The Christmas Eve when I was 8, our grandparents, cousin, uncles and aunts and their dates and college friend came to our house for a fun evening. I remember us kids going out to the living room (where gifts awaited), then returning to the dining room to find the adults still enjoying discussion around the table. Impatiently, we asked if they were almost done. We couldn’t wait to open presents!
When Grandpa walked into the living room, carrying a black garbage bag full of presents and singing, “Ho, ho, ho!”, we knew the time had arrived!
Waiting can be hard. When you’re 33 and single, you’ve done a fair share of waiting. To quote my mom, patient waiting is waiting longer than you thought you’d have to.
My journals tell the story.
- January 2000 – Sixteen years old – “[My dad] just prayed before we went to bed. He prayed, saying God has a spouse for each one of us, and prayed that we would be seeking God’s will. I get so excited when I think of that.”
- February 2004 – First semester away at college – “A scary thought jolted me: what if, while I sit back and smile passively, ‘Oh, he’ll come along sometime,’ everyone around me starts getting married, even the ones who thought it’d take forever for them… (I hope my arrogant, hard-hearted, self-willed pickiness doesn’t keep me from the special one guy God has for me.) It seems my husband is yet to be met… Patience! Patience! Why is it so important to me, anyway? It’s as if, for no apparent reason, my mind and heart and emotions have embarked on an unstoppable quest, which will not be considered even half finished until I have for sure met the [right guy].”
- May 2013 – “Why was I in such a hurry? 29 or no, God can move in His own timing, and I trust He will, no matter what. I’m sometimes hesitant to dream grandly, but it’s certainly exciting and hope-infusing and amazing to consider future possibilities.”
- October 2014 – “And I do trust God has a husband for me … Not because I deserve that, but because of His kindness and mercy. Even though I often wonder how it could happen…”
Waiting is nothing new. The Bible tells about people who waited. Moses herded sheep at the back of the desert for 40 years before God moved him into his calling. Hannah wept and longed for a child year after year before God answered her prayers. Zechariah and Elizabeth prayed and waited for a child, grew old, and lost hope.. but then God worked a miracle and gave them a son – a special son.
It just so happened that Elizabeth was six months pregnant when the angel told her much-younger cousin Mary that she would give birth to Jesus. John grew up to be a forerunner for Jesus, preparing people for His ministry. The timing couldn’t have been better. As for Jesus’ birth, Paul wrote in Galatians 4:4-5, “But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.”
You truly can’t wrap your mind around the perfect wisdom of God’s timing.
I know a couple who met at church camp and had crushes on each other in junior high and high school. They would see each other at the county fair and youth rallies and camp. But they went to college in separate states.
Only God could have planned the Christmas break that brought them together.
She stopped in at McDonalds to see if they needed help over break. Who would happen to be there but he and his dad?
A little later, her family was en route to the big city for their annual Christmas shopping day. But first, her sister wanted to stop at a store in town to pick up one gift. Reluctantly they obliged. Standing in an aisle, she heard her name and turned around. It was him! He told her he was on his way to see her. Then and there, he got her number.
And then, a third encounter happened: Going out to eat, she and her mom and sister deliberated: McDonalds or Wendy’s? McDonalds won out, and it just so happened that he was eating there too.
That couple was my mom and dad, and nearly 35 years later, they still love each other.
Years ago, my parents pastored a new church they had planted. One man came who happened to host a radio show, and he invited my dad to be a guest and share about the church. A quick five-minute segment.
So while my dad’s talking on the radio, this OSU graduate student from North Carolina just happens to be tuned in and hears about the church. He decides to check it out and starts attending. Well, my dad’s younger sister comes to visit, and they notice each other. Now, 26 years and 10 kids later, they are planning for the wedding of their oldest daughter.
Wow! The ways God works! He is awesome.
If you’re tired of waiting and you want to give up, remember that God is there behind the scenes, working everything according to His perfect will. And His timing is impeccable.