Foreign Territory vs. the Familiar Donkey

Author | Steve

Waiting

Waiting.

It’s not very well thought of in our culture and times. My guess is it never has been popular with people of the human persuasion. I know I suck at it. And you don’t have to teach kids how to suck at it either. They’re pretty bad at it from the get-go.

God, on the other hand, seems to delight in waiting.

Over and over in the Bible, waiting is praised as an attribute of great character – as something beneficial to people in their relationship to God.

The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him. ~ Lamentations 3:25 (ESV)

Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord! ~ Psalm 27:14 (ESV)

For still the vision awaits its appointed time; it hastens to the end—it will not lie. If it seems slow, wait for it; it will surely come; it will not delay. ~ Habakkuk 2:3 (ESV)

For through the Spirit, by faith, we ourselves eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness. ~ Galatians 5:5 (ESV)

 And while staying with them [Jesus] ordered them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father, which, he said,“You heard from me.” ~ Acts 1:4 (ESV)

When Jesus invited us on our current journey a little over a year ago, I wrote these words:

“At this point, Jamie and I are convinced that God is calling us to a period of about 6-12 months of waiting on Him. During this time, we believe that He will work a new kind of faith in our hearts to trust Him for all our provisions – spiritual, emotional, physical. We also believe that in this ‘school of trust,’ He will reveal to us what our next calling will be.” ~ Our Original Announcement: January 22, 2015

And so we have. And God has been amazingly good. And we have been drawn close to His heart and changed in ways we never could have imagined. And…God seems really close to revealing what our “next calling” will be. But not quite yet.

Still Waiting

Did I mention I suck at this? Jesus has brought us all this way over the past fourteen months, and right as He is obviously opening doors for us, I’m ready to push Him out of my way and barge through and make things happen, “Thanks Jesus for getting us this far, I’ll take it from here!”

I’m ready to push [Jesus] out of my way and barge through and make things happen.

I’ve been drawn back to the story of Abraham and Sara over and over again on this journey. At the age of seventy-five, Abram is called by God to move his entire family in complete trust of the Lord, as God makes an astounding promise to make Abram into a great nation that will bless all the peoples of the earth. Eleven years later, Sara, tired of waiting, talks her husband into getting a child through her Egyptian slave, Hagar, and Ishmael is born – “the wild donkey of a man.”

They waited eleven years! The result? They gave birth to their plan, rather than God’s.

They gave birth to their plan, rather than God’s.

Birthing Ishmael

I don’t want to birth a spiritual “Ishmael.” It’s totally in me. I’m ready to do it every day. I’m amazed at how many faithful Jesus-followers have tried to help me birth an Ishmael. But maybe I shouldn’t be. It’s as natural as breathing for me.

The comforting part of the Abraham story is that their impatience did not stop God’s promise. God’s patience led to Isaac being born thirteen years after Ishmael. His promise did not depend on Abraham’s faithfulness, but His own. He is not slow in keeping His promises as some understand slowness.

The comforting part of the Abraham story is that their impatience did not stop God’s promise.

That being said, I’d still rather not birth an Ishmael. So my prayer continues to be that Jesus would give me strength through His Spirit to wait for Him. To be strong and take heart and wait for His good timing, rather than forcing my own. To not be scared to look foolish. To not be worried that I missed the opportunity. To not get comfortable where I am and stop too soon. To not be swayed by voices that, while loving and meaning well, are more concerned with their own fears about our choices than seeking the Lord and waiting on Him with us.

That being said, I’d still rather not birth an Ishmael. So my prayer continues to be that Jesus would give me strength through His Spirit to wait for Him.

Foreign Territory vs. the Familiar Donkey

This is so foreign to me!

Waiting is like a whole other language; a completely different culture. But I’ve seen it and tasted it and heard it – and it looks and tastes and sounds delicious!

This year, Jesus has shown me that He is more trustworthy than anything. Waiting on Him is better than forcing my way. I know it, and yet every single day is a struggle to actually speak that language and live in that freedom. My native tongue is to produce what I can imagine, or at least as close to it as I can get. I get a son to call my own. And even if he is a “wild donkey of a man,” he’s something I chose and I made happen!

I get a son to call my own. And even if he is a “wild donkey of a man,” he’s something I chose and I made happen!

Lord, save me from this! Save me from birthing an Ishmael! Give me a new spirit – Your Spirit – to persevere in waiting for You. I know Your promises are true. I know You will not fail me. Your kingdom is better than my kingdom. Your patience is better than my impatience. I cling to Peter’s words about You:

“Bear in mind that our Lord’s patience means salvation…” ~ 2 Peter 3:15a (NIV)

A little longer, Jesus. A little longer. Help me make it a little longer.

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