Remember what you were told growing up about paying too much attention to time passing?
“If you stare at the clock, it’ll only go slower.”
And just when you stopped really focusing on the clock and started focusing on what you were doing, just like that, time started to fly.
You didn’t realize it then, but you were staring at the plumb-line of your situation, waiting for it to end. You were focusing on the constant in your experiment while you waited for the variables to change. Time was your only problem, since you were essentially waiting for the next thing to happen, and you weren’t exactly satisfied with what you were doing at the time.
Almost every night at work, I find myself at some point watching the digital clock, and normally during my downtime after I’ve finished clearing tables or polishing silverware. It feels like an eternity for one minute to become the next, and I get extremely anxious for the time when my boss says, “You’re cut. Get on outta here.”
Even more anxiety-inducing for me is looking at the bigger picture. I earnestly desire to be in a place where I’m back in full-time, vocational ministry, serving in a local church as a staff member and making an impact in that way.
And then I look at right now. I’m bussing tables currently, about to transition into a job at a coffee shop. I’m honestly the furthest away from working in a church, minus the fact that I’m interacting with people.
Truthfully, I’m empty. As I write this, almost a week out of being at FUGE camps and doing ministry work, I feel so very unfulfilled with the rest of my life. At times, I feel like I’m in a place where I never should’ve gone, choosing to walk through a door that only looked attractive in theory, but not in practice. I question whether or not I actually listened to God’s voice when moving here to Nashville, or if I chose my own path and sought God’s blessing after the fact.
Maybe you’ve been here too. Maybe you’ve had a time in your life where you’re waiting for your goal and dreams to come to fruition. You’re asking God, “Why me, God? Why do I have to go through this now?” You’ve been faithful to seek after God, you’ve walked in holiness, you’ve held on to hope, but you’ve seen nothing come of it.
We go through times where God seems distant, quiet, or sometimes even non-existent. We feel like our prayers hit the ceiling and never make it to God in the first place. So what do we do with what we feel?
I can promise you that in the course of human history, especially in biblical history, we are not alone. We aren’t the only ones to have questioned God’s faithfulness, timing, and/or leading in the times of waiting. I would go as far to say that there is some instance or component of waiting found in all 66 books of Scripture. Ever since the Fall, there has been a sense of waiting for the promise to come: in the Old Testament, the promised Savior; and in the New Testament through modern times, the return of the promised Savior.
As I survey Scripture, waiting is prominent and sometimes prolonged:
- Noah built the Ark, waiting amidst criticism and ridicule for the promised rain to come.
- Abraham and Sarah waited until their old ages for Isaac to be born.
- Jacob worked and waited 7 years for Rachel, but his uncle Laban tricked him into marrying Leah, and then Jacob worked and waited another 7 years in order to marry Rachel for real.
- The Israelites waited 400 years for freedom from Egypt, and then another 40 years to get to the promised land.
- The Israelites also had to wait for the promised land to be fully theirs, having to conquer the foreign peoples that inhabited the land before they could settle it.
- Naomi’s sons died, and had to wait until her old age for her daughter-in-law Ruth to have a son.
- Ruth herself had to wait on Boaz to redeem her.
- David was anointed the next king of Israel, but had to wait years in order to actually become king.
- Upon going into exile, the Israelites waited 70 years for their return back to their land.
- The prophets wrote of their waiting for the promised Savior to come and redeem their people.
- The Israelites once again waited 400 years between Malachi and Matthew, called the Intertestamental Period.
- Jesus Himself waited 30 years before He began His earthly ministry, which lasted 3 years.
- The disciples had to wait 3 days for Jesus to rise from the dead.
- After Jesus ascended, they then had to wait until the Day of Pentecost to receive the Holy Spirit.
- Paul wrote to the church at Thessalonica twice about waiting on Christ’s return: once about waiting while working, and once about working while waiting.
- Paul waited many times for his own death, being imprisoned twice in Rome.
- John waited on the island of Patmos in exile for his death, writing his gospel account and receiving his vision that was written in Revelation.
This is by no means exhaustive, but it’s pretty clear that waiting is woven into the very threads of Christianity. It’s at the center of our DNA. We wait for that which is to come, the time where we will, with unveiled face, behold the glory of the Lord (2 Cor. 3:18).
These echoes of waiting found within daily life, the waiting for time to pass and for the next situation to come, even further solidify that our longings are more than just surface level. We watch and observe our situations and wonder, “When will this ever end? When will I ever come out on the other side? When will what I feel You’ve called me to become reality?”
While we wait, what should we do? How should we act? How do we make the waiting go by faster, or at least make the best use of our waiting?
- Seek biblical holiness. The only way that God can move you from where you are to where He wants you is if you’re actively pursuing Him. If you aren’t seeking a deepening relationship with Jesus above all else, then you won’t be able to experience the beautiful things that God has in store for you, nor will you be able to understand why you went through the situations through which you went.
- Don’t neglect the spiritual disciplines. Don’t stop reading Scripture, don’t stop praying, don’t stop worshipping, don’t stop serving, don’t stop engaging in community. These are the practical ways you can seek biblical holiness, and these are the ways the you continue learning more about God’s character.
- Listen more than you talk. Both in your spiritual walk and relationships, make sure you’re taking the time to listen to the observations and words that God and your friends are saying. God uses people in our close circles to speak His truth to us in unexpected ways. Test what you’re hearing against Scripture, and press into the truth.
- Ask hard questions. Assess where you are in your life, and ask yourself the questions you’ve honestly been avoiding. Are you actually following what God wants, or asking Him to bless your isolate choices? Is the life you’re living now the one that God has for you, or have you created a life independent of Him? Don’t stop asking until you’ve found the answers.
Yes, I’m empty. Yes, I’m frustrated with how things are right now. And yes, I have a holy discontentment with not being in ministry. But I have to wait. I have to press into my relationship with Jesus. I have to work on myself and make myself ready for what God has next.
Here’s where I ask you for help. I don’t normally do this, and haven’t ever really done this in a blog post. I honestly hate asking for help from anyone because I like being self-sufficient and independent.
- Please pray for me. Pray specifically that a door would open up to return to full-time ministry. Pray that God would work a miracle in my situation to allow me to get back into working at a church.
- If you’re reading this and you’re on a church staff, looking for a staff member to work in the creative arts/communications areas, please contact me. I’d love to send you my résumé or CV.
- If you’re on a church staff and know a church looking for a staff member to work in the creative arts/communications areas, please contact me as well.
To make it easy for you to get in contact with me, please fill out this form and I’ll get back with you ASAP.
I don’t care where it is. I don’t care in what capacity. I don’t necessarily care about how much I get paid.
All I care about is getting back into the work to which God has called me. All I want is to do the work I’m wired to do.
I’ll keep you updated as this journey continues on. I hope to have something for you soon, but I can’t and won’t make promises. All I ask is that you pray.