“People who wait have received a promise that allows them to wait. We can only really wait if what we are waiting for has already begun for us.”
“A waiting person is a patient person. The word ‘patience’ means the willingness to stay where we are and live it out to the fullest in the belief that something is hidden there and will manifest itself to you.”
Henri J. M. Nouwen, A Spirituality of Waiting
After cutting up an apple for my kids one afternoon, my son Davy, then 3 years old, asked if he could have the seeds. I put the seeds in his small hand and walked him to the back door. I watched him as he picked up a toy watering can and took maybe two small steps off the patio into the yard. He bent over moved some dirt, laid the seeds down, covered them and watered the spot. He then stood there watching and waiting. After what I know was less than a minute, I saw his small shoulders drop down with disappointment. He turned and walked away, coming back to the door. As I was opening the door for him, he looked up and said to me, “Mom, those seeds were broken.”
Our son started teaching me lessons on waiting from the Lord before he was even born. We learned in my 30th week of pregnancy that something wasn’t right with Davy’s stomach and that raised a few red flags and several tests. We waited 6 long weeks to find out if he was going to be ok. The last 2 weeks of that waiting were the worst because they became haunted by the phrase “we are not sure yet if he will even survive.”
Through the prayer and support of family and friends we felt surprisingly more and more at peace during those six weeks. We found ourselves holding onto a seed of hope, a promise from God that it was simply going to be ok. Not a promise that our baby boy was going to be ok, but that whatever the outcome, God was promising us it was going to be ok.
I believe sometimes we allow ourselves to become caught up in trying to figure out what to do and how to do it, or we throw up our hands in frustration and defeat from the overwhelming task of having to wait. In those times, we become incapable of believing in the promise “that something is hidden there and will manifest itself.”
I am thankful that we recognized the promise that God gave us. During our waiting we didn’t stop living in the present. We didn’t stop praying and hoping. We didn’t stop talking about and sharing our fears, as they needed to be said aloud. We learned that God’s promises are real and He longs for us to be real in the midst of waiting for them. We learned that waiting could feel lonely, but that it shouldn’t be. We needed our family and friends during that time more than ever. Years later, we used what God had taught us to grab onto and wait for a new seed of promise God gave us as our ministry situation changed, this time we were ready for the wait. Without that experience of waiting those 6 long weeks, we would not have been able to grasp this new waiting and the promise that God longed to bring from it.
Davy’s 3-year-old thought processes did not allow the patience it takes to wait for a seed to spring forth the new life hidden within it. So, I began to help teach my son what he had already taught me, God doesn’t give us broken seeds of promise.