I know Reformed circles don’t do patron saints, but if they did, Abraham would be the patron saint of long-waiting souls.
In the past month, I have met with women who are waiting for God to provide friends, spouses, children, relief from searing losses, salvation for their children, and clarity. These are named and known longings, but they are often outpaced by our unnamed and unknown longings.
In reality, we are all long-waiting souls, some of us are just more aware of our waiting than others. As believers, we are, all of us, waiting for the world to be the world God intended. As believers, we are, all of us, waiting for ourselves to be the people God always intended.
Waiting can feel excruciating and isolating. It shakes us to the core to wake up daily wondering if today might be the day. Waiting disorients even the most deep-rooted souls.
We can read the story of Abraham and Sarah as a neat whole. We can delineate setting, rising action, climax, falling action, and glorious resolution. But when this aged pair was living the lines we read, they could not.
We feel a ten-second or ten-verse pause between promise and fulfillment; they felt the agony of silence and doubt. We see crystallized moments of clarity and revelation; they felt the chaos of wondering as they were wandering, wrestling to believe God despite everything their senses told them.
I’ve been thinking about Abraham and Sarah and that grand sweeping promise of children more numerous than the stars in the sky and the sand in the desert. I’ve been wondering if, looking up at the night sky on sleepless nights of silence in the long wait, the stars seemed to mock them. I’ve been wondering if, looking down at blistered, wrinkled feet covered with the sands of the desert, they questioned if God would ever allow them to sit down and enjoy the children which followed their faith.
Stars & Sand
It was certainly all stars and sand,
But not in the way we planned.
Though the call had been so clear,
The fulfillment felt not-so-near.
The adrenaline of initial obedience
Weathered and lost its expedience.
The neat story you read as whole,
We lived slowly as a daily dole.
The stellar display every night
Mocked our still-childless plight.
The sea of sand we did traverse
Seemed the promise in converse.
Now, past the vale of star and sand,
We see promise peopled as planned.
His ways are worth the weariness.
His face well worth the teariness.
One day, my long-waiting friend, we will see the full trajectory of His good plans. We will sit in satisfaction in His presence, seeing and experiences the fruit of fulfilled promises. Until, then, hope in the Lord. Be strong and let your hearts take courage; wait upon the Lord (Psalm 31:24).