I never expected my first post to be one about waiting, but one of my friends also called to the mission field recently shared some wisdom on the waiting aspect of ministry. So it got me thinking and realizing the importance of waiting.
Many of my plans have been changed or at least put on hold throughout my life so far and I've had to learn how to give everything over to God.
I've got a burning desire to minister to others and enter the mission field, but lately I've found myself spinning my wheels without a clear direction.
My own gift for out-going-personal interactions was questioned seriously to the point of a lack of financial support for going to seminary. As a result my seminary plans have been put on hold.
Instead of going right from college into seminary I find myself landscaping to pay off college debt while I wait and the months of my short life tick away.
I want to get out of this consumer and entitlement culture in America and find the poor and destitute and unlovable, and show them that there is a God who loves them infinitely. I don't know how many years I have left on this earth so I don't want to wait any longer than I have to.
I'm cool with the slow-moving, waiting, culture present in most South American and African countries, but I'm anxious to get there. What is this? I want to hurry up and go so I can wait.
Well, at least there I could tell people I'm on the mission field and I would be less judged for waiting or inactivity. I hate the uncertainty and I'm afraid people will place the blame on me for my waiting. I'll be called lazy or thought of as one lacking initiative (which might be true).
My problem lies who I'm assuming makes the plans I'm following. If I continue to assume that I'm responsible for my plans then I will be frustrated with my waiting. However, if I remember that God is in charge, He's the one I'm working for, things become easier.
Do I really believe all things and all times are under the direction of God? That even the delay and the waiting are part of His plan? Could I live like His ways are higher and wiser than mine?
God knows exactly how long I will live and how much time I need to complete my task in kingdom advancement. If I die at a relatively young age it will not have been a surprise for God.
I've asked Him for a full life at the possible expense of a long life in the spirit of Jim Elliot, so when my life seems to be lacking fullness I get frustrated. Some of it may be my fault—and I'm sure I'm not being as proactive in finding ministry opportunities as I could be—but what I've been missing lately is the fact that God is also in control of my waiting. He's closed some important doors (like money, for seminary) and I'm in His hands.
The heart of the missionary is as important to God as the heart of the people he's ministering to. God needs humble servants to do His greatest work and having to wait is another lesson in humility. A lesson I'm so very slow at learning…I'm afraid there is much work to be done before I could ever be fit for great things. But I'm confident that the one who began a good work in me will see it through to the end!
I wait because I'm not the master. I'm not the one in charge. I'm a-waiting further orders.