What Really is the Hardest Part?

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ImageDuring these dog days of summer I’ve found myself in a period of waiting. We are launching out on August 12 for our next ministry assignment but right now it’s a period of waiting.

There’s a thrill that comes with waiting. We are waiting for something good. Yet, as I was listening to Tom Petty vocally wail this week:

“The waiting is the hardest part
Every day you see one more card
You take it on faith, you take it to the heart
The waiting is the hardest part”

I’ve asked myself the question, what is it about waiting that’s so hard? In fact, let me be honest and ask you for an honest response as well… what is it about waiting that is brutal? As I have read the Scriptures it seems as though God is an expert in making people wait. God certainly can answer/act in a timely manner that is much quicker. But there are numerous examples of God’s skill at making His people wait. In fact, I would even go as far to say that the majority experience of His people is waiting…

Actually, I’ve thought about why I hate waiting. For all the answers like, “It’s soul building”, “You become a better person”, “God has something better for you”, I’ve come to realization that I dislike waiting not because I’m addicted to instant gratification but rather because it seems unproductive. Waiting equals doing nothing productive. It’s wasted time, there’s nothing to do. Over and over it keeps coming up: I was made to do something.

Metaphorically speaking it’s killing me to have to wait to get out to Indiana and start the new job. I want to get in the mix, I want to learn the culture, I want to get settled relationally! Yet, this period is to be spent waiting for the home to sell, waiting to pack things up, waiting to start this adventure in a new season of ministry. I wonder what you are waiting for… a new job, marriage, children, a new semester at school. What are you waiting for? And what is the hardest part about waiting for you?

The waiting is the hardest part because it seems like it drags on forever, with every day revealing one more card but no finality. Even in the waiting it’s a reminder that our life is spent waiting for something redemptive. The Scriptures do graciously point us to the “something”. Ultimately we are waiting for the Lord to redeem us fully, in actuality. Everything my heart longs for in “ever after” will arrive in complete loving fullness when union with God is made complete. This is what theologians call the beatific vision. The period of waiting is this reminder in existence that one day our deepest dreams will come true, not just for an instant and then be gone, but for an eternity. That thought doesn’t totally remove the angst with waiting but it does put it in a framework that helps me be present to the Lord where I am at right now.

“Wait for the Lord; Be strong, and let your heart take courage; Yes, wait for the Lord.”  (Psalm 27:14, ESV).

3 thoughts on “What Really is the Hardest Part?

  1. In my current state of waiting, my wife and I both feel like the waiting does entail doing something – acting without knowing. It certainly is a faith-building experience, but not because I feel completely confident that God is going to provide for us when we quit the jobs we’ve been blessed with in a crumbly economy. She is better at it than I am, but I have to admit that it’s scary as hell to just pack up and move without any employment or housing prospects. (For context, we have decided to “just go” as you so put it… packing up and moving to Colorado on August 1st.).

    The hardest part is facing the baggage that comes with waiting. Trust isn’t a feeling, even though I want it to be. Faith comes from acting in spite of fear. God’s heart for me is good, and even though I’ve done an excellent job so far of taking care of myself, He is asking me for a chance to let Him prove it.

    Waiting means you have to let go – or go crazy trying to hold on (at least for me). I’m just trying not to go crazy.

  2. jonnitta

    Those are great words Eric! In fact, I was particularly struck by the thought that waiting entails facing “baggage”. It is so true that in the waiting the “crap” bubbles to the surface.

    Related to your last statement, one of my recurring prayers was, “Lord, this is just one of the curves in the road that I never anticipated. So if you are going to invite us into this time, provide for us. In fact, God, people are watching to see how you provide for us. Your integrity is at stake so show yourself in your glory to those who are watching that you are a God that is worthy of our deepest trust.”

    Thanks for the thoughts Eric!

  3. I think the hardest part about waiting for me in my current season of life is all of the uncertainty, but I also recognize a huge uncomfortability within me toward not being productive (as you had mentioned). I finish my Master’s degree at the end of this academic year and I have no idea where I will be going or what I will be doing after. I have been seeking an intentional position to be involved in as I finish out my time at Talbot and nothing has worked out. I’m working a part-time job at a restaurant, gaining no applicable skills to a future, and feeling very unproductive. Lately I’ve tried letting go of all of my pseudo-control and ask the Lord to place me somewhere, but that seems very uncomfortable for me. Does waiting for His placement require me to stop looking for jobs? To stop looking at where to move? To stop looking for someone to marry? It is hard to balance trusting Him to provide and not becoming lazy. Perhaps waiting on Him isn’t as “lazy” as I am imagining, but it definitely feels that way. Thanks for sharing some of your process on this journey & for asking your readers to process too! It’s helpful to see someone work through this part of the journey and encouraging to see how God is answering those prayers.

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