Oftentimes life finds us in a long, long season of waiting—waiting for God to move a heart, waiting for a circumstance to shift, waiting for a relationship to develop, so on and so forth. Our longings can be for very good things, things that are pleasing to the heart of God, and yet they elude us. Periodically we even have situations that lead us to believe the waiting is about to end, but instead, circumstances don’t pan out, leaving us with more painfully deferred hopes.
Although I am a firm believer that God is working in the waiting, preparing our hearts, shaping our souls, and developing qualities in us that can only come through delaying our desires, it can be very discouraging too. When the waiting feels endless, we wonder whether we have missed the mark with our yearnings. Should we give up these hopes altogether?
Commonly, God does want to change our desires through painful waiting. Other times, he is simply refining our hopes in the process. But sometimes… after a long season of waiting, God graciously and abundantly chooses to give us that for which we’ve longed. And the waiting ends!
Through the lives of a couple friends, I am recently reminded of the joy that can arise out of a long season of waiting—when God generously provides what had been, for a long while, withheld.
I have a friend who has spent much of her adult life asking God to provide a partner with whom she could share a life-long marriage relationship. Over time she watched her dearest friends meet, marry, and start families. Meanwhile, she had never even experienced a dating relationship. Her heart broke in the waiting, wondering, and diminishing hopes. But then, it happened. She met an amazing man 10 months ago and now, after years of hoping and praying, they are engaged to be married. The waiting has sweetly ended.
I have another friend, married for several years, who longed to start a family. Three years ago, she was thrilled to discover she was pregnant. Mid-pregnancy she lost the baby. She got pregnant again. And lost her second baby. She got pregnant again. And lost her third baby. My friend began to wonder whether she would ever have the gift of holding a child of her own, swaddled in her embrace. Her heart broke in the waiting, wondering, and diminishing hopes. But then, it happened. She got pregnant again and just two weeks ago met her precious baby boy, face-to-face. The waiting has sweetly ended.
Because of their waiting, the joy has been richer and deeper, not only for them, but for those who have waited with them.
Ultimately, all our hearts groan in waiting, a longing that is entrenched in a guttural desire for a life where there is no waiting—a life where the fulfillment of all our yearnings are met—a life that can only be found in the presence of God himself. Until that time, we live in yearning. God certainly does not always give us the desires of our heart, but I have recently been reminded that sometimes, he does. And the waiting ends…
It is a glimpse into eternity where we will never wait again!