As I drive down the road, testing the speed limit a little, I realize that my life has become a rushed series of events whirling by me in quick succession. It seems that everything is urgent and must be completed NOW or the world will hurl off its axis. Taking time to wait on anyone, including the whisper of my heavenly Father, is impossible. Yet we are continually called to wait. We wait in the fast-food drive-thru. We wait for our children to get out of school. We wait on hold with the bank or the pharmacy. I am not quite sure that this is how God intends for us to wait, but He does asks it of us, nevertheless.
For many, the most challenging aspect of waiting on God to move is that “God’s timetable is not our own,” as pastor Rick Warren explains in his best-seller The Purpose-Driven Life. God waits in infinite patience for us to come to Him, follow Him, and transform in His image. God has not gifted us with His infinite level of patience, so why does he ask us to wait? What does he really expect from our hurried little minds and hyperventilating spirits?
In Psalm 46:10, He encourages us to “Be still and know that I am God.” This is the first step in waiting. To wait, we must stop our endless striving, simply let go, and breathe. In Episode 6 of When Calls the Heart, the audience saw Elizabeth take this much-needed step towards acceptance as she sank to her knees at the edge of the pond. In the middle of her sadness, she ceased her tears and her arguments. She closed her mouth and opened her spirit. She turned her face to the Lord and relinquished her desires into His hands. She accepted His will and desire for both herself and for Jack.
In much the same way, we must cease our striving for so many things: wealth, perfection, notoriety, peace, joy. In falling to our knees and silencing our human desires, we place it all in the hands of the knowledge that our God is a loving, just, and purposeful God. This calling to “be still” is God’s whisper that He has something more for us. We must “let God take care of the future.”
In the most recent installment of When Calls the Heart, “Healing Hearts,” we learn that God will use the stillness to, in the words of Brian Bird, “open your arms to whatever happens.” In the quiet of Jack’s absence, Elizabeth reestablishes her purpose in the classroom. When distractions could lead her further into mourning, God presents them instead in the form of two little boys who are hurting, too. Where Elizabeth could have used these two challenging bullies as excuses for more heartache, she instead uses her own understanding of leaving and loss to put the puzzle together. By listening to God’s whisper, Elizabeth discovers a heartbreak deeper than her own. Her waiting has taught her understanding.
Why is God making her wait? Why is He not rushing Jack back to Hope Valley? This isn’t the annoying wait of a slow drive-thru or the tedious wait accompanied by elevator music and the line “Please continue holding.” This is the anxious, heart-rending, horizonless wait of a bride bereft of her groom. Yet, while she waits, she learns hope. She learns faithfulness. She learns sacrifice. She learns dependence on God. She learns all of those little life-lessons that will make her the perfect bride when the groom reappears.
Elizabeth calls to mind another bride and a far different groom. So many years ago, Christ walked this earth. He loved. He taught. He encouraged. He wept. He left. His bride on earth awaits His return. We ask ourselves “When, Lord? When will we see Your kingdom? When will we see your blessings? When will you answer my prayers?” Remember, He created us. He knows the virtue of patience. In our waiting, we must learn all of those little lessons that make us His perfect bride. As we wait, we slowly transform in Christ.
Elizabeth doesn’t have any letters from Jack to reassure her of his return. She has his promise in the form of a ring. We have letters from our groom. We have the Word promising HIs return, “our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ,” (Philippians 3:20) We serve a God who never breaks promises.
We know beyond a shadow of a doubt that Elizabeth will be ready when Jack returns. Will I be ready for my groom? Will you be ready? Maybe, instead of rushing from one place to another at breakneck speeds, we need to stop. We need to breathe. We need to wait with purpose. In those times of waiting, we must remember that it is not about the waiting or the lack of timing. Whatever happens, when we wait on God and let Him take care of the future, He blesses us with a transformed spirit and prepares to be His for all eternity.