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Trusting God in Seasons of Waiting
by Jennifer Carpenter
A few years ago, a friend gave me a book called Seasons of Waiting. The fancy script of the title made it appear to be “Seasons of Wailing.” We felt that was a more appropriate title.
Don’t seasons of waiting often feel like seasons of wailing? We might be going through a patch (or stretch) of poor physical or mental health, waiting on God’s deliverance and healing, or waiting for a diagnosis. We might be waiting for a prodigal family member to return, or for God to bring us a partner or a child.
Whether we are waiting for a good thing to come or for a bad thing to end, the waiting is hard and what we are waiting for is usually out of our control. And so we want to wail.
What is your first reaction when you want to cry out in anger, grief, or frustration? Do you want to push it down, believing that it is not befitting of a Christian to have such feelings? Or do you want to fall into it, angry because you believe that you should have what you are owed?
I pose this question because it can show us what we might be believing about God and the gospel that isn’t necessarily the truth.
So then, what is the truth? The truth is that we have a good and loving Father who wants to hear everything, even the hard stuff, and that we can go to Him without judgment.
We have a savior who knows what it is to empathize with our trials and weaknesses, who brought us into God’s family when we were owed nothing but condemnation. And we have a Holy Spirit to be a companion and a guide, and to help us come to the Father when our groanings are too deep for words.
The truth is that we can trust in our loving Father. When things are hard and they don’t make sense, we can bring it to God. There is nothing too hard for him to hear and there is nothing that is a surprise to him.
We can look all over the bible, (especially in the Psalms and Prophets) as examples of what to do in the waiting when we ask the question, “How long, O LORD?”. Scripture can give us words to express our pain and grief to God, and give us hope while we wait as we look at all the good things God has already done. Here are two of my favorite examples of this:
Lamentations – A book full of grief that is not stifled nor fed, but that is presented to God with faith. Don’t get me wrong… it is dark, and hard to read. Verse after verse, the author describes immense suffering. But then, glorious light shines through in the form of these words: ‘But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.” The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him.’ (Lamentations 3:21-25)
Psalm 13 – David cries out to God, pleading with him, waiting for suffering to end. And yet David proclaims his trust in the Lord: “But I have trusted in your steadfast love; my heart shall rejoice in your salvation. I will sing to the Lord, because he has dealt bountifully with me.” (Psalm 13:5-6)
There are so many more. Scripture is full of promises of God’s goodness and faithfulness. In the hard waiting times, let’s ask God to help us trust that He is who He says He is. We can trust that He has acted for us before and He will act again. We have this hope because he has already done the ultimate act of sacrifice to reconcile us to Him.
Join me in trusting Him in the waiting.
Written by Jennifer Carpenter
Jennifer grew up at Park Road Presbyterian Church. She now serves on staff with the mission organization, Serge, where she is raising support to be a missionary to work alongside a church plant, mentor youth leaders, and minister to teens in Belfast, Northern Ireland. If you would like to learn more about what Jennifer does and how you can be a part of her mission work, she can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.