Laura Roland contemplates the ways waiting is a part of God's plan.
Pray. Trust. Wait.
These three words are on a little sign in my bathroom. I put it there so that I would be reminded every day that waiting is part of THE plan.
Waiting. I don’t know many of us who enjoy it, or are especially skilled at it. Very few of us readily embrace the concept. It flies in the face of the restless nature of this fast paced, quick fix world we have created for ourselves.
When I find myself struggling, or restless, cranky, disengaged, it is usually a sign that some need of mine is not getting met. Prayer becomes less about the Lord and more about submitting a list of demands, as if I know better than He does what I need to become stable, centered, happier and available.
Always with the intention that the prayer is one of surrender, “Yes Lord, I know, Your will, not mine,” more often that not it comes out as, “I’ve already prayed for this a million times. Why haven’t you answered me?”
When the answers finally come, they are hardly satisfying.
Yes, but not yet.
No. I have something else for you instead.
Neither answer gives me what I asked for, but they both give me what I need.
Yes, but not yet is God’s way of telling me He too wants what I want; however, because He has searched my heart, He knows the secrets I carry, the shame I haven’t let go of, the sins I’ve spoken in the confessional but haven’t embraced the whole go-and-sin-no-more part. These are the areas He knows I need Him to bind up before I can be given what I’ve prayed for, demanded. Because if I don’t allow those areas to heal, satan will use those very things to crush me.
The waiting that lies between the yes and not yet is a space that He holds for me to heal and grow. It is in this season of waiting that I learn to carry my cross.
No, I have something else for you instead is the ultimate invitation to let go of my list of the things I think I need to be happy and successful and embrace His instead. It requires a deeper yet somehow more simple surrender and easier trust. It demands my own fiat, “Yes Lord. I will not refuse you.” It becomes then, a promise I make to Him, that I will have faith that He knows better for me, that His plan is going to be exponentially more fruitful than I could imagine.
The waiting that lies between the no and the something else is a space He holds for me to learn to surrender my surrender. It is in this season of waiting that I learn what trusting in the Lord really looks life.
I’ve waited in both spaces many times throughout my life. Neither season is an easy one. But I love a God who loves me enough to sit with me in the wait, giving me everything – and everyone - I need to endure it, so that I emerge stronger, able to take up what He has prepared for me to do.
Pray. Trust. Wait.
Copyright 2020 Laura Roland
Image: Guilherme Stecanella (2019), Unsplash
About the Author
Laura K. Roland is a cradle Catholic. She and her husband of 31+ years have 3 children and have recently added a son-in-law and a daughter-in-law to their ever-growing family. A former Catholic educator, she co-founded the women’s ministry Encounter Grace in 2018 and is a speaker, writer, mentor, and host of the new podcast, Short Story Longer.