Waiting can feel like wandering through the wilderness.
It can feel as though you’re locked in a dark room trying desperately to find the light switch, but you keep tripping over your feet and running into blank walls.
At least, that’s what this season of life has felt like for me.
I feel unsettled and anxious, stuck in the middle of my own season of waiting and wanting.
If you weren’t aware, my husband and I have sold our house, and a closing date has been set!! While we’ve been in the process of selling our home, we’ve been looking for a new place to live in the Indianapolis area, which is about 2 ½ hours from where we currently live. We’ve been spending weekends on the road, trying to see as many houses as we can in a day, and then returning – weary and defeated – only to plan our next expedition.
It didn’t take long for us to find out that the housing market is incredibly competitive right now. To date, we’ve put in 3 offers on three different homes we fell in love with, only to be met with the disappointment and heartache of 3 declinations.
And with each declination, my trust in the One who has called us to Indy waivers, and my anxiety heightens.
Our house is sold, what are we going to do if we can’t find a new home in time?
These whispers of doubt keep me awake at night, staring into the dark as if the answer might appear in white lettering before my eyes.
I wish it would.
I wish it could be easier, a smoother process that doesn’t require so much blind trust.
And as I had that very same thought today, I was met with a gentle murmur from the Holy Spirit.
Your destination isn’t the purpose of this process. I am.
I’ve been relating a lot to the Israelites lately. I’m not sure how much you know about the Israelites, friend, but they were God’s chosen people who had been enslaved in Egypt for 430 years. God ended up sending a man named Moses to free His people so that He could lead them into a land “flowing with milk and honey” (Exodus 3:8), a land called Canaan. The Israelites were due to receive an amazing inheritance from the God that had set them free.
The road to this wonderful inheritance, this land called Canaan, was a bit of a bumpy ride. It was a long process of God teaching the Israelites after 430 long years of enslavement that He was enough for them. He had to teach them and show them that He was their God and that no other gods were to come before Him.
The Israelites experienced God’s tangible presence and workings, as He would physically guide them from each location in a massive pillar of fire (Exodus 13:21). Can you imagine seeing the glory of God that up close and personal? Don’t you think it would totally change how you live your life and relate to God?
Well, the Israelites didn’t stay impressed for very long because even though they had the presence of God with them physically guiding them and telling them what to do, they still grumbled.
They still complained and ached for the meat, leeks, and garlic from Egypt – the land that had enslaved them – rather than being content with the manna that God – the One who set them free – had provided them (Numbers 11:4-5).
In fact, the Israelites complained and disobeyed God so many times on their journey toward their inheritance that God decided to take them the long way – the scenic route, if you will – to Canaan. He sentenced the Israelites to 40 years of wandering in the wilderness (Numbers 13:44).
Talk about a season of waiting.
By the time we get to the book of Deuteronomy, we find the Israelites at the end of their 40-year sentence. They are anxiously anticipating this glorious land that had been promised to them years prior, delayed because of their disobedience. Can’t you just see them, hands fidgeting, eyes bright and wanting?
I can relate.
The book of Deuteronomy is a book of preparedness. Moses is reminding the Israelites of who they are, who God is, and how they are supposed to relate to God when they receive the promised land.
As I read through Deuteronomy this week, I fell into chapter 8 and had a hard time digging my way out of it. I kept coming back to one verse, in particular, that spoke so loudly to me in my own season of waiting and wanting;
He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your ancestors had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord. (Deut. 8:3)
God’s intention of sentencing the Israelites to 40 years of wandering wasn’t just due to His righteous anger, although I think that, understandably, played a part in His decision. But I think there was a deeper purpose of making them wait for their inheritance.
God led the Israelites to wander in the wilderness for 40 years so that He could remind them that He is enough. Just like we don’t eat if we’re not hungry, before the Israelites could eat, they had to hunger.
They had to hunger for more of God.
They couldn’t fill themselves with God if they didn’t hunger for Him first.
That hit me so powerfully this week, as I found myself hungering and longing to find and purchase a new home.
I’ve decided that in this season of waiting and wanting, I have a choice on how I’m going to navigate it.
- I can choose to remain full of angst and hunger for my destination as I try to take the situation into my own hands.
- I can surrender my anxieties and desire for control at the feet of Jesus and choose to use this season of waiting as an opportunity to hunger for more of God.
Hungering always leads to a destination, my friend; it always leads to something. The feeling of longing for something or someone is powerful enough to drive us to do the craziest things.
What if we did the most upside-down thing we could do on this side of Heaven and chose to draw closer to God and worship Him in our seasons of waiting for what’s next?
I am slowly, messily, and imperfectly learning that God’s purpose in seasons of waiting is to prepare us for what He wants us to receive when we’re ready to receive it.
Seasons of waiting are intended to push us closer to the presence of God.
There are lessons to be learned even here, friend. God’s presence is still with you, and my prayer for all of us that find ourselves in a season of waiting is that our hunger to behold more of Him would grow stronger than the desire of wanting to rush ahead.
When we learn to receive Him right where we are, we find true, lasting joy in every season. We find an identity rooted in His love that cannot be shaken by the changing and shifting circumstances of the world around us.
God has you waiting, in the in-between, for a purpose.
You are growing here, my friend, stretching and learning so that you can bloom into the beautiful, faithful, and fierce woman of God He called you to be.
I am proud of you, and God is, too. He smiles and draws near, whispering,
I am here, Beloved. Let me feed you with the joy of my presence, and when the time is right, and you are ready, I will bring you into the land that I have promised you.
Take heart, dear one, and know that as you fumble and trip looking for the light switch in this darkened wilderness we call waiting, God is calling you to let Him be your One and only guiding light.
Even here in this wilderness, you are never alone.