The Profound Contradiction of Waiting

We have finally arrived at the half-way point in 2016, my friends. Six months down, six more to go. If you’re like me, that realization also comes with a bit of panic. Second halves always seem to go faster than firsts.

contradiction of waiting

A lot has happened in these six months. A lot more will happen in the next. But I’m still staring at my mental list of things I had hope the Lord would resolve this year, and I’m realizing that everything has pretty much stayed the same. I’m finding myself right in the middle of hope and heartache as I see the time past and the time still to come. Was I expecting God to work on my timetable? Not really. In fact, I more expected Him not to. But I’ve still held onto hope. And I’m figuring out how these two things fit together in context of waiting.

As the days have slipped by, I’ve grown to feel like a foreigner when I revisit Habakkuk 2 – my theme for 2016.

It is on its way.

The passage resonates with me differently now.

Waiting, to me, is one of the strangest concepts. God often calls us to wait. At the same time, He doesn’t call us to remain in a state of perpetual waiting. He calls us to the here and now. He is not early and He is not late. Where He has me now is precisely part of His plan.

Still, waiting implies a sense of lacking. It causes us to believe something is missing. But God has not withheld anything from us that He desires to give or use in our lives. He does not leave empty pieces in our hearts when we accept the fullness He provides.

We are called to wait – acknowledging something will be placed in our hands at some other point that is not there now.

We are called to find our contentment in Christ – acknowledging He is all we need, and with Him, nothing is lacking.

God’s call to wait is a profound contradiction to our understanding of what it means to wait.

The more I study God’s Word, the more I see these profound contradictions that God brings us to as we pursue becoming a follower of Christ.

Waiting and contentment.
Hope and surrender.
Faith in the midst of grief.
Strength through weakness.
Joy and suffering.
First becoming last, last becoming first.
Losing life to gain life.

And the most perplexing of contradictions:
Imperfect people having access to God, who is perfection.

On the surface, these things don’t make sense. They don’t belong together. To the rest of the world, it’s insanity.

But in Christ, He takes two things that should not fit and brings them together to display God’s greatness and glory.

Justice and mercy. Grace and consequence. Holiness and humanness.

It explains a lot – some things can be both really good and really hard. But this brings hope, because those things that are really hard can still be really good. When the world enforces we be bound by one, Christ redeems, and we are not limited only to what makes sense on the surface.

Maybe this is where grace collides with the messiness of life most poignantly; where God echoes with the loudest voice, “Pain will not win.” It reaches us, but it will not cast us down. It will chip away at the excess, but it will not break us beyond repair. It hints, but it will not overcome.

Joy is stronger. Hope runs deeper. Christ is greater.

Maybe this is where sovereignty is on display. Maybe this is where we know He has a plan and all things truly do work together for good. Maybe this is where faith meets freedom and we are released from the captivity threatening to steal our souls.

That’s why “it is on its way” feels a little different to me now. This waiting and hoping, surrendering and embracing contentment where I am now, it all feels like a balancing act that comes crashing down most days. Because it’s really hard. But still so very good. Each morning I pick up the pieces and try it again.

Right in the middle of this seeming contradiction is Christ, and a new perspective on a lot of different things. I’m still not sure what it looks like to wait and be content simultaneously. I don’t quite understand the point of choosing to believe it is on its way while recognizing the uncertainty of circumstances and trusting the Lord no matter what happens – to know and not know all at once.

But I know Christ is here, in the waiting and the contentment, so that’s where I’m supposed to be.

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15 thoughts on “The Profound Contradiction of Waiting

  1. Ivan Jose says:

    Great thoughts. Indeed, everything happens in His perfect time. My wife and I are currently in a “waiting” situation, too — waiting for Him to bless us with a baby. Waiting can be hard, it can test your patience, but we have to have faith that everything happens for a reason.

  2. Hollie says:

    Beautiful post. As someone seeing someone in the military, our lives have a lot of waiting. It can get tiring sometimes but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

  3. littlepeace says:

    thanks for this post — it speaks to so many of the themes of my year thus far, many of which i repeatedly struggle to wrap my mind around (or maybe the struggle is to rest in not being able to wrap my mind around them and trust God). thanks for sharing what God has said to you and allowing Him to speak through you.

  4. spurgeonsp says:

    That was profound and beautiful. I am definitely sending it to my son and hope that he will sign up to follow your blog.

  5. Emily Parker says:

    I’m stunned by this. Reading this was like reading the words of my own journal entry from last night. I don’t know if you still find yourself in a season of waiting, but if so, be encouraged by how God is using you even during the wait! Thank you for sharing this – God is so good to have led me here.

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