Recently I realized I had been living with a false assumption. Well, more accurately, God revealed to me during my time with Him just how mistaken I had been. You see, I have always had a very clear understanding that God goes before to prepare and I have always believed that God comes behind to protect, but I was neglecting to recognize perhaps the most important aspect of relating with and walking with God. He’s also in the waiting.
In the midst of changing careers and with the future looking so uncertain, I have chosen to believe God has a plan and is preparing the way. I have always cognitively believed that to be true. It is not hard to acknowledge that an all-knowing God knows and understands more than my limited brain can. It is harder to choose into trusting God’s goodness and sovereignty in carrying out that plan. However, in the midst of this transition, I have found trusting God wholeheartedly with my future to be easier than in the past.
Similarly, I have always known and understood God comes behind me, that He “has my back”. God protects and provides and He responds to my steps of faith in Him by doing those things in ways that are often beyond what I could ever have expected or anticipated. This too was not a new concept to a lifelong Christian. A good father is protective. A good father provides. And God is a very good father, so naturally He comes behind and ensures my safety as I take courageous steps of obedience.
Here’s where the revelation came…God is not just ahead, He’s not just behind, He is also walking with me. He doesn’t just prepare the way. He doesn’t just protect after the step has been taken. He is with and alongside in the waiting. Kristene DiMarco of Bethel Music has a new song called “Take Courage”. The song hasn’t even been officially released yet (thankfully you can find a live recording on YouTube – don’t worry, I provided the link below). The lyrics to the chorus read, “Take courage my heart, stay steadfast my soul, He’s in the waiting.”
I was introduced to the song during “Unite Midwest”, an evening of prayer and worship led by teams from Bethel, including Kristene. Frankly, it had been a very long day at the end of a very long week. I didn’t even want to go to the event. I wanted to just stay at home and order pizza. But I made a promise to a kindergarten age friend that I would attend the concert and sit by her, and you do NOT break promises to six year olds! So I headed to the venue, weary and worn out. All around me, people engaged in genuine and heartfelt worship. And though I sang along, my heart and head were elsewhere. Until Kristene began to sing, “Take Courage.” At that point, my knees hit the ground and tears began to fall.
A deeper understanding of how God relates with me, with all of us, was forming in my heart. Later a friend asked why I became so emotional during that particular song. I couldn’t articulate why at the time. And that shows another wonderful truth about our God – He’s SO patient with us! Because change takes time. Growth doesn’t happen in an instance. Instead, it happens slowly overtime, requiring patience and careful observation. You must have eyes to see it and ears to hear it and a heart open to change. And so let me invite you into one of my quiet times.
I honestly don’t really like to call it a “quiet time” – it sounds so boring, like a child in timeout. And so often my “quiet time” is anything but quiet. It is simply time I set aside to spend with God. I sometimes end my “quiet time” worshiping. (It is a good thing I live alone because anyone listening would long for this time to truly be quiet – make a joyful noise, not a pretty one right!?) As I lifted my hands towards heaven, I heard God clearly, and might I add both tenderly yet firmly, say, “I’m RIGHT here. I’m right here.” And my hands dropped. And I could feel him sitting WITH me. And THAT is why I had hit my knees. THAT is why tears began to fall. Because my God is a God that walks WITH me.
Yes, God is far above. Yes, God goes before. Yes God comes behind. Yes, God is Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. Yes. But…
He is also EVERYTHING in between. He is WITH. He is ALONGSIDE. He is RIGHT HERE. He is in the decision. He is in the arriving. But He’s also in the waiting…