The lesson of waiting

By Jessica Brodie

Sixteen years ago, my firstborn child, a son named Cameron, was born. His birth changed my life, not only in practical ways but in matters of the spirit.

Cameron was my answered prayer, my miracle baby born after a season of infertility, when I’d lost all hope and clung to God for whatever God chose to do. I remember during that season reading the story of Hannah, the mother of Samuel, and how desperately she’d prayed for a child. My heart cried out just as desperately, and I’ve never forgotten the faith lessons I learned from that time of waiting. I remember that fiery spark as the Holy Spirit settled on me the night I surrendered my dreams to whatever God had planned. The liberation and beauty of that moment will remain seared on my heart and mind forever. God chose to allow me to experience that pregnancy and birth, and I’m grateful.

Cameron was born Dec. 1 in the midst of Advent, itself a season of waiting. And for many years, I’ve looked back on that time with contentment and a smidge of self-congratulation—I’d finally learned how to surrender to God. I’d finally learned all things happen on God’s timeline and for God’s purpose.

But have I, really? Have any of us truly learned to wait, to be content to let God be God and surrender our will?

I spent so many years rushing around, busy for the sake of being busy, for how good it felt to rush around and feel productive and accomplish good things in the world.

Later, after I learned better how to “be still and know” that God is God (Psalm 46:10), I thought I understood the concept of surrender. Still, there I was, silently orchestrating behind the scenes, wishing and plotting and hoping for my will, my wants, my so-called needs.

Now, after a pandemic and so many life lessons I’ve lost track, I’ve come to the realization I know nothing in the grand scheme. I am blessed God has chosen to give me life, give me people to love, give me these bones to walk around in and these senses to bask in the glory of God’s creation.

I still don’t love to wait. An over-achieving “do-er” by nature, I get a vision and want to throw my all into helping it come to fruition. But I know in my soul that waiting is the ultimate lesson in faith, obedience, surrender and love. I treasure Advent because it reminds me to cozy up with the discomfort of waiting the way I might cozy up with a blanket on my sofa—wrap myself in it, feel it upon my skin, let its weight sink into my pores. To let myself feel the waiting, feel that tension of not knowing how things will be.

The Bible is filled with stories of waiting—Sarah and Abraham waited for Isaac. Hannah waited for Samuel. Elizabeth and Zechariah waited for John the Baptist. The Israelites waited for the Promised Land, and later for the Babylonian exile to end.

God’s people waited for their Messiah.

Waiting usually isn’t comfortable. But looking back, I realize my deepest lessons have come during the waiting.

If you are in a season of waiting, consider whether God is calling you to pause and fall to your knees in gratitude and surrender for whatever will be. God’s hand is upon it all, and God will make it all perfectly, beautifully good.

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