various reasons people wait for things. At the end of the section it declares that "Waiting isn't for you'll that somehow you'll escape that."
It's so ironic that many people actually think that they, as the words in this children's classic say, will somehow escape the waiting place. While one can appreciate Dr. Seuss' sentiment, the truth of the matter—that I'm sorry to tell you—is that if you want to accomplish anything lasting for the kingdom of God, you'll often reside in the waiting place.
I have news for you: God's timing just isn't our timing. God has His own way of doing things. The problem that I've seen a lot in the church is when people refuse to accept this truth. They want things their own way, and on their own terms, so if God doesn't do what they think He should when they want Him to do it, they often go out and try to make things happen on their own. I realize when you're in the waiting place it can be easy to want to do things on your own. I understand the temptation, but "except the Lord build the house, those who build labor in vain" (Ps. 127:1a). God and His ways cannot be forced into a box of your own design.
I spent years trying to fight with God and wrestle the plan of God on my life. I wanted to force it to happen. I knew what He'd called me to do, and I was going to run that race with as much passion and ferocity as I could muster. There is nothing wrong with that. But I was trying to force it to happen in my own strength. In the natural, I can be a bit of a bulldozer. However, when I discovered God wasn't going to be moved by my attempts, I grew weary and frustrated. "But God," I cried. "Can't you see how hard I don't want to be in the waiting place? Can't You see I'm ready for what You've shown me?"
I cried, I battled and I grew angry and frustrated, going back and back and back toward the closed doors like a battering ram. I was also like a child, convinced that what I needed was just on the other side of the door and throwing a fit when things didn't happen the way I thought they would.
Until I learned the reality an important truth, James 1:2-5 states:
My brothers, count it all joy when you fall into diverse temptations, knowing that the trying of your faith develops patience. But let patience perfect its work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all men liberally and without criticism, and it will be given to him.
God wasn't keeping those doors shut to harm me. But through it all, He was teaching me, maturing me and getting me ready to be on the other side of those doors. God knew even though I thought I was ready when I cried, I really wasn't. God knew it was for my protection and the protection of those I was called to one day minister to that He had to bring me through the waiting place. Those waiting places are not easy, but they are worth it. You are being prepared.
Perhaps you're in a waiting place now. Here are some things that you need to keep in mind:
- God wants you to accomplish what He's put you on the earth to do more than you do (see Jer. 29:11). He created you, so trust that.
- God has good plans for your life.
- God's ways may not be our ways, He timing may not be yours, but He doesn't dangle destiny in front of your face just to move it again. You must trust Him.
- God looks into your future and sees your end on the earth to where you are now, so even though you don't understand the timing. He does.
- Wrestling with God will just tire you out. Be still and know He is God.
- Be at peace. Stop trying so hard to prove you're ready for that thing He has called you to. Be at peace that your journey is not a sprint but a marathon. Be consistent, persevere and keep moving forward.
I have often said that learning to truly trust God is the marker of a mature believer. I'm not saying that we all don't have our moments. But when we trust God, we can be at peace, keep pressing towards the prize and run the race He has set before us. Don't sweat the small stuff. Let God be God, and you can enjoy your life. The waiting place won't last for a lifetime. Be determined that you will get through it, and when you do, "Oh, the places you'll go."
Anna M. Aquino is a published author, guest minister and prophetic voice. Her books Cursing the Church or Helping It?, Confessions of a Ninja Mom and An Ember In Time are available wherever books are sold. Marriage in Time is set to release in July of 2017. Please feel free to check out her website at annamaquino.com.
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