"I am sure that God keeps no one waiting unless He sees that it is good for him to wait"
- C. S. Lewis
I'm not going to be the first person to tell you that seasons of waiting are hard. I'm also not going to outline for you why they're hard - you know why they're hard. You've lived it. You've experienced the feelings of doubt and confusion and wondering where God went in the seasons where you wait for Him to move.
We like to talk a lot about "waiting well". I think there's a lot of value to that. Sometimes we wait impatiently, constantly stressing or worrying about what the outcome of a situation might be. Sometimes we wait manipulatively, attempting to move things in the direction we think they should go. Sometimes we wait with anger or anxiety or fear. But too often, in deciding that we're going to wait well, we forget we're still living.
I don't know about you, but I have a tendency to treat waiting and living as if they are mutually exclusive. You either wait well, or you live fully, but surely the two cannot coexist in the same season. Surely the seasons of waiting must lack the fullness of life that we experience when we are not waiting. Surely we cannot be waiting on the Lord and experiencing His joy as well.
Except that this dichotomy of living while we wait is exactly what Jesus calls us to. Waiting well does not replace living well. On the contrary, we are called into fullness of life and joy over and over again.
Jesus promises that life to the full is the very thing He came for: "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full." (John 10:10 NIV). There are no conditions to this. There are no caveats that say we can't experience this life to the full when we are waiting on the same person who promised it to us. Jesus says he came to give us life, and life abundantly, no matter what season we find ourselves in.
We are also promised joy, no matter what. In Psalm 16 David writes: "You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore." (Ps. 16:11 ESV). In His presence there is fullness of joy. Not in seasons when the waiting has passed. Not in seasons when life is good. In every season, because God's presence goes before us and surrounds us in every season.
Waiting well and living well are not either/ors. There are seasons of waiting, there are seasons of wandering, and there are seasons of loneliness. But in all seasons God draws us closer to Him, to His presence, where we find fullness of life and fullness of joy forevermore.
Sometimes we wait so "well" that we lose sight of how to keep living the way Jesus called us to.
I don't want to wait well anymore. I don't want to sit back, being patient and becoming passive. I don't want to wait so well that I cease to participate in life because I'm too busy waiting for life to happen to me.
I don't want to miss out because I'm waiting on one situation. I don't want to place any situation so high in my life that every other part becomes a shadow and eventually fades away because I'm waiting for something else instead of participating in what is right in front of me.
I want life abundantly. I want the fullness of life that Jesus came to give me. I want everlasting joy. And the only way we get this, the only way we truly wait well and live well, is remaining in His presence. Stay close, and draw closer still.