Yet the LORD longs to be gracious to you;
He rises to show you compassion,
for the Lord is a God of justice.
Blessed are all who wait for Him! Isaiah 30:18
I am a woman in her 60’s — a wife, mom, grandmother of five and a friend, among the other “hats and titles that everyone wears.” Only one of my five grandchildren came easily. Whereas I never had the struggle of personal infertility, I have prayed, longed for, and groaned with others who did. Because I was divinely designed with an innate desire to move toward others who are hurting, many times I have found myself in the place of listening to others and interceding for them, trying to read beneath their words when it was too painful for them to talk about their struggles. In essence, it was a “love that groaned” for them even when they did not know it. Sometimes, their refusal to talk about their struggle felt like rejection of me, but I learned I needed to give that up and wait — waiting, loving, praying, and taking my eyes off of the rejection I felt and concentrating on how painful their waiting was.
“Waiting is oh, so hard!” said a young friend of mine. This mom, now a mother of four adopted children said to me, “With waiting, a baby easily becomes your idol. The appointments, daily shots consume your thoughts and conversations, and it can be a very isolating time unless you have someone else traveling the same road. Even then, it is painful when one conceives and the other does not. When we did IVF, it was very private. I was surprised when I saw acquaintances in the waiting room and was not sure whether or not I could talk to them about it.” This mom went through a necessary season of “groaning” before she could see the larger perspective of what was to happen with her life.
Her joy came when God clearly spoke to her about birth moms. She says, “I had never truly considered their perspective, and God gave me a certainty that adoption was the path for us to follow.”
Larger perspectives don’t come easily. For me, it means that I have to be honest about my human frailty that can become myopic — centered only on my own difficulties. It is a wonderful act of God’s grace when God carries us beyond that place of groaning to a wider perspective that sees the greater need that is around us. This mom ‘s world changed when she began to consider the plight of the birth moms from whom she would receive her adopted children.
I do believe that “good things (can) come to those who wait.” After all, we have a God who “when the time had fully come, sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, to redeem those under the Law, that we might receive the full right of sons.” (Galatians 4: 4, 5, NIV)
Waiting often entails groaning because it hurts to wait for that which seems to be so right, so ripe, and so ready for NOW. But history shows us that God’s timing is perfect, and if I wrap my mind around the scope of humanity and the scope of God’s love, then I am released from my inner clamoring to a place where love can be birthed in me through faith in a God much greater than I can grasp.
I can only imagine how disillusioned, despairing, and confused the people of Israel were when they were captured by the Assyrians and later on the Babylonians and were taken to lands far away from home, longing and groaning for their Messiah to deliver them, how they must have cried, “When, O LORD, when will He come?”
And I can only imagine the pathos of God seeing Israel in excruciating struggle through all of their years of waiting, watching them take the matter into their own hands, creating lifeless idols, seeking out alliances with ungodly nations, trying to make life work. Did God groan? I think so, because God loves us.
Does God hurt when I demand His timing to change for my life when I forge ahead? Probably.
But when I can grasp, even just a little, His great mercy and love in waiting to send Jesus when He did, then I will understand that in “repentance and rest is my salvation; in quietness and trust is my strength.” (Isaiah 30:15, NIV).
Let us pray:
Oh God, thank You that I can come to You in my pain and be honest about it. Please, oh Lord, help me to know that there is a larger perspective even when it is not apparent to me. And especially, Lord, help me to trust, even when I think You are silent. Amen.
Beth Dotson resides with her husband Danny of 42 years in Signal Mountain, TN. She is Presbyterian and is presently working in a ministry that serves HIV clients. She loves her family dearly, has five grandchildren, plays in the outdoors in all kinds of capacities with her husband and their black lab, Zeke. Her desire for her advent is that we would wake up to its wonder and how that wonder translates into the miracle of the mundane in our lives.