I stood on the sidelines supervising my older two children as they made their way through the winding line of waiting. It wouldn’t be too long before it was their turn to sit secure in the cart of the roller coaster. I took a few pictures and cast smiles in their direction to encourage them to persevere, for I knew the thrill of the ride would be worth the tedious wait.
Standing outside the metal perimeters it occurred to me how this was a visual, representing so much of life. The same way that the Lord delivered the Israelites out of Egypt’s land of slavery, so He delivers us out of thoughts that accuse us that we aren’t enough, away from people who condescendingly decide we lack qualification and from pride that we can figure it out on own. Because He is faithful and true, He will always lead us into the Promise Land of what He is calling us into, when He calls us out of Egypt. Yet, so much of our time is spent in “the land between.” Like the Israelites, we can become inundated with waiting. Instead of anticipating what lies ahead, we engage murmuring, complaining, self-pity and even cowardice. Yet, the winding line of waiting is where He wants to develop discipline within us; discipline to believe that He is indeed who He says He is, to trust His timing over ours, to trust that He knows and sees things that we cannot, to know that He is doing a necessary work within us that will sustain us for the ride.
I sat on bench beneath a tree which was located on the playground that I frolicked in my elementary school years. I looked out at the landscape seeing my school aged self, hanging from the monkey bars, pumping my legs on a swing and attempting to escape the reach of the person who was “it” in our game of tag. Now in my mid 30’s, sitting next to a friend a few years behind me, we dodged the glare of the sun with our sunglasses as we discussed ways we had grown up in our faith. This friend has been through some of the toughest storms life conjures. There were moments she wrestled with the sovereignty of God, but she sat next to me as a living testimony that on the other side of the enemy’s terror, she knew that God alone was her rampart and her shield. What the enemy attempted to use for her demise, the Lord is using to give this woman a fervor for Him and for His children. Instead of looking into her eyes and seeing hurt and brokenness, I saw hope sparkling and passion brewing for how she could help rescue others who may be in the midst of similar storms she experienced. You can almost see her passion bursting at her seams to go full throttle now, yet, the Lord has her in the season of young motherhood. I encouraged her as a mom and a woman engaged in ministry a few years ahead of her, that ministry may not look the way she would like for it to now, but, she can certainly use this waiting time to prepare for the ride ahead. Keep taking the next step, I insisted. He is preparing you. It may not seem that way, but one day you are going to look back and see that in the waiting, He was equipping you for the ministry He has prepared for you.
I stepped off the stage last weekend from teaching at a women’s retreat and a friend of mine said to me, “It was so cool to see all the preparation and discipline from weeks prior play out on the stage this weekend. You were amazing.” Her encouragement, reminded me that any success from the weekend hadn’t come because I walked out of slavery immediately into the Promised Land, but that I had endured the land in between.
My kids walked off the roller coaster, smiles plastered on their faces, audible laughter spilling from their lips and memories forever cemented in their minds. How quickly they forgot about the 50 minutes of waiting, because the experience of the ride was well worth it.
Wherever you are waiting in your expectancy of the Lord, know that the experience of the ride will be worth the wait. He is faithful, just and true and He is working all things for your good and His glory.