Stretching While You Wait

 “He who is best prepared can best serve his moment of inspiration.”

Samuel Taylor Coleridge

“Hardships often prepare ordinary people for an extraordinary destiny.”

C.S. Lewis

I have often heard that God answers prayers in one of three ways: yes, no, and wait. I get the answer “wait”… a lot. There are times that I wish those answers came in an 8-ball so that I could just keep shaking it until I got the answer I wanted. God, however, is not an 8-ball, so when He says wait, it is best to obey.

For Sarah conceived, and bare Abraham a son in his old age, at the set time of which God had spoken to him… And Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian, which she had born unto Abraham, mocking.

Genesis 21:2, 9

Sarah had to wait 25 years for the promised son. She grew a little impatient, so she took it upon herself to make it happen by giving her handmaid to her husband so that she could gain a child through Hagar. Now that Sarah finally had what God had promised her, she had to deal with the consequences of her actions: Hagar and Ishmael. She should have waited, but it is hard to sit idly by while the world moves on. So,what do you do while you are waiting?

When God says wait on Him, he doesn’t mean to just sit in front of the television binge watching or endlessly scrolling through social media. Maybe what you are waiting on requires a little preparation. So, maybe it’s time to get up off the couch and stretch.

13 Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, 14 I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 3:13-14

I recently bought a copy of The Joy Box Journal by Adria Wilkins. I ordered the book online and it took the scenic route to get to my house, so I was waiting [not so patiently] on it. Then, I was busy dealing with the flea incident [see earlier posts], causing me to wait another week to actually open it. I was excited to finally sit down and open the book. The first entry was about how the author had to wait a while to adopt a child, referencing Luke 1 about Elizabeth and Zechariah waiting for a child. It caught my attention because the Sunday before the pastor preached a sermon on the Genesis 21 text I referenced above. I had been praying about a couple of things, so the book had actually come at the right time to confirm God’s answer to wait.

A couple of days later, an entry referenced Philippians 3 and the idea of stretching yourself. I had been planning to start a 21-day plan to help me focus on discerning God’s will for my writing, and part of that plan is a focus on eating and exercising in a more mindful way. Maybe I needed to stretch my mind, body, and spirit while I wait.

Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain.

1 Corinthians 9:24

If you want to finish the race and win the prize, you have to grow. As Christians we grow by renewing our minds in the scriptures, praying, and obeying God’s known will. Take the waiting time to study to show yourself approved. Digging into the Word of God prepares our hearts and minds. Then, pray for guidance, but also purpose to pray for others. It is easy to get caught up in our own little world, but when we focus on the needs of others, it gives us a clearer perspective. Finally, If you want to be considered for bigger jobs, then you should do your current job to the best of your ability. If God tells you to mop the floor, then make that floor shine. None of these things is easy, but stretching isn’t about easy; it’s about growth. Usually growing has its share of pain, but it’s worth the end results. I will keep telling myself that every time I pass the ice cream shop. Maybe I’ll just change my route to work.

Stay Still

Think of yourself just as a seed patiently waiting in the earth; waiting to come up a flower in the Gardener’s good time, up into the real world, the real waking.

C. S. Lewis

Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.

Psalm 46:10

For the last few weeks I have been working an extra temporary job to help save up for a car. One day I was trying to focus on the work, which can be tedious, but my mind was flying in every direction. I was going over all the things that needed doing and bills that needed paying and trying to figure out how to get it all done. There should have been a blue circle over my head going around and around. I couldn’t get my mind to stay still.

Sometimes the busyness of this world can overwhelm us with things we think we should do or worrying about might ifs. The story of Martha is often the story of us. Jesus was in the house, and she was in the kitchen. She was missing out on the best part of life doing what was expected of her by society, being a good host, instead of enjoying her company. Jesus doesn’t call us to do what the world expects; He calls us to be obedient to him. Sometimes that means to just be still.

41 And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things: 42 But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.

Luke 10:41-42

The funny thing is Jesus’ list is a lot shorter than the one the world tries to give us. His goal is not necessarily being more productive as much as it is being closer to Him. Now, we all have jobs to do, but sometimes we take on work that isn’t ours. We either try to do things that God didn’t call us to, or we try to do his job. In the Mary and Martha story, Jesus says that Mary has chosen the one needful thing, which was being in His presence. If we take the time to sit at His feet, we often find the To Do List is shorter than we thought.

Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

Matthew 11:28

Jesus calls us to work alongside Him. When we do that, He takes the bulk of the weight for himself, but sometimes we try to take over. For instance, when I started worrying about the future, I was taking on His job and it is too much for me because I wasn’t made for that position. God doesn’t want us to work ourselves to death; He wants us to rest. He even set aside a day for it.

But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.

Isaiah 40:31

When we take the time to wait upon the Lord, we are renewed. The word “wait” has a few connotations. The first is to wait upon the Lord like Mary did by sitting at His feet, to take a moment to be still. Another meaning is to wait for His guidance and timing. Finally, there is the idea of waiting on Him like a servant, or being obedient to His commands. When we wait on the Lord, our lives are much more enjoyable and satisfying because we are doing what we were meant to do, but it all started with being still.