“Are you waiting on God or something else?”
That was the question that was posed to me today, and it stopped me dead in my tracks. But you obviously have no idea what led up to this moment, so let’s backtrack a little and give you the back story. This morning I woke up frustrated. Or rather, I went to sleep last night frustrated, which inevitably spilled over into this morning, naturally setting me up for a great start to the day. (Yes, I realize I am dripping with sarcasm.)
Why? I’m tired of waiting. I’m at a point in my life right now where there are things that I have been waiting on for years, with little to no indication that whatever I’m hoping and praying for is actually going to come about. That, coupled with the current media fast I’m on means that instead of listening to the radio, I am now alone in the car face to face with myself and my thoughts set on warp speed. So I’m thinking a lot more, and seemingly driving myself crazy in the process.
But then of course, just when I’m about to really throw myself into a fit, in comes one of our interns. That’s the thing about working at the Campus House of Prayer (CHOP). We have this ability to pick crazy awesome interns who have a knack for strolling in at just the right moment to ask an innocent yet profound question that leaves me with no other response than “darn you spiritually-astute-wisely-discerning-prayerful-gracious-servant-leader.” *sigh* There goes my bad mood.
Now back to the question.
Waiting For What?
We’re one week into the fast that 200 students and several campus ministers have joined together to do, and my eyes are definitely being opened to things in my life. One of the biggest things really, is how self reliant I like to be versus being God reliant. And while self reliance isn’t necessarily a bad thing, what I’m realizing is that it makes it difficult for me to deal with things that I have little to no control over. Because I can’t do anything except wait on God.
Let me be clear, I am not trying to over-spiritualize the concept of “waiting on God.” I don’t think that waiting means doing nothing, and that it is meant as a time for preparation of things to come. But I think before we even get to the practicals of what to do when we’re waiting, I think it’s crucial that we first figure out exactly what we’re waiting on. Namely, what’s got a hold of your heart? God, or something else?
Chasing The Giver and Not the Gifts
Matthew 6:33 states it very clearly. “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” And even though I’m not always good about putting that to practice, I do honestly think that’s the formula for living a fulfilled life in Jesus Christ. The bible doesn’t say wanting things is a bad thing. Actually, it tells us we can ask God for what we want (Matthew 7:7) and tells us that God wants to give us good things. (Luke 11:11)
But what we need to make sure of, is that our desire for a particular thing doesn’t supersede our desire for God. If and when this happens, it puts thing off balance and causes us to get frustrated with God. Why isn’t my friend/family member saved yet? Why am I not married yet? Why don’t I have that perfect job? Why am I not on the mission field yet? And before we know it, we have fallen into the trap of idolatry. Yes, even good desires can become idols if placed higher than God.
Let Go and Let God
I’m writing this today because I think a lot of us Christians often get caught up in striving without realizing it. We want things so bad that we convince ourselves if we just do more, try harder, put ourselves in different places around different people saying different things, somehow we’ll be able to make whatever we’re wanting happen. But the truth is I don’t think it works that way, and I don’t think God is standing in the corner scoring us on how much we do before He grants us whatever we’re praying for.
I think He’s just waiting for us to let go.
Letting go can be the hardest thing to do, but it’s often times the most freeing and usually the exact moment when God seems to choose to show up. And I think it plays out that way because we stop trying to figure things out for ourselves, get out of the way and let Him work. It’s like a friend of mine who was trying so hard to lead his roommate to Christ for 2 years, and when he finally just released it in prayer and gave it up to God, saw his roommate accept Jesus a week later.
Faith In the Meantime
So where does that leave us then? The truth is I don’t know for sure. Waiting is different for everyone, and I have yet to meet anyone who likes having to wait. And while I could use lots of examples from the bible of people who had to wait for ages like Abraham and David and Joseph, I’ll simply say that I think waiting, especially for things that seem almost impossible to us, builds our faith.
Whatever it is that you’re waiting for, however long it’s been, trust that God hears and knows the desires of your heart, whether it’s for yourself, for your family, your friends, your campus or anything else. And the neat thing about having to wait? When it finally happens, we’ll know it’s only by the grace of God and all glory goes to Him. And that, if anything, is worth it.
“What is faith? It is the confident assurance that the things we are hoping for are going to happen. It is the evidence of things not yet seen.” Hebrews 11:1
Kimberly Chung is the National Media Director for Campus Renewal Ministries, a ministry focused on forging partnerships in prayer to build missional communities that transform college campuses with the gospel of Jesus. She is a campus minister to The University of Texas at Austin and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org