“Do good things really come to those who wait?”
For the first six months of last year, that’s the question I had been asking … although perhaps it wasn’t phrased so succinctly. It was more like: “What am I supposed to do now? I’ve finished Year 12… shouldn’t I have a regular job or something by now? I only get a few days of work in the holidays. And I gave those other businesses my resume months ago. Why haven’t they contacted me yet? Why do I have to wait?”
Just add the conflicting element of my fear of failing at a job or getting the “wrong” job (based on the fact that I didn’t excel at my previous regular job), and voila! You have a basic sketch of the anxious, insecure person I was last year.
But, even though I was afraid of both missing and taking opportunities, I could feel a real change happening within me. The very fact that I wanted to do something new was a development. And although I couldn’t fully recognise it at first, God was equipping me with “good things” during my time of waiting on Him so that I could be ready to deal with the other “good things.”
I spent a lot of time writing in my journal. I recorded old promises which had already been fulfilled and promises for the future. Sometimes I would be praying about something God had spoken to me about and then would find out that the verse of the day on my Bible app complemented it perfectly! I received prophetic words from other people which confirmed the very words God had shown me in private.
In short, God was doing away with a fear which had me paralysed: that I wasn’t able to hear from Him and would take a wrong step and miss out on His plan for me.
There were many significant moments where God helped me let go of barriers in my faith, but there was one specific occasion that showed me how far I had come.
My sister and I were in a situation where we had to stand outside early on a freezing cold morning with a fairly vocal (and skeptical) stranger standing across from us. He had just been asking us a range of questions related to politics and faith, and then began asking about our own lives (work, study, etc.).
When I told him that I was waiting to see what would happen with my work situation, he responded with, “What are you waiting for? A Mount Sinai moment where it bursts into flames?” (Or something like that. I can’t remember the exact wording.)
I think I shrugged and said that I wanted to be sure before doing anything (and my sister backed me up). I tried not to let it shake my confidence.
However, his question stayed with me. Doubts nagged me for a time, but I later found myself thinking: “Well… why not? Why not wait for a ‘Mount Sinai moment’? I believe that it did happen, so what’s stopping God from using another unmistakable illustration to show me what to do?”
And, in one sense, I did get my “Mount Sinai moment.”
An opportunity came up (through my mum) to study a business course with her – two days a week for six months. Now, that doesn’t sound too bold and daring, does it? Well, when you’re an introvert who has a fear of trying new things in front of a room full of complete strangers (bar one), then it’s a different story!
Anyway, for some reason which beats me, I had a peace about doing it. Yeah, sure, I was still pretty petrified, but I knew without a doubt that this was what God wanted me to do… and that He would help me.
And He did. I didn’t just survive it; I enjoyed it. Through completing the course, I gained more confidence and a better understanding of how I should approach a job.
19/7/17 marks one year since I started the course, and I have two jobs! A new one in an office, and my old job (which involves teaching). I still get terrified – I really do – but we’re all works-in-progress, aren’t we?
Waiting for God, allowing Him to deal with the layers of fear and doubt without trying to argue or squirm our way out of it – that’s the key.
(If you have read or watched The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, just think about how Aslan changed Eustace from being a dragon to being a boy again: no matter how hard Eustace tried in his own strength, he couldn’t do it – he had to let Aslan do the transforming.)
Read this excerpt from Isaiah 30:15-17, which says:
For thus said the Lord GOD, the Holy One of Israel,
“In returning and rest you shall be saved;
in quietness and in trust shall be your strength.”
But you were unwilling, and you said,
“No! We will flee upon horses”;
therefore you shall flee away;
and, “We will ride upon swift steeds”;
therefore your pursuers shall be swift.
A thousand shall flee at the threat of one;
at the threat of five you shall flee,
till you are left
like a flagstaff on the top of a mountain,
like a signal on a hill.
Sometimes waiting seems like the least practical thing to do. I mean, doesn’t that mean admitting defeat?
In one way, yes it does! It is saying, “Lord, You have conquered the Devil, death, the world… and me! Nothing is outside Your reach and authority.”
Doesn’t waiting mean doing nothing?
It means constantly laying aside what you want to do… and that does take some effort! However, as you do that, you’ll start wanting what He wants. And you’ll find that there’s nothing more amazing than seeing God move as you rest in Him.
“From of old no one has heard or perceived by the ear, no eye has seen a God besides You, who acts for those who wait for Him.” (Isaiah 64:4)
“And I am sure of this, that He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” (Philippians 1:6)
“And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work.” (2 Corinthians 9:8)
“Why do you say, O Jacob, and speak, O Israel, ‘My way is hidden from the LORD, and my right is disregarded by my God’? Have you not known? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; His understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the faint, and to Him who has no might He increases strength. Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.” (Isaiah 40:27-31)