Welcoming The Waiting
This summer, the student authors of the Rooted Student Series give us a taste of the themes we explore in our upcoming book, The Jesus I Wish I Knew in High School. As students either currently in high school, college, or just recently graduated, our writers offer us a fresh and unique perspective of the Jesus they got to know in high school or wish they had known when they were younger. Their stories and their wisdom will help youth leaders and parents guide their students through high school and point them to Jesus. -Rooted Student Series Editor, Lauren Center
What a challenge it has always been for me to wait.
When the presents under the Christmas tree are screaming your name with an echoing megaphone just a few days before the big day and when you get to see if you really did end up getting the number one present on your list and not just another pair of socks: Wait.
When you have already taken the big test and you just know for a fact that when you get the result—good or bad—that your world will be filled with peace after that unrestful feeling of the unknown in your stomach disappears into the wind: Wait.
When your older brother is now unfairly old enough to obtain his driver’s permit but you just know that even though you are twelve the DMV would have to give you your driver’s permit as well, if only they saw your go-kart driving etiquette compared to his: Wait.
When you aren’t sure what God’s calling for your life is and high school seems to be going by faster each day: Wait.
As time went on I slowly came to realize that this word wait would not only always be a large part of my everyday life as a child, but also currently and more significantly it is a key part of my walk with God.
After I met Jesus in my senior year of high school my life was radically changed. What I wish I had known in high school is how to embrace and even welcome the waiting that comes with beginning to walk alongside the Lord. When I reflect on my life then and my life now I see the power of waiting and how the Lord is working to redeem my view of waiting.
I often find myself referencing Paul’s view of “the process” in Philippians 1:6, where he says “…He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion on the day of Christ Jesus” (ESV). I find it comforting that Paul is so sure of how “the process” is for good and the work that Jesus starts in our life is going to be brought to completion, but to be honest I have struggled even as I know this because the good work is not yet complete.
When you begin to follow Christ you sign up for a life of waiting. Hebrews 13:14 makes it clear that we are not home yet. I am in for a lifetime of this waiting ordeal as Jesus guides me.
The good news? He is with us in the waiting.
He meets us here and now as we wait. If we look to see Him, He is right there waiting with us. Instead of waiting to arrive at our seemingly distant destination that Siri says is 534 miles of interstate away, Jesus doesn’t tell us to simply “wait.” It’s more like He invites Himself into the long road trip to say “I’m with you” and sits alongside you in the car listening to you, pursuing you, and reminding you that it’s worth it to fight the good fight. He gives us a reason to wait.
To embrace the waiting is to embrace a characteristic of God. God not only invites himself into waiting with us, He experiences the waiting more than we could ever picture, beyond our comprehension. First we see this in Isaiah 30:18: “Therefore the Lord longs to be gracious to you, And therefore He waits on high to have compassion on you. For the Lord is a God of justice; How blessed are all those who long for Him.”
We see this theme of waiting continually displayed throughout Scripture as Jesus waits to begin His ministry, as Abraham waits on God’s promise for him to be a father of many nations, and as Joseph waits in prison and slavery with no certain promise from God. There are countless other examples of this throughout the Scriptures and also many lessons of how the Lord wants to use our waiting for His glory.
In Phillipians Paul writes about how the Lord placed Him in some of the most unwanted circumstances all for the Kingdom. He sees the waiting as an opportunity and it truly was! I read this today and am inspired by his writings and encouraged to live out contentment as well as he does.
In Phillipians 4:12 it reads “I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.” This is a verse that I strive to imitate as I am learning to embrace the waiting. The way Paul is able to endure all that he went through for the Kingdom is inspiring, as the Lord gave him the strength to do so.
As I am waiting and very uncertain as to what my next season contains in the future, I strive to hold strong to the hope that comes with being a follower of Christ. Vaclac Havel defines this hope well when he states “Hope is not the conviction that something will turn out well, but the certainty that something makes sense, regardless of how it turns out.”
The Jesus I wish I knew in high school is the Jesus that walks alongside me in the waiting, the Jesus that sits with me during the hard times, the Jesus that rejoices with me in times of joy, and most importantly the Jesus who is for me, not because of anything I can do but because of His love, because He is love. He gives us a reason to welcome the waiting. When I am unable to welcome the waiting, His grace is sufficient.