Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Every now and then, I get in this weird mood... and find it necessary to remind myself of what God has already taught me. That waiting - not necessarily for anything specific, but just the general concept of the word - is a good thing, in spite of its difficulty.

God taught me this in a unique way I can't help but remember.

I went with some friends to camp on this beautiful deserted island for a week back in March. One morning we had all planned to get up for the sunrise. Now, normally, I would much rather see a sunset, because I enjoy my sleep. But I thought I might be able to manage for one morning sun. Just maybe.

So, as per our island custom, we all went to bed at 9. It was dark, so we felt validated in our tiredness. I cuddled up in my sleeping bag in the little Eureka tent Beth and I were sharing... When I awoke, I thought I'd missed the sunrise alarm because the moon was shining so brightly through the opaque clearness of our tent window. I tried to go back to sleep, something I am usually very skilled at. I couldn't. And I felt this urging in my spirit to get up, like the Lord was telling me, "This will be my gift to you."

My friend Julia says that God speaks to us much more often than we allow ourselves to believe. I am determined to do better at listening to His voice and then believing what I hear, so I pulled on my sweats, grabbed my beach towel, and headed down to the beach.

I had no watch and absolutely no idea what time it was. Could have been 3 in the morning, or 3 minutes til dawn. In Eureka I had been so convinced sunrise was close, but as I reached the shoreline and saw the sky more clearly, it became very obvious to me that, no matter the brightness of the moon, it was still very much dark.

I started to wonder at my own ability to wait for an unknown amount of time for the sun to rise. And as soon as the thought crossed my mind, even before I had time to process its implications (parallels in my life, particularly about impatience), I knew I had to wait. That I would wait for 10 minutes or 5 hours if I had to. Because God had called me to the beach to do just that. Wait.

I spread out my towel and walked to the water. Kicked off my flip flops and walked the shoreline a bit, watching the waves and regarding the moon. I returned to my towel and began to pray. My family, close friends, people in my life, people not in my life, whoever came to mind. I let my prayers roll over my thought processes the way I wish I made time to do in everyday life. I knew it should be a pleasure, to pray in this way, yet I knew also that it was something that would help me wait. Take my mind off of waiting...

I was very impatient. And kind of cold. I was antsy and fidgety on my towel, pulling my arms inside my sweatshirt and huddling down to stay warm, then just as quickly looking up to the sky, hoping for some beginning light. I began to doubt whether the sun would actually dawn on this morning, and then I felt incredibly ridiculous... I think that was the moment I realized that when I doubt God's promises it is not because I categorically doubt Him, but because of my own impatience.

So began my pattern of praying, fidgeting, and sky-checking. At some point I realized I was facing the wrong way. See, the sun rises in the east, not the west... So I turned away from the moon and toward the rocks that lined the channel we first crossed to arrive on the island.

And I fidgeted, sky-checked, and prayed for a long time.

At some point, I looked up yet another time to gauge the light, and saw the beginning of a morning haze lightening the edges of sky directly above the jagged rocks. I stood and began praying aloud in excitement, then fell silent. This was it.

Perhaps there is no way to convey the feeling of loneliness that exists when you have no idea just how long you will be called to stand wanting, yet without. But then, you probably know it. And if so, perhaps you also know but may have forgotten the feeling of excitement, big in its own way no matter the insignificance of the actual object of your wait, when you actually finally gain it.

It was exhilarating!

And this is the part I found profound in its simplicity. It was only at this moment of gaining the reward of the wait, that I was glad for the loneliness of the journey.

I had been so impatient for the others to join me that morning. To come wait with me. And yet, when I stood watching the light grays and yellows of the morning rise and grow in color and boldness, I was glad they hadn't yet come. Glad for the simple joy of experiencing a moment meant just for me and the Lord.

It was, of course, also a joy to watch with them, nine of us in a semi-circle on the beach, watching like small children as the sun suddenly revealed itself. It was like God lit a match in the sky! Very glorious. And we all, in our neat little row, gasped just because we were watching so intently!

But I will not forget how precious a time that agonizing wait was. Lonely, just me and God, but so full of rich knowledge that I am still unwrapping.

Perhaps next time, I will not be so impatient.



At 8:55 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

God Bless,
Greenfield, Indiana

At 9:09 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

wow... hmmm...

At 12:33 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, Lauren, you've hit on an issue that me and Dan are dealing with now....waiting!

I realized the other day that it is often very difficult to discern when we should continue "waiting on the Lord," and when we should consider the door of opportunity closed. Of course, it takes communication with God and a sensitivity to His message for us at that given time. We're trying to listen and not get impatient.

So.......here we are, without an apartment ministry to begin working with, but we've already sold our house and moved into a friend's pool house. We will see what happens next! In the least, this is a very good chance for us to make some headway on lowering our debt and getting financially free, which we are indeed working at.

ANYWAY, we are with you in this waiting game!!!

Supporting and empathizing,
Aunt Jolene

At 2:03 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Beautifully written truth today Lauren. Thanks. \o/

At 3:29 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Aaaah, welcome back sweet Lauren!

I found myself wanting to cut/paste several of your comments.

What a blessing to pray for you & your family as God continues to call you to a walk of obedience & work for His glory!


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