Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Waiting for the Harvest

This time last year, we were rejoicing over the arrival of our "soft LOA" and eagerly anticipating the arrival of the "hard LOA" at our agency.  It was a difficult period of waiting.  Cities were shut down for a week due to major conferences and important Chinese holidays were looming with yet more government shutdowns.  The waiting was difficult.  It was painful.  I shed many tears during that wait.  I wrote so many posts lamenting this wait.  So many struggles, so many worries and fears, so many mathematical equations went into that long, painful wait.  The wait for the LOA that arrived safely to our agency last year on November 11, 2014 and then to our home two days later.  You can read my building anticipation and struggles with the wait here, here, here, here, here, and here.  To say it as an emotional week last year would also be the understatement of the year.  It was emotional and hard and scary.  Looking back on it has been powerful for me this year.  God showed up in big ways throughout that wait.  Not just in the process of our adoption, but also in His process of refining me.

This year it seems no different.  I find myself waiting again, but the waiting is different.  This year the waiting is a different set of challenges....waiting for speech to develop, communication to improve, temper tantrums to abate, for fears around food to subside, for relationships and trust to run deeper.  I'm waiting for children to grasp concepts in school, for attitudes to change, for connections to be made, for knees to be bowed.  The waiting, while different from "the great LOA wait" of last year, is still hard....just in its own unique set of ways. 

What makes waiting so hard?  Waiting is hard simply due to the fact that I have absolutely no control over it.  I cannot control the waiting.  I cannot control the time table.  I don't even have the privilege to know the time table.  Waiting is hard, no matter what you are waiting for....perhaps a longed for child, a prayed over soul mate, an answer to prayer, or the salvation of a loved one, but let's be honest, waiting is hard even in less spiritual ways.  Sometimes it is hard to wait for our turn to speak, to get that needed cup of coffee, to eat that promised piece of chocolate cake, to open the first gift Christmas morning.  We don't want to wait in line or get stuck in traffic, we don't want to wait for the internet page to load or the computer to reboot.  We can't wait to eat the cookie so we munch on the dough.  Waiting is hard for humans!

My waiting this year is no different from my waiting last year in this: I cannot control my wait.  I cannot control the circumstances around my wait.  I can, however, control my response to the wait.  I can grumble and complain.  I can bemoan the lack of progress I see in certain areas, the failure to see any type of movement.  I can focus in on how the wait is negatively impacting me or causing me a certain level of inconvenience, or I can choose to control my attitude and place my focus on the Lord during the wait.  I can thank Him for the waiting and praise Him for the character He is developing in and through me as a result of the wait.  I've discovered that for me personally, I need to do several things in this time of waiting to keep my attitude in check.  First, I have to keep an attitude of praise.  No, waiting is not my first choice, but ultimately, that isn't up to me and I can't change it.  I can praise God for being the supreme Lord of my life and ordaining things to happen precisely as He sees fit according to His plan.  Second, I need to ward off my self-pity and temptation to complain by immersing myself in His truth.  I can do this no other way than by spending quality time in His word, seeking His character and finding for myself His worthiness for me to rest patiently during a time of waiting.  Third, I have to ensure I stop manipulating circumstances to get things to line up according to my plan, rather than His.  I can't force it to happen.  Lastly, I need to fully rely on Him and accept the time of waiting expectantly--expectantly waiting to see Him glorified and proclaimed in and through the wait.

We plant a garden in our backyard each year.  It is very small right now as we don't have a lot of space to have anything too expansive.  Some day we hope to have more land and a larger area to grow more things.  Each spring, as we purchase our plants and seeds and begin the process of planting that garden we can feel our mouths begin to water over the thought of that first red tomato or perfectly ripened cucumber gracing our dinner table.  We want that garden to grow and to grow quickly, but that isn't how God designed it.  We have to plant it just so in perfectly fertile soil so that the plant may take root and become strong and established in its new space.  We have to water it and weed the garden and nurture the plants to help them grow.  In the case of my cucumber vines it also involves a bit of pruning and redirecting to ensure it grows exactly where I want it and not over the top of my green beans.  The pruning is difficult and sometimes yes, a bit painful, but all the while, growth is occurring.  And we wait.  We wait for that perfect harvest to come, to watch those little baby plants transform before our eyes, to see the fruit of our labor.  As we dig into the deep red flesh of that first tomato that is still warm from the sun on the vine, the waiting was entirely worth it.

We aren't much different from that tomato plant and the circumstances of our wait aren't much different either.  Our wait is God ordained.  He's allowing time for our roots to grow deeper and more established.  He's building our character and pruning us to be more like Him.  He's preparing us for the time of Harvest, for His miraculous return, when His glory will be fully known to every tribe and nation on earth.

Waiting is hard.  Waiting is God's attempt to shape me into someone more like Him.  Waiting gives birth to things far greater than what we could fathom or understand.  Waiting provides yet more opportunity for us to bring Him glory.

So yes, a year later and I find myself still waiting--waiting on different things, but still waiting.  This year I choose to rejoice in the wait and the glorious work it means He is doing in me.  I will wait expectantly for the harvest.

"And let us not grow weary in doing good, for in due season we
will reap, if we do not give up."
~Galatians 6:9~

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