By Jocelyn Santos
Patience is a virtue.
I don’t possess that virtue, at least not naturally. And if I had to guess, neither do you. Let’s get real, very few people welcome the practice of patience with open arms as if greeting an old friend.
Although it is one of the very fruits of the spirit we as believers are called to carry in our arsenal of giftings, it’s certainly not one that is easily cultivated. I mean look at synonyms of patient:
- Uncomplaining (Lord, help me)
It’s a popular and maybe even a valid argument that in this day in age we live by instant gratification. Everything is at our fingertips: a new purse, a new car, a new career, a new partner (oh). We have unfortunately trained ourselves that once things hit a bump in the road, it’s time to change course. But if we stopped to look at the character of God we see a loving Father who is more concerned with growing his children than spoiling them, and sometimes that means forcing us to wait.
As the Lord would have it, I am not so quickly becoming well versed in the season of waiting on the Lord. And much like the Lord forced the Israelites to wander the wilderness to teach them how to be his chosen people, God is taking me on a journey of discovering how to trust in Him.
Like most twenty-somethings I was (am?) a know-it-all, obvi. *Let us all laugh together at my ignorance* I had a plan for my life. When I began pursuing my nursing degree I went into it ready to fight for it, because nothing worth having comes easy, right? And when doors began closing I thought I was just being challenged, and I pressed on. Rerouting every wall that came up, I even convinced myself I was just earning my stripes. Until I came to the point where there were no more options. And I was forced to question if this was God’s will for my life, or was this my own?
It took me awhile to muster up the courage to ask that question. But when I finally did, it came during a three day fast. There is truly an empowering spirit that comes upon us when we decide to put fleshly desires aside to hear from God. And every time we do it, He shows up. Even if it’s not as we expected.
My current reality is I still don’t know the direction the Lord is leading me. I don’t have the full image of my future, and just the slightest idea of the “desires of my heart.” But here’s what fasting brought to light: doing things or waiting without the grace and love of Jesus alongside me can be agonizing.
In Numbers chapter 13 the Lord had sent out twelve representatives, one from each of the tribes of Israel, to scout the promise land. Ten of the scouts returned doubting the Lord’s promise of prosperity and scriptures say the whole community began weeping aloud.
Living and waiting without trusting and believing in the good promises of the Lord is heart-wrenching. And it is entirely self inflicted. In my life I have seen the Lord move and provide time and time again, this time I decided to believe in who God is and has always been: a good God.
Hindsight is 20/20, and with perfect vision I see how in my past fighting against what God was doing only delayed my process. A lot like how the fear-based testimony of the ten scouts delayed the Israelites entering the promised land for 40 years. Not only did their unbelief delay all of Israel, but it prevented a whole generation from experiencing the sweetness the Lord had prepared for them.
It may seem like an over dramatization, but there is a prevalent need for believers today to heed what the Lord is speaking over our lives. The basic truth is no matter how small we make ourselves we all have a role in partnering with Jesus in creating His kingdom on earth as it is in heaven. We may not get to see how our everyday decisions will play a role on the next generation, but that surely doesn’t mean they won’t matter.
Only two of the scouts in Numbers were permitted to enter the promised land, Jacob and Caleb. They were the only ones who trusted in the Lord’s promise, and as a result they were the only two of a whole generation permitted to experience the sweetness the Lord has always intended his people to live in. But can you just imagine it…living FORTY YEARS wandering the desert! They were allowed to enter but because of other peoples disbelief they too had to suffer the consequence of waiting.
I know we tend to look over that but take a second to imagine how you would feel after waiting say…one year. Would you be frustrated? Angry? Would you lose hope? Would you keep trusting the Lord?
Let me be transparent, I have been living solely on the words of our mighty God for the past six months, SIX TEENY TINY MONTHS, and it has been an inner battle almost the entire time. My personal standards and societal standards are constantly reminding me that I should be hustling. The lie is that if I am not striving for something, I am wasting time and wasting space. And I think sometimes we allow outside standards to influence how we see ourselves and what we believe God’s will for us is.
But God is not just the God of today. He is the God of yesterday, today, and forever. To him forty years might look as miniscule as these last six months! Because he is not concerned with the amount of time it takes, he is concerned with the state of our hearts.
Waiting can seem like a punishment at first glance. But if you’re in a season of waiting, I challenge you to look at it as a beautiful gift of rest. A time to press pause on the stress of a situation, to stop striving and hustling and to breathe deeply the loving embrace of the Lord.
Time and time again scriptures urge us to wait on him. Perhaps the most famous, Isaiah 40:31:
“but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength;
they shall mount up with wings like eagles;
they shall run and not be weary;
they shall walk and not faint.”
Believe me, I’m not saying that it’s easy, waiting at times will be painful. I acknowledge that there are a lot of emotions and lies we believe that come to the surface during seasons of waiting. But if we would be so courageous as to trust in the steadfast love of God, we would find ourselves right where Abba Father wants us: at the foot of the cross with all those emotions and lies, being honest with him and with ourselves. And it’s in that space I believe the Lord renews our strength as he reveals His specific love for you.
Trust in Him, rest in Him, wait in Him. There is a wealth of love and hope for you to experience.