It seems to be a common problem in Christendom that we feel like we are stuck waiting.
It’s not a problem I am at all unfamiliar with
At one point in my life I was waiting for a church to hire me as a Youth Director. I remember recounting to a friend that my call to ministry felt like God presenting a giant oak door to me, which I obediently started walking towards. But that at that I was relating the story moment I felt like I had arrived at the door to find it closed. “I have faith that when the time is right God will open the door” I said to her “but right now I’m being pushed up against a closed door, and knowing that it will open someday isn’t helping much”
It seems like a lot of Christians I meet feel like that, whether called to Professional Ministry or not, we are all called to minister, and it seems like more and more people are hearing that call, and then waiting.
I felt that again when I was Fund Raising to come out to Kansas. It was a full year from the time I first heard there was an opportunity here for campus ministry, to the time I finally left California. And during that entire time I sat waiting for the events to align that would enable me to move.
It’s a good process, it teaches us reliance on God, and patience, and all sorts of other good things. But it’s also infuriating, and it makes you feel desperate and purposeless. Your life begins to feel like a waiting room at a train station, and the train is way behind schedule. It’s hard to live for God today while waiting for tomorrow, and sometimes this waiting stretches on for years at a time.
The common wisdom is to keep waiting, have faith, pray more. and the common wisdom is not wrong, that’s often the right thing to do. But the common wisdom is also common, and there’s another side to this coin that needs to be addressed.
So here’s my advice on making it go away.
Have you considered getting on a train?
Because if you’re just sitting there in that waiting room, and trains keep whizzing by, and you keep identifying them as “the wrong train” maybe it’s time you just hop on one.
Try to pick one going in vaguely the right direction and get on. Worse case scenario: You just got on the wrong train, and you’ll catch yours at the next station, best case: this train was right all along, you just didn’t recognize it from the outside.
The bible tells a story of Johnathan In 1 Samuel Ch 14 who without prompting from God or anyone, decided to rout out the Philistines. Even Johnathan himself did not know if it was what he was called to but said “Perhaps the Lord will give us victory today” and proceeded forward.
And God did give him victory.
Meanwhile when Baalam began down a road which God didn’t want him on God made a Donkey to talk and give him better directions!
Bodies in motion can be redirected, but bodies at rest tend to stay at rest.
So pick something good, something that goes with what you already know God wants for the world and try it. If you end up doing the wrong good thing that’s okay! God can fix it.
When I was Waiting fro my Youth Minister Job I got involved with a Church that accepted me as a volunteer and I began to work with them in their young adult ministries to develop their College room into a 24 Hour Coffee Bar.
It’s long been a dream of mine to see a community where at 2 in the morning you could go and interact with people. When you are at your most desperate place, and nobody loves you you know you can always go there.
It seemed like something God would like, so even though it wasn’t youth pastoring (or even a paying job) I got to work. I learned to make Espresso Drinks, and cleaned up the room. We repainted it and designed a new look for the building. I made logos, and wrote up proposals to present to elders, and they came back with positive feedback.
Then La Mirada United Methodist Church hired me, and I responded to the call I had been waiting for. I said goodbye to the other church and did my best to leave other leaders to take over the mission but found none who were able to commit themselves to that mission.
The College Group moved to the sanctuary, the Coffee House is now a very nicely painted Storage Room.
No harm done.
A year later I took some of the blueprints for that College Coffee House and Built a Swing Dancing Venue in La Mirada for Young Adults. The work I did there caught the attention of my current supervisor and got me the job here in Kansas, and now months after leaving the state, The Dance still happens every Wednesday night without me thanks to the leaders who took it over in my absence.
I want to challenge you to find your Coffee House. Pick something that you can do right this minute, to take action towards a goal that seems good. That goes with the fruit of the holy spirit. and if nothing else. It will keep you from going crazy waiting for the real writing on the wall to show up.