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I wish I was a morning person. In hundreds of little ways, it would make life easier. But until I’ve had my first or sometimes third cup of coffee, my words during those early hours are few.
There is one thing other than school schedules and kids’ activities that will get me out of bed before the sun, though. Even on a vacation when my boys are still sleeping, I will roll out of the covers, tip toe across the floor and slip on my flip-flops. It’s a sunrise. More specifically, a sunrise over the ocean. My love for photography and nature makes me ignore the tug of the warm mattress, yawning all the way to the boardwalk.
Last year in early summer, I knew we only had a couple of days left on our beach trip. I snuck outside in the wee hours, toting my Nikon and wide-angle lens with me. As soon as my feet hit the sand, the humid air hit me like a wet cloak and gnats greeted my face. The comfy bed beckoned me back.
I walked down the shoreline and realized it was already noticeably bright out. Had I missed the sun? I nodded at other vacationers walking along the water, not wanting to get into a conversation. Pausing by the waterfront, I knelt down and snapped a few pictures of seagulls looking for their breakfast. My stomach rumbled and I wondered if the kids were stirring yet.
My sigh was audible as I turned on my heels to head back up toward the boardwalk. Then, I noticed it. Peeking over the horizon like an iris, it was there. It dared me to turn away from its amber splendor. I grabbed my camera and rapidly began taking pictures as it rose above the waves, getting grander by the moment.
In all my impatience and restlessness, I had almost missed the sun. And the message its Creator spoke to my heart was remarkably clear: When God asks us to wait, there is always a reason. While we may not understand it at the time, those seasons where it feels like God is silent or not answering are often the ones he uses to build our character the most.
If you are in a season of waiting, here are three truths to remember:
1. God hears you. Regardless of whether it feels like it or not, God hears our prayers. He may not be answering in the way we would like, but He delights in us coming to Him with our needs, requests and hopes. He doesn’t tire of hearing us repeating the same request or become impatient because we are needy. Often when I when I repeat myself to God I imagine Him seeing me as a whiney child, but he is holy and loving, and his ways are not like our ways. If we are truly seeking Him and his will, He will deliver.
"And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests which we have asked of Him." 1 John 5:15 NIV
2. God has your best interests at heart. Since God is omniscient, He can see circumstances and potential troubles that we can’t. He isn’t limited by time or the physical laws that govern our existence here on earth, and He can see what will happen one or even ten years from now. When it feels like God has answered our prayers with a “no,” it could be because He knows a “yes” is not what is best for us and the unique situations we are facing. While we may not understand his reasons, we can trust in God’s loving character and perfect will.
“For still the vision awaits its appointed time; it hastens to the end—it will not lie. If it seems slow, wait for it; it will surely come; it will not delay.” Habakkuk 2:3 ESV
3. God is a giver of good gifts. As humans we often get impatient and settle for what is “good enough,” but God wants so much more for us. He wants to bless us with abundance and a life that is rich with purpose and direction. We may be content to settle with was seems good enough for right now, but He wants us to wait for something that will surpass our wildest dreams and imagination. I’m not talking about merely material things, but blessings that fill us up and remind us of what we were put on this earth to do: to glorify Him.
“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” James 1:17 NIV
Whatever you do, don’t stop coming before God. If there is unconfessed sin on your heart, bring it before Him and trust that he will be just and faithful to forgive. (1 John 1:9) Like any other relationship, open communication is key to keeping our connection to Him growing and healthy.
Often when we grow tired of waiting, we are on the cusp of a breakthrough or a blessing that may look completely different than what we anticipated. Don’t give up. Keep pressing into your Savior. I can promise if you do, you will not regret it.
Abby McDonald is a mom, wife and writer who desires to show women the hope of Christ in the middle of life’s messes. When she’s not chasing her two little boys around, you can find her leading her local MOPS ministry, writing about her adventures at Purposeful Faith and on her blog, Fearfully Made Mom. Abby would love to connect with you on her blog or her growing Facebook community.