Day 15: Strength to Endure The Wait
Galatian 6:9 Let us not grow weary or become discouraged in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap, if we do not give in.
Isaiah 40:29-31 He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.
Song: Wait On You
Happy Fifteenth Day of Thanks Everyone!
Today I give thanks for the strength to endure (actively) waiting for a promise. It is not easy to patiently wait for something that you want so badly. And if I can be honest, I haven’t always been the best at waiting. I’ve struggled through my emotions and disappointment from expectations, when I thought that something would happen during a specific time frame and it didn’t. Like others, I am usually okay waiting for days, weeks, maybe even a few years. However, after a specific amount of time and still not obtaining the promise, I sometimes get weary in the wait, often losing the hope to believe for what I want or what God said. Sometimes, in the waiting period, we are tempted to act hastily to receive the promise/ desire sooner and on our own, not realizing that our character has not developed enough to maintain or sustain the promise/desire when it’s received. I thank God that I have been able to wait for the many promises for so many years without acting hastily or on my own to receive them. I also thank God that he renews my strength to wait for those promises when I get faint of heart and frustrated in the wait.
There are several promises that God has spoken to me that have become some of the greatest desires of my heart (ie. Lilah to be healed, my business and my book to be successful, to be a kingdom financier, get the H.E.Arts center). For the last fifteen years, I have been praying, fasting, speaking the word over Lilah and raising her in the word of the Lord while I have been waiting for God to heal her. Since 2001, I have been working towards having a successful career and desiring for all that I touch professionally to be blessed. Since 2011, my coalition have been petitioning the city for an abandoned building in my community to make it into a community wellness center. When I was much younger and God told me that I would have two children, a girl and a boy, I put countless hours of prayers on and sowed into that desire for a marriage and the son to come. I waited for many years, and still nothing yet. (If I can be honest, I don’t desire for another biological child and have not for over nine years and think I’d rather foster or adopt later in life than to actually have a child now.)
For a long time, I thought I was ok with the wait. I understood that some things just took much longer to receive than others. I still understand that. I didn’t stop praying (often asking God if my desires still aligned with His) and planning for most of the things on my “desire list.” I speak the word of God, in faith, over all my situations and really have tried to model to others how to do the same. However, a few months ago, I was on Morning Glory, my 6 a.m. prayer call, during Testimony Tuesday and my spirit was in such a deep funk that I could not shake it. Although I should have been really happy at hearing the amazing testimonies the women on the call were sharing of all the blessings that they had recently received, I couldn’t muster up any excitement. I scolded myself, “what is wrong with you? Why are you not rejoicing with them? You are hearing great things that you have prayed and fasted for.” Interestingly, many of the women were thanking me for consistently praying and/or fasting with them for the specific blessing they had come to receive. And since I was consistently walking out life with them, their victories were my victories too. For those of you who know me, you know that I am an encourager. I am that person who stands on the sidelines cheering the next person on to victory or who walks beside you as you go through specific, tough trials or who stands behind you as an account-a-buddy, giving you the push necessary for you to be propelled forward. That is and has always been my nature. So, I thought to myself, “why am I not happy?”
As I searched my heart, I discovered why. I found myself asking God the raw and honest questions of my heart at the moment. “Have you forgotten about me? Where are the promises that you have spoken to me? Why haven’t they come to pass yet? Am I doing something wrong? Is there an impediment of which I’m not aware that is keeping the promise at a distance? Why is it that you have me actively participating in and watching everyone else receive their promise but I haven’t received my promises yet?”
Anyone who has had to deal with long-suffering knows exactly what I’m talking about and have probably asked God the same exact questions. It’s hard to hear the answers “wait,” “wait,” and “wait some more” for the promises for which you have constantly prayed and God has already shown you. Sometimes, it’s even harder to understand your wait when it seems like the next person is receiving exactly what you’ve asked for. I was completely surprised by what was coming out of my heart. Although I knew that God would never leave me or forget about me (Hebrews 13:5), I was letting my emotions get the best of me. At that moment, “the wait” was exposing me and how weary I really was in it. This was one of the first times in my life that I really didn’t feel like waiting anymore. I wish I could tell you that there was some magic formula that I used to change my emotions, but there wasn’t. A barrage of accusatory questions began to spill out or my hearts as if from a broken levy. Fifteen years of seeing Lilah suffer through sickness. Where is the healing and deliverance that I have been constantly praying and fasting for the whole time? What happened to the career and the success of the Thirty Days of Thanks book that you promised? Why isn’t my research project moving forward the way it needs to do?
