In Psalm 25 the Psalmist is praying for deliverance from enemies. Verses 4&5 read “Make me to know your ways, O LORD; teach me your paths. Lead me in your truth, and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all day long.”
For you I wait all day long! How many of us have waited for God for a day, a week, a year, a lifetime? I recently attended a seminar based on the book The Seven Spiritual Gifts of Waiting by Holly W. Whitcomb. It lists those gifts as; patience, loss of control, living in the present, compassion, gratitude, humility and trust in God. I looked at the first two signs on the board and said oh no, I am not ready for this class!
Patience and loss of control are not my strong points! It has been my experience that when I pray to God to give me patience, I am not given patience but I am given the opportunity to learn patience instead. As far as loss of control turning things over to anyone is difficult for me, turning things over to God is almost like fishing to me, I work hard to cast my line out as far as I can and to get that bobber out into the deep water, and my problems are like the bobber, eventually I reel them all back in.
But I learned a lot in this class about turning things over to God. I realized I had been able to do it for two years when my son was 15 and had begged me to go live with his father for over a year. I knew it was not the best situation for him to be nurtured in, the living conditions were not as ideal as I would like and I was hesitant to allow him to be influenced by his father’s bad habits. But I also knew that if I did not let him go I would lose him completely and the situation was not dangerous, just not ideal. So I let my precious boy go with hugs from him and promises that we would have every weekend together I prayed for the best. Then I prayed for him to realize that living there was not good, and I prayed for his safety and I prayed for his father to change his habits, and I prayed and prayed and prayed for two years. I had no choice to place my son under God’s protection because I couldn’t be there to look out for him every day. I had no control, I had to give control to God and this time I couldn’t fish it back. Finally one day almost 2 years after he left my son called me and said “Mom, can I come home, I have had enough?” My son was able to really see his father for the real man he was during those two years and he was able to see his weaknesses and yes even appreciate some of his strengths but in the end my young man knew it was best for him to come home. He finished his senior year in High School with me and is now a respectful, responsible, hardworking, loving young man.
Another mother in the class opened my eyes to why God wants us to turn our problems over. She told the story of her five year-old little girl who came home from school one day upset and crying about the teacher. The mother listened to the little girl and knew it was a simple misunderstanding that could be resolved by a short conversation with the teacher, which she would have the next day. But the little girl didn’t understand that it would be so easily resolved and was still crying when she went to bed that night. Mom knew a long explanation wouldn’t help her five-year old so she told the little girl to give her worry to Mommy with a big hug. The girl dutifully gave her mom a big hug but she continued sniffling. So Mom told the little girl “No honey, give ALL your worry to Mommy.” This time the girl hugged her Mom long and tight and when she lay back down again she was able to go to sleep. It was in that interaction that the mother realized that to God we are all like a five year-old and our problems are all like those of little children and because God is our Parent the only desire in God’s heart is to take the pain away.
So I learned about trusting God with my problems that day in ways I have never opened my eyes to before. Yes, I had asked God to watch over my son while he was away but I didn’t fully put my trust in God to do so. Now I know that all of my worry robbed me of joys I probably missed out on during that time and it didn’t have to be that way. My prayer now is that when I need to turn something over to God in the future I will turn it over in complete trust, and that I will remember that I am loved as a child of God and that I can allow God to be in control.
Please share with me your story of waiting. I would love to read it.
Many thanks goes to Cynthia Bailey Manns, Certified Spiritual Director and Coordinator of Spiritual Formation Certification Program at Drew Theological School , for providing this seminar.by