Like many of you, I am well acquainted with waiting and disappointments. After getting married in my mid-twenties - with plenty of waiting and disappointments before - we started trying to have a baby. I’ve always wanted to be a mother and imagined we would get pregnant right away.
Well, we didn’t.
Four years later, we still don’t have children and after looking into medical issues, it looks like having our own children will be next to impossible. But every month there is chance. And every month there is a disappointment.
What are YOU waiting for?
How can you and I remain steadfast in hope (see Hebrews chapter 6, verse 19 and Psalm chapter 33, verse 18) in our waiting? I’d like to invite you to consider the following four questions with me as we think through the things we are waiting for.
1) What do you want? Is it good?
Desires such as marriage and children and jobs are good desires. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Even as an infertile woman, I know that having children is a blessing.
But don’t let your desire for those good things become a ruling thing. As Paul Tripp (one of my favourite authors) says “A good thing becomes a bad thing when it becomes a ruling thing.”
A good way of finding out if something has become a ruling thing is to ask if you are you willing to sin to get what you want. Are you willing to date an unbeliever because you want marriage that badly? Are you willing to cheat at your job because you want that promotion so badly? Those are red flags that those desires have become ruling desires that have taken the place that only God should fill.
2) Is it really promised? Are you resting in true promises?
Are we promised spouses, healthy children, good jobs and lots of money? NO. We are NOT promised those things as New Testament believers. We are promised something greater!
We are promised to be fruitful as we fellowship with Jesus, seeking to obey (John chapter 15, verses 4-5)). We are promised comfort in our troubles (2 Corinthians chapter 1, verses 3-7). We are promised character growth as we persevere through disappointments (James chapter 1, verses 2-4). These are promises we can stand on.
It’s ok to want good things. But I urge you to want them and use them for the sake of God’s glory not your own. (1 Timothy chapter 6, verses 17-19).
Most importantly, let your unfulfilled desires lead you to seek satisfaction in the very best gift, God Himself. God is our portion and we have all we need if we have nothing else but Jesus.
3) Do you trust God with the means and timing of your desires?
Psalm chapter 23, verse 1 eloquently tells us “The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want.” God is our Shepherd. He provides for our needs!
So far, in my desire for children, God’s best for me has been for me to remain infertile. I am encouraged by the stories of Elizabeth in the book of Luke and Hannah in 1 Samuel. Those women trusted God in their barrenness and overflowed with gratitude when God opened their wombs. If God does that for me, I will be so grateful as well. But if not, He is still good. I can still trust Him.
Of course, we probably have to do something to get the things we want. If you want to get married, staying home all the time isn’t going to help. But neither is Tinder. Getting involved in a local church is a much better option if you want to find a godly spouse and build godly relationships. Be willing to go against the grain of our hook-up, instant satisfaction culture to be obedient to God in the midst of your process of waiting.
4) Are you wasting your waiting?
From our perspective, waiting feels like torment. Especially as millennials who have immediate access to information, communication and people 24/7. But from God’s perspective, waiting is for our benefit and for His glory.
It’s too long to quote in full here but I’ve been thinking about the impatience of Saul in 1 Samuel chapter 13, verses 8-15 that lead to God’s rejection of him. His circumstances looked bleak: the people were dispersing, Samuel was late and his enemies were near. But he was instructed to wait and he refused.
I’m speaking to myself here… Keep waiting. Wait with eager anticipation, trusting God’s character and goodness. He does provide for our needs but often in unexpected ways.
God does not waste seasons of our lives. He is always at work. He is always doing things behind the scenes and inside our hearts that we probably won’t see in the moment. He uses them for His glory and for our good. We can trust Him.
May we evaluate our desires, desire God above all, rest in His timing and trust His process in us as we wait. If you are in a specific time of waiting and longing, I encourage you to open your Bible and carefully read the verses I referenced above. God’s Word is more encouraging than my words will be. Take heart and keep looking to the Lord (Psalm chapter 123, verses 1-2).
Ashley Mullins is the wife of Chris, a seminary student and college Math teacher. They currently live in Spokane, Washington – home to both of them – after a time of being far away, first in the Los Angeles area in California and then in Malawi, Africa for a year.