When my kids were younger, I never told them we were visiting their grandparents until the day we were leaving. Or perhaps the night before. Telling them sooner meant hearing them ask me about it every hour. Even when I tried to explain weeks to them, they couldn’t understand it.
Although my kids have a better concept of time now, it still can move at a snail’s pace for them. Especially for my six-year-old daughter. So on trips where we get the periodic, “How much longer?” Chris and I have the same answer: “A long time. Find something to do.”
Whether it’s a long car ride or a period of perseverance with God, how we spend our waiting season matters.
When I think of their understanding of time and picture how God must look at his creation, I realize how limited my comprehension is. God is not limited by time. He is outside of it. But he gave it to us as a boundary to use and steward. When he created it, he declared it as good.
We don’t always feel the same way, do we? We’re either wishing for more hours in a day or wishing the time away altogether, but I often wonder how often we pause to thank him for the gift it truly is.
I want us to stop and think about something for a minute: How we choose to spend our waiting season can draw others to God and cause them to see him in us. But it can also repel them.
In John 9 the disciples have been following Jesus for some time, and they see a man walking along who’s been blind since birth. They ask Jesus a question that reflects a common belief: “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” (John 9:2)
Jesus’ response is one I want to remember today and in the days to come.
“’Neither this man nor his parents sinned,’ said Jesus, ‘But this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him.’” John 9:3 NIV
In whatever you’re facing today, I want you to hear this: the wait is not God’s punishment.
But as a parent who loves her kids, I can also picture him saying this: “Find something to do. There’s work to be done.”
Jesus goes on to say,
“As long as it is day, we must do the work of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no man can work.” John 9:4 NIV
Here’s what dawned on me as I read this passage, even though I’d read it several times before. Jesus, who was outside of time before coming to earth as a babe, confined himself to time for you and me.
He confined himself to waiting and stuck to the Father’s agenda, even when it was inconvenient. And because he did this, others came to know who God truly was. They saw him as the pure and perfect embodiment of love.
How we spend our wait matters. It matters to God and it matters to those around us. As we move forward today, I want each of us to ask ourselves these questions:
- Do you see time as a punishment or a gift? If you see it as punishment, consider the blind man who waited his entire life to be healed. Because of his healing, others heard about Jesus.
- Who in your life needs to know Jesus? Your friends? Your family? Consider how God could be using this time of waiting in your life as a time to draw others to him.
- What work has God given you to do today? If you’re unsure, ask him to show you. Jesus said he’d work as long as it was day. His agenda didn’t belong to others, but to the Father, who sent him.
When we feel a sense of purpose, those waiting seasons become easier to bear. Our step lightens because we realize the wait is not wasted time. In fact, it can be a resource. It’s all about the perspective we take.
God, thank you for giving up your divine ability to be outside of time and space so you could walk the same roads we do. Thank you for caring and loving us enough to take on human flesh, so you could empathize with our weaknesses. Show us the work you have for us to do while it is day, and help us see that no time is wasted when we’re seeking you and your glory. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
If you need to shift your focus from a struggle or worry and see what God is already doing in your life, I encourage you to pick of a copy of my book, Shift: Changing Our Focus to See the Presence of God. I talk more about the ways a simple shift can change everything. Many people have sent me messages saying it impacted their life and helped them see how God was working in the midst of a hard season. This encourages my heart so much. I pray that God continues to use it to touch lives.
Here’s what one reader said:
“Shift invites us to redirect our focus from our problems, stressors, and fears of the unknown and to set our gaze upon the certainty of God’s character and his faithful word. The best part is that Abby doesn’t talk about faith from a theoretical perspective; she gives us practical tools and shows us how we can know God’s presence in the middle of the the mundane.
If you’ve ever wanted to experience Jesus outside of a Sunday worship service, this book is written just for you.” -Amy
You can pick up a copy of Shift by clicking the image below.