The bible says that hope deferred makes the heart sick. And at that moment, my heart was truly broken because I really felt like I hadn’t seen any of the harvest that I was expecting from the seeds I had planted in good, fertile soil over the years. Of course, this wasn’t at all true because I was hearing about and seeing the harvest of all my prayer and fasting, even if it was for and in the lives of others. I was seeing all of the victories, one after another. Instead of blocking those victories and testimonies out of my mind because they weren’t directly happening to me, they should have been what I used to propel my faith. Surely, if God was providing and doing all of these great and wonderful things for His other children, He would do them for me too. They would just happen in God’s timing.
I wasn’t missing or lacking anything! Throughout the years of waiting, I have been engaged in what I call “active” waiting. I have gladly and faithfully prepared, developed and equipped myself to receive many of the promises I was expecting. As far as I know, I had been obedient to God, even when He asked me to do what I thought were some of the craziest of things. (I just remembered that I have to get on the exercise mandate so that I can have the necessary energy for my travels.) I have also sown, financially and with my time, into different ministries and people. Yes, in my finite mind and thinking, I could not understand the “whys” of it all not happening for me yet. But, that’s just it. If God said it, it was going to happen. Period! Why did it have to happen at my specific time of reference? Why was I trying to figure out God’s timing? I had to know that I was only going to lead myself into an oblivion of frustration. If God spelled out the answer for me by saying, “My ways will never be your ways and my thoughts will never be your thoughts,” why in the world would I try to figure Him out? My thoughts and reasoning would never equate to the understanding of His mysteries. He knew all of the mysteries of “why,” which the bible says will only be revealed when we are in eternity with God.
I always like to say that God loves to have things simmer so that they can soak in His seasonings and get the necessary “God savor” to them. God is not in time. The bible says 1000 of our days is likened to 1 of His. There is no quantity of things that we can do to rush his time. He is on a clock that is perfectly orchestrated if we want his perfect will. I think of the example of Abraham and Sarah. God made them wait until they were 100 and 90 years old respectively to have their son, Isaac. During the wait, they both acted in haste to get the promise on their own when Sarah introduced Abraham to Hagar. Yes, there was a son born but Ishmael’s birth caused a world of havoc and heartache in their household. Ultimately, Abraham had to abandon his son Ishmael because he was not the child of the promise God had spoken to Abraham. (We won’t even begin to break down all the emotional and psychological trauma that act caused!) God let Abraham and Sarah simmer another 15 years more before they got their own biological child, Isaac. My point to all of this is: the promise, which God had spoken, came to pass (Period!), but, in God’s timing just as it would be for my promises. My promises are going to come in God’s timing and I don’t need to create havoc and heartache along the way by trying to create a promise on my own.
When we finished collectively praying on Morning Glory, I had my own private prayer time with God and asked him to help me to endure the wait and to give me strength to wait on Him to fulfill my promises. I began to worship Him and call on His many names so that I could be reminded of who He is and how I needed Him to showed up, as one of the many facets of Himself. I needed the Prince of Peace to regulate my mind and give me peace about having to wait more time. I needed a Comforter to provide relief from the weariness I was feeling in my soul. I needed Emmanuel (God with me) so that I could wrap myself in His presence and not feel alone or forgotten. I needed Love that was patient and kind and that could bear all of my emotions. I needed a Counselor who could continue to guide me and keep me on the right paths that would lead me to the promise. I needed Him to be the Resurrection and Life, breathing life and resurrecting some of the dreams that I killed or assumed were dead by not hoping for them anymore. As I worshipped and invoked His name, God showed up as everything that I needed and strengthened me with His word. After all, He is also called the Bread of Life.
Today, as I give thanks to God for giving me the strength to wait for my promises, I invite you to “actively” wait for your promises by worshipping God and declaring who He is, through all of His names. Here are a few more songs to help you in the process: “Stand and Proclaim” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fyDjN9zZOzs), “My Weapon” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VMabrdhri-U), “Speak the Name” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4eTmPXCLAeA), As you declare His names, He will show up, being exactly who you need. Additionally, I ask that you donate your time or resources to the organization, MENTOR (https://www.mentoring.org/take-action/donate/). Our youth need awesome people that are willing to help them and walk out life with them through the toughest of situations so that they can become their best selves.
Have a Great Day of Thanks!