At one point several months ago, I was talking with a friend about seasons of waiting. All of us can relate to the feeling of waiting on God for answers to prayers that as of yet, go unanswered, or at least as far as we can tell. These seasons can be long and painful. Wrestling with physical and emotional pain, unmet longings and unfulfilled dreams for prolonged periods of time can wear on us and challenge our faith.
As my friend and I prayed for one another, I began to think about Christmas. Christmas comes every year on December 25th. The actual celebration of Christmas is a one day event. However, we celebrate Christmas beginning the day after Thanksgiving and throughout all of December. Before we ever open or exchange any gifts, we prepare for more than an entire month. We go shopping. We decorate. We bake cookies. We sing carols. We celebrate in anticipation of the moment when Christmas morning will finally arrive. How different would this time be if instead of celebrating, we spent our time complaining that we couldn’t open our gifts yet? What if we spent our time doubting that there would even be a gift with our name on it under the tree? It would certainly dampen our excitement and expectation.
I know that God is challenging me to view my seasons of waiting as seasons of celebration. We are told in Matthew 7:11, “If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!” If I’m truthful, I spend too much time complaining in my seasons of waiting, rather than rejoicing in what is to come. I lose sight of the fact that I serve a good God, who gives good gifts. What He has for me is good. He has a hope and a future for me that are good. He works all things out for my good. I don’t have to question that what He has in store is, in fact, good! The gifts may not come on my time schedule and they might not come in the wrapping paper I would have picked out, but I can be assured that my Father in heaven knows how to pick out gifts that are perfectly suited and right for me. The gifts He blesses me with are better than anything I would have picked out for myself. And what’s more, He knows the best timing and the best manner to present me with the gifts He has for me. I have often heard it said that it’s all about the presentation. I think of a marriage proposal. I think about the planning and consideration that a man goes through when he proposes to the girl he loves. He considers the date, the setting, the atmosphere, the audience, the ring. All of these details work together to make the proposal of marriage even more special. How much more does our heavenly Father consider the perfect timing and manner in which to present us with the special blessings he has for us?
I am challenged to mark my season of waiting as a season of hope and expectation. I have my mind made up to celebrate all season long. This is no time to give in to doubt and fear. I want to usher in the new thing God is doing with an attitude of rejoicing, because I can know with confidence that my blessings are on the way.
“For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.” (Romans 8:24-25)