While We Wait: A Lesson in Abiding

I am a planner. Don’t get me wrong, if you looked at my purse, car, or calendar, you’d have no idea because it’s an utter wreck. But at the heart of the mess, there is a structured plan. Organized Chaos. It’s how I roll… and it may or may not drive a certain someone I married crazy. But nonetheless, it's my game plan. Where are my keys? What day is it? Where is that letter that needs to be mailed? Bless it. I haven’t the slightest idea, but by golly at the age of 13 I had a five & ten year plan on who I'd like the be, what I’d like to be doing, and I had a color coded system on how to get there. Y'all... I heart a good time line... & Y'all should've seen my excel spreadsheet for my wedding. I have issues... I know... Pray for Ben. 

Here’s the thing. I like control. I like my plans. I have a time-line. And when my time-line doesn’t match up with reality, well…

Waiting is hard… Especially for this impatient chaotic planner.

Over the past few years, I feel like the Lord has repeatedly placed me in seasons of “waiting.”  Especially over the last year and a half.  The unknown has greatly outweighed the known. With every turn, I have found myself waiting for the next step. Waiting to see what the future holds. Waiting on a Yes or a No. Waiting to see if God is going to keep His promises; of course He does YET still there are days when I wonder if I’ll get to see the fruition of those promises this side of glory. 

And here we are again. Adoption has brought us back to this season of waiting. And I must confess, I’ve not been waiting well and my heart has felt the effects. My view of God has become small, as I only look at Him through the lens of this specific circumstance rather than the glorious Redeemer He is. I completely resonate with how the Israelites complained about their current circumstance instead of recalling His goodness and provision that sustained them for centuries. How quickly I forget to recall His provision and demand that my time-line be met?!

Here lately I’ve been studying the Gospel of John. In the first 11 verses of chapter 15, Jesus mentions the word abide 10 times in a variety of different forms.  Abide in my love, Abide in the Vine, Abide in Me. These phrases are repeated over and over again. And then verse 11 says, “These things I have spoken to you that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be full.” 

You see, the word "abide" means simply "to remain" or "to stay." In John 15, the author is saying that apart from remaining in the vine, we can do NOTHING. This is good news for the weary waiting soul! We aren't a branch by ourselves, waiting to produce fruit! No, we are grafted into the vine. Our capacity to wait well, to love fiercely, to grieve with hope, to serve our communities, to sit with the hurting, to forgive the unforgivable... all of it comes from abiding in the Vine. 

And although this passage doesn’t even mention the topic of waiting, in the stillness of reading the Lord convicted my heart… Child, I want you to have joy in this season of waiting. Abide in the vine my child. Abide in Me. Remain in my love. Recall how I've brought my people out of the wilderness and into the Promise Land. Remember who I am and what I've done and what I'm currently doing. Know that I am a merciful God, slow to anger and my steadfast love endures forever. Remember that I'm the God who turns sorrow into dancing and will one day wipe EVERY tear from every eye. Abide in me, and I will abide in you, and my joy will be your joy, and your joy will be full. 

And there lies one of the many secrets about Joy: If you know who the Vine is and can recall all His great works, you can fight to abide, to remain, in Him. And if you’re able to remain in the vine's love, you’ll bear the vine’s fruit and have access to His joy that supersedes all circumstances.

Joy in the yes’s, Joy in the no’s, and Joy in the waiting

Waiting on biological or adopted children? Abide in His steadfast love to sustain you. 

Waiting on a job change? Abide in the one who turns Kings heads. 

Waiting on a broken relationship to mend? Abide in Yahweh, a redeemer who restores. 

Waiting on a diploma? Abide in author of all knowledge.  

Waiting on physical healing from a medical condition? Abide in the one who made the lame walk and the blind see. 

Waiting on wisdom? Abide in the author of true wisdom. 

Waiting to overcome a sin that you’ve been battling? Abide in the one who overcame sin and death and is coming again!

Waiting on a relationship? Abide in the one who loves you more than any human could ever dream of. 

Will abiding making you circumstance better? No. Absolutely not, but it will bring comfort and JOY to those who rest and abide in the true vine; the one who is the giver of life and all good gifts. 

Are you wrestling with a heavy heart from waiting? Know. Recall. And Abide. Know the Vine, Recall who He is and what He's done, and Abide in Him.  Joy is waiting for you not only after you receive your answer, but while you wait. 

Much love, especially to those who are wrestling with the waiting, 

Posted on October 15, 2015 .