“No,” she said. I was walking to class during the build-up to finals week. “I decided I’m not interested anymore. We should stay friends.” I was walking to my car after a third “no,” my only consolation the fact that the buildings around me looked nice and the coffee was pretty good. Three times I thought I was looking at a sure thing. Three times I was shown I wasn’t. And each time I was left wondering “Why?” but also “When?”
You see, in those moments I thought the timing was spot on. I couldn’t see a reason for there not to be, finally, a breakthrough in my long, stagnant romantic life. But in reality there were many reasons, I just refused to see them.
For one, I wasn’t making enough money to sustain a relationship (let’s be honest, even when done cheaply it can get expensive when you are making fast food cashier money). For another, I wasn’t ready for the relationship. For a third, she wasn’t ready for one. So I had to wait…and wait…and wait longer than I thought I should have to, or needed to.
However, I’m glad I had to wait on God’s timing. He saw parts of me that needed more work for a while. He saw that I wasn’t in the job situation to maintain a relationship. He saw that being in a relationship earlier than I should have been would have led only to heartbreak.
God has an entirely unique perspective on our lives. (Shocking revelation there, I know.) But not only does He know who we are better than we know ourselves, and not only does he know every detail of our past, but He also knows our future. He knows the “when” and “why” answers. He knows the best times for things to happen, which is why His timing is perfect.
It’s a difficult thing to wait on God’s timing because we don’t have all of that knowledge. We can feel stuck or even cut off. This is yet another reason why prayer is so important. Prayer is open communication with God. It’s one of the best ways to slow down and hear His voice saying, “Wait. Be patient. Things aren’t ready yet, just a little more time.” The moments where I heard His voice saying that got me through many years of waiting just for a date. It kept me true to how I felt I needed to approach dating. It kept me following God’s path for my life.
But we are also called to keep moving while we wait on God’s timing. To me, this looks like finding your own area of ministry in the world. Learning how God has equipped us in terms of spiritual gifts. When we use these gifts, we often feel filled and connected to our Lord. It’s another chance for us to hear Him calming us, helping us wait, but in a way that helps get us out of ourselves and into serving others.
Imagine if you will, you go to a restaurant and are told that there will be a forty-five minute wait. Normally that sounds like a terribly long wait. Boring, too. But what if you decided to pass the time sitting down in one spot and you called your parents? Or your mentor? Or maybe just someone who always looked out for you and had your best interest in heart. The wait would go faster, wouldn’t it? Or what if the restaurant operated a soup kitchen next door and you got a chance to go serve food while waiting for your table. Again, the tone of your wait drastically changes.
This is the role prayer and ministry serve in our lives while we wait for that relationship or that promotion or whatever good thing we are wanting most in life. God’s timing is divine and perfect, and it will happen when He has prepared us for it. So go pray, go serve, go wait.