I begin this new year, much like how I ended the last month of last year…waiting. Still. It’s such a frustrating season for me, as I like to be busy, and do things. I’m not a lady of leisure who enjoys putting her feet up for rest. I genuinely like to work! When God causes my life to be still and quiet I tend to get squirrelly and uncomfortable and work hard to find something, anything to do. I had a sense this time around that God wasn’t needing me to be still for the sake nothing, but that he was trying to strengthen me in this season where I would otherwise tend to fall short on faith. But, week after week I felt my spark of faith burning less and less brightly.
A friend of mine gave me a book to read called Anonymous by Alicia Britt Chole. If you’re in a season of waiting, I would highly recommend you get your hands on this book. While reading a chapter about how Jesus was tempted in the desert a thought began to stir in my heart. I realized just how brainwashed I had become into thinking I NEEDED to be busy. More specifically to be busy for God. I fell into the trap of thinking that I wasn’t doing God any service if I was just sitting around. I should be going out to all the nations making disciples right?! I should be serving at a soup kitchen, or going on a mission trip. I should be creating a ministry that does something extra special and uses a popular bible verse to prove it’s worth in God’s eyes. I should be using all the gifts and talents and my character type to serve God.
Let me take you back to the season before I landed in “waiting”…
he spoke quietly to me. I continued to stir. “Stop”, he said more firmly, but I was too busy to hear. “STOP!! STOP!! STOP!!”, he shouted. I wish I would’ve heard it then, but I was going full force with no room for interruptions.
When he did try to interrupt (which he did frequently) I whined that he had given me too much to take care of anything else, not stopping to notice he gave me very little of what I was busy doing.
So what did he do? One by one, he plucked my activities from under me. “What are you doing God?” I asked, “I’m serving you aren’t I?!” I was pleading with him in desperation, “Why are you taking these good things from me?”
I felt frantic to find the next big thing he was leading me to, and yet there was nothing. I cried…a LOT! Shortly after this I began to read the book and the chapter I mentioned before on Jesus being tempted.
Satan says to Jesus “If you’re the son of God, why don’t you _____”. He knew exactly who Jesus was! He was probably hanging around the day he was born! He knew that Jesus wasn’t just a random Jew in the desert, but a significant force to be reckoned with. His temptation wasn’t “prove who you are”, his temptation was “use your power to solve the problem”.
Since we inherit all that Jesus inherited, we too inherit those same temptations. I’m not the son of God though, so when Satan speaks it sounds more like this, “since you’re a child of God why don’t you use the abilities/ knowledge/ gifts that God has given you to__________ (create a ministry, start a website, build a business, speak for millions)”. You can almost hear the added, “wouldn’t it be pleasing to your Father to use what he gifted you with?” And so we scramble to be busy for God, to concoct a plan of action that we think will please our Father.
For 29 years Jesus was living in the tiny, unglamorous town of Nazareth. He learned the trade of carpentry before he changed the world. Before there were miracles, there was stillness (and an extra long season of waiting). Before he was tempted, he understood his Father so deeply that Satan’s offer paled in comparison to God’s fullness. While he could have provided and created something wonderful and even needed, he chose to be obedient to his Father first and foremost.
When Jesus makes his first appearance in Jerusalem God says “This is my Son, whom I love, with him I am well pleased” (Math 3:17b). Jesus hadn’t done anything notable at the point, and yet God was pleased with him. (more on that thought in chapter 12 of the book Anonymous)
Satan’s temptation to use our abilities to craft something wonderful holds no merit when God is pleased just by us staying close to him and not acting out of his will. When Papa God says “sit tight my child, in isn’t time yet”, we need to be obedient to his words no matter what shape of the world around us looks like. It isn’t that we couldn’t create something lovely and God-like, it’s that unless he asks, there is no point to labour and toil in vain.
So, are you in waiting right now? Are you desperately longing to be used by God? Do you know how God wants to use you and hasn’t opened the door yet? Are others around doing great God things and you feel like God hit pause for you for no reason? Don’t despair, don’t lose faith or hope. He has a plan for you. He had a plan for you before you were even born! It’s just not time for it be in play yet. I encourage you to sit tight, staying close in your relationship with God. At the end of the day it’s what he wants more than anything else! Take this season to really get to know your Father and who he is. Then, when the temptation to go and create something out of your own desire and to be busy arises you can ignore the enemy knowing your nearness to God right now is all he wants from you…for now.
What has God shared with you while you waited? Feel free to share in the comments and encourage others in their waiting.