Everyone I knew seemed to have a word for this new year: one word that would define their year and anchor them to their path. Focus. Joy. Hustle. Thrive. Bold. Fearless.
All of these words demanded action, a change, a forward motion. So imagine my surprise when the one word that would not leave my mind was, WAIT. Umm excuse me, but that couldn’t be my word for this year. I don’t like waiting, I don’t want to wait, and that word completely contradicts all of the other positive, momentous words of my friends.
While the rest of the world pressed forward to achieve their goals, I would be sitting here, waiting. And waiting can seem like doing nothing.
And then the real fears swept in – why would God give me a word like WAIT? Why did I need to wait? What hard trial was around the corner that would demand I wait on God and not try to fix on my own? How painful and challenging would this season of waiting be?
I postponed accepting this word, hoping that the longer I waited a new word would come. But nothing did. I had asked God to give me a word that would be what I needed in this season of life, for this year.
Just because I didn’t like the answer didn’t mean God had not given me one.
So I wrote it down on paper: WAIT on the Lord. There was no going back now.
And then it happened – my fears of something bad and hard happening came true. On the night of January 17th, our (almost 13 year-old) niece Jasmine was diagnosed with Leukemia, and the waiting began.
Waiting on tests to determine the type of Leukemia. Waiting on results to decide the course of treatment. Waiting on God to heal. Waiting on answers to questions that we might never know. Waiting for the sadness and fear to subside. Waiting to know how we can help because sitting here waiting is driving us crazy.
This was exactly what I didn’t want, and yet here we were and we couldn’t change the circumstances. Our precious niece, the most kind, thoughtful and generous girl was sick. The girl my kids love the most, the one they look up to and try to be like, was sick. And we waited.
As we waited, we prayed, because there was nothing else to do. But as we prayed, my perspective changed.
Perhaps God knew this was coming. Perhaps instead of punishing us with waiting, He was actually preparing us to be ready. Perhaps He was giving us a way to walk through this – with Him.
These circumstances were coming and we couldn’t stop them. But if we have to wait anyway, waiting with God is far greater than waiting without Him. If I had chosen another word for this year instead, it would not have changed our circumstances, but I would have been less prepared to face this.
It was interesting, the reaction of people when they heard the news: we all wanted to DO something, to help, to fix, to make better. And yet there was nothing physically to be done.
The only thing left was to wait.
“Be still and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10
“The Lord will fight for you, you need only to be still.” Ex 14:14
There is a battle to be won, but what if the war is waged not in the physical world, but in the things unseen?
Ephesians 6:10-18 gives some instruction:
Be strong in the Lord (vs. 10)
Put on the full armour of God (vs. 11)
Stand firm with the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, and feet fitted with the gospel of peace. (vs. 14-15)
Take up the shield of faith (vs. 16)
Take up the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit (vs. 17)
And PRAY in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. (vs. 18)
Waiting does not mean doing nothing. Waiting does not mean we are not apart of the battle. Waiting means praying and asking God do the work instead of us.
And as we wait on God, we ask that you would join us in praying too, because we know He is working, we know He is healing and we know He can do far more than all we ask or imagine.