When I was younger, I remember hearing that God always answers our prayers.
“God may answer ‘yes’ or he may say ‘no,’ but he could also say ‘wait,'” some wise, Christian leader imparted.
I’m certain this is the (extremely) simplified version of God’s answers to our prayers, but it makes a certain point. Our creator loves and cares for us in such a way that he never simply ignores us or lets us meander around on our own.
I apologize ahead of time for how vague this post will be. It’s almost like those obnoxious “unspoken” prayer requests kids would share during prayer-request time at my Christian school. Did they just want to pique our interest? Couldn’t they give us a hint? Just tell us! OK, that’s not exactly the appropriate response on my end. Sorry about that. Moving on.
With the gentle push of God, my husband and I have settled on a big life change. We’ve been praying about it, and we feel that God is calling us to this life change. That said, I’m a planner (a nicer term for “one who likes to control her future”), so I’m ready to hit the ground running. Now that a decision has been made, I want to take action (I have some Type-A personality rolling around inside). I’d rather bulldoze ahead than sit patiently or continue talking about it over and over again. Let’s do this thing.
However. God has a different plan.
In the past three days, I’ve read five separate Bible verses telling me to “wait on the Lord.” Now, you could easily say, “Well, it’s clear she’s looking for this. How can she say that some words written thousands of years ago are speaking directly to her and her situation.” And that’s a fair point.
Then again, there’s just something supernatural about the Bible. I’ve read hundreds of books, and, every now and then, something will speak to me on a deeper level. I’ll jot a quick Facebook update to share a quote with social media, and then I forget the quote a move on. But the Bible? That’s quite another story, and I can’t explain it.
About a month ago, I decided to start reading the biblical books of Psalms and Proverbs. Psalms is mostly about praising God, and Proverbs gives real-world wisdom. And, as any human, I could use some instruction and encouragement in both areas.
I’ve been taking Psalms a chapter or two per morning, depending on how awake I am and how well my children are sleeping in (or tuned into Peppa Pig if I haven’t gotten a chance to finish my morning reading yet). Proverbs, fortunately, is divided into 31 chapters, so I’ve been reading the chapter correlating with the date. I tell you all this to point out that what I’m about to write is not mere coincidence. I firmly believe that God speaks to his people through his word (the Bible).
Three days ago, in my routine reading, I came across Psalm 27:14: “Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; and wait for the Lord!”
Yesterday, it was Psalm 31:23-34: “Love the Lord, all you his saints! The Lord preserves the faithful but abundantly repays the one who acts in pride. Be strong, and let your heart take courage, all you who wait for the Lord!”
Also, I subscribe to the YouVersion Bible app’s verse of the day, and yesterday’s verse was, wait for it (ha!), Psalm 27:14, telling me, once again, to “Wait for the Lord!”.
Today was a triple hit, starting with Psalm 33:20-22: “Our soul waits for the Lord; he is our help and our shield. For our heart is glad in him, because we trust in his holy name. Let your steadfast love, O Lord, be upon us, even as we hope in you.”
The final confirmation came when I picked up the book I’m currently reading—Full: Food, Jesus, and the Battle for Satisfaction by Asheritah Ciuciu. I’ve simply been reading sections of the book over the past month, not entire chapters. And guess what today’s section was about? Waiting on the Lord, specifically referencing Isaiah 40:31 and Psalm 130:5-6.
I guess God knows it’ll take more than one nudge to make me realize it’s for me. Or, perhaps, so I won’t rationalize my way out of it. Also, for the record, I’m not explaining the exact situation, because I’m not certain if sharing with others is part of God’s “wait” message too.
Can I be honest for a second?
This is not the answer I wanted to hear.
I wanted to hear, “Go, my daughter! You are brilliant! Execute your plan! You’ll succeed because I am with you!”
And maybe that’ll be his answer tomorrow or the next day or three years from now. But right now—today—he’s telling me to trust him, “be strong, and let (my) heart take courage,” because it’s time to hunker down, pray, and wait.
I’ll keep you posted.