While we wait


I came across a quote in my Instagram feed Monday that stopped me in my tracks.

"Noah- waited 120 years before the predicted rains arrived. Abraham waited 25 years for a promised son. Joseph- waited 14 years in prison for a crime he didn't commit. Job- waited perhaps a lifetime, 60-70 years, for God's justice. God prepares leaders in a slow cooker, not in a microwave oven. More important than the awaited goal is the work God does in us while we wait. Waiting levels and matures us, deepens our perspective, and broadens our understanding. Tests of time determine whether we can endure seasons of seemingly unfruitful preparations and indicate whether we can recognize and seize the opportunities that come our way." - John C Maxwell

I have been so confused recently. Evan and I have spent the past couple years trying to determine the right path for our family- focusing on his career and education and even considering relocating, all in a search for meeting our family's best interests. We have said hundreds of prayers, spent hours reading scriptures and in the temple, fasted, researched and sought after opportunities, all in hopes to find God's plan for us. It was a grueling process- but, we thought, we found it. At the beginning of February, everything seemed to be lining up perfectly, the craziest coincidences that you couldn't even make up if you wanted to all seemed to be pointing in the same direction. We were SURE and completely invested. But then in a crashing domino sequence, everything we had so meticulously planned and been guided to simply didn't pan out. I felt confused and hurt. I felt ignored. I honestly felt heartbroken, literally like I had been dumped by my dreams for a more qualified applicant. I thought God was ignoring me, that he hadn't heard my pleading after all and that he didn't even have a plan for me.

But then this quote, it turned everything around in my head.

"More important than the awaited goal is the work God does in us while we wait."

Could it be that the domino sequence followed by this curious waiting period wasn't an indication that God was ignoring me, that in fact it was his answer? He's asking me to wait. It never occurred to me that waiting could be an action, one you perform on purpose. I've read many inspiring stories of prophets who had to wait, like all the ones listed in this quote, but the idea that the waiting was actually more important than the goal intrigued me, so I went searching for more. As I read this article by Elder Hales, I realized there is someone else who had to wait. Our Savior. In his article he says:

"[Christ's] preparation began in the premortal life as He waited upon His Father, saying, “Thy will be done, and the glory be thine forever.” Beginning in that moment and continuing today, He exercises His agency to accept and carry out our Heavenly Father’s plan. The scriptures teach us that through His youth, He went “about [His] Father’s business” and “waited upon the Lord for the time of his ministry to come.” At the age of 30, He suffered sore temptation yet chose to resist, saying, “Get thee behind me, Satan.” In Gethsemane, He trusted His Father, declaring, “Nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done,” and then He exercised His agency to suffer for our sins. Through the humiliation of a public trial and the agony of crucifixion, He waited upon His Father, willing to be “wounded for our transgressions … [and] bruised for our iniquities.” Even as He cried out, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” He waited upon His Father--exercising His agency to forgive His enemies, see that His mother was watched over, and endure to the end until His life and mortal mission were finished."

I pondered on this for a while. Imagine in heaven, Christ knows what he has to do, to live a perfect life and perform the atonement to be the Savior of the world. He knew it was the most important thing that would ever happen on this Earth. But even though it was truly the only thing that would matter, he didn't get to come down here first, he had to wait. He had to wait for Adam and Eve, for Abraham, for Joseph, for Moses, and Solomon and on and on. I wonder if that was hard. And then it was finally his turn and he came to earth! But again he had to wait. His ministry didn't start until age 30. I wonder when he turned 18 or 21 or 25 if he didn't think why not now? How is it not time yet? And then as he's hanging on the cross, he has already suffered in Gethsemane and is enduring a gruesome crucifixion, I wonder if he thought isn't that long enough? But still he had to wait. And even taking it further, as the world pulls away from Him and his teachings, I wonder if He isn't anxious to begin the Millennium and come bring relief to his believers, but He's waiting for the Father's timing.

"More important than the awaited goal is the work God does in us while we wait."

What does Christ do while He waits? When he was in heaven waiting for his time to come down to earth, he spoke to his prophets and led his people. While he was on earth and waiting for his ministry to begin, he taught in the temple and served his family. While he was on the cross waiting for the atonement to be complete, he forgave his crucifiers and made sure his mother was taken care of. I mean not to be irreverent, but He was hanging on a wooden beam held up by nothing but nails, I think it would have been fair for him to just passively allow the rest of the time to go by and focus on his own pain, but he didn't. He looked around Him to see what good he could do while he waited. And now as He waits for his Second Coming, He listens and answers our prayers, he sends us angels and miracles.

I've had to wait for things before. I didn't get in to the BYU nursing program the first time I applied. I had to wait and try again. Later We furiously crammed Evan's classes into fewer semesters so he could graduate early for a promised job. The job ended up not being available until his original later graduation date anyway so we had to wait. Two years ago we didn't get in to the masters degree we had thought was so perfect for us. We had to wait to find another one. But in all my waiting, I thought it was simply because the timing wasn't right. I thought it was because other people and places and things weren't lined up yet so I had to wait for them. It never occurred to me that God wasn't asking me to wait for other people to get through the line, He was asking me to wait for waiting's' sake. He wants to see what I will do with my agency while I wait. What work would I allow him to do in me? Can I wait the way Christ waits?

Elder Hales tells us, "we realize that the purpose of our life on earth is to grow, develop, and be strengthened through our own experiences. How do we do this? The scriptures give us an answer in one simple phrase: we “wait upon the Lord.” Tests and trials are given to all of us. These mortal challenges allow us and our Heavenly Father to see whether we will exercise our agency to follow His Son."

To follow His Son, and to wait like His Son. What good will I do while I wait? Well so far I've thrown a tantrum and bought a puppy so....I believe I've got some work to do.

Comments

  1. Beautiful post. You're incredible, girl!
    (And a puppy?!??)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Beautiful post. You're incredible, girl!
    (And a puppy?!??)

    ReplyDelete
  3. A friend shared this post with me because we're both currently doing the waiting game right now. It wasn't until I read the part about nursing school that I realized I know you! Thanks for sharing your story. I hope all is well for you and that things work out for you and your beautiful family.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Kamille, I hope you remember us, the Nines from Arlington 1st ward. It's been many years since we moved away. This was so touching and has caused some pondering and soul searching as I shared this post for Family Time. Thank you for sharing this. I love your insights, and the questions you ask. It is always inspiring when we see other so intent on following Christ and relying on Him in their daily lives. You're a good example of that. You have a beautiful family, and I know you will be led to exactly the path y'all will need, at the exact time needed. Greetings from the 9 family!

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment