Are We There Yet?

psalm 130“Are we there yet?”

Twelve+ hours in the car with four kids means you’re bound to hear that question a time or two or a hundred.

Really, though, my kids did pretty well on our journey to Disney and back.  We had one outright, “Are we there yet?” yelled up from the backseat.

And one time my baby girl tried to pull one over on us:  “How many miles is it to Florida and how long does it take us to drive one mile?”

She figured her math skills would come in handy. She didn’t really have to ask us for an arrival time estimate; she could just gather some info, answer on her own, and we’d be none the wiser.

We didn’t fall for her tricky ways.

But this is the question I find myself asking at times, too.

Are we there yet, Lord?

And it’s wrapped up in childlike fears and wants.

It’s my own impatience, the wanting to be done already, the desire to wrap up the story I’m in with a fairy tale sort of sweet, happy ending.

It’s having a goal in mind, a picture and vision of what’s to come.   We’ll know when the journey is over when we get that job or that promotion, when the prodigal comes home, when the relationship heals or the body heals or the heart heals.

For my kids, they knew their story end was Disney World one way and Home on the trip back.

Then, when you pull into the driveway and park your minivan, you’re done.  The End.  Finished.

You have arrived at your destination.

That’s not always so easy to discern in life, though.  When I ask God, “are we there yet?” it’s not just childish impatience because I want the journey to be over already.  Sometimes I’m just wondering “Is this IT?”

Is this the end, the destination?  Is this where the journey stops and the story finishes?  Is this the completed work?

Or is there more?  Is the story ongoing?  Do I keep praying through these circumstances and trust that we’re not at the end; we’re just somewhere in the middle?

In the silence and in the waiting and in the lull of visible God-activity, I’m tempted to settle into a “new normal.”

This must be “it.”  So, I settle down into complacency and resolution.

I don’t love this ending.  It’s not what I hoped for.  I don’t see God glorified.  The story feels unfinished; the promises unfulfilled.

So, “are we there yet, God?”

Because here is where I am.

The Psalmist said:

I wait for the Lord, my soul waits,
    and in his word I hope;
my soul waits for the Lord
    more than watchmen for the morning,
    more than watchmen for the morning (Psalm 130:5-6 ESV).

Philip Yancey writes,

The picture comes to mind of a watchman counting the minutes for his shift to be over.

The watchmen have this advantage over me, though.  They know when morning has come.  All through the night, they count down those minutes with anticipation and hope:  1 a.m.,  3 a.m. 4:30 a.m.

Then the moment arrives. Dawn.  Morning is here and their shift is over.  Finished.  Completed.  The end.

What to do, though, when The End isn’t so clear?

Maybe the problem is the question I’ve been asking.

Maybe it shouldn’t be, “Are we there, yet?”

Maybe I should be asking, “Am I with you, Lord?”

After all, family time on vacation didn’t begin at Disney.  Family time didn’t end when we pulled into our driveway at home.  We choose to be together throughout the journey.

The Psalmist said he waits for the Lord.  He hopes in His Word.

Not he waits for deliverance and he hopes in his army or his friends or allies.

And that time with the Lord doesn’t begin with the answered prayer.  It doesn’t end with promises fulfilled.

It’s here and now, it’s past and it’s future.

This very moment, the one right here where we feel stalled and uncertain about the future, the season of waiting and in the hours when we wonder if God has finished with us and we didn’t even know it…this is all the opportunity to choose hope.

Not hope for an outcome: Hope for Him and hope for His presence.

And so we don’t wait with impatience.

We wait with anticipation of what He’s doing in this grand story, knowing that “The End” doesn’t come until we’re with Jesus, face to face, in the fullness of His glory, worshiping at His throne.

14 Bible Verses and a Prayer on Waiting

  • Psalm 25:4-5 ESV
    Make me to know your ways, O Lord;
    teach me your paths.
    Lead me in your truth and teach me,
    for you are the God of my salvation;verseswaiting
    for you I wait all the day long.
  • Psalm 27:13-14
    I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living. Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD.
  • Psalm 33:20-22
    We wait in hope for the LORD; he is our help and our shield. In him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in his holy name. May your unfailing love be with us, LORD,   even as we put our hope in you.
  • Psalm 37:7 ESV
    Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him;
    fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way,
    over the man who carries out evil devices!
  • Psalm 37:9 ESV
    For the evildoers shall be cut off,
    but those who wait for the Lord shall inherit the land.
  • Psalm 40:1-3 ESV
    I waited patiently for the Lord;
    he inclined to me and heard my cry.
    He drew me up from the pit of destruction,
    out of the miry bog,
    and set my feet upon a rock,
    making my steps secure.
    He put a new song in my mouth,
    a song of praise to our God.
    Many will see and fear,
    and put their trust in the Lord.
  • Psalm 62:5 ESV
    For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence,
    for my hope is from him.
  • Psalm 130:5-6 NIV
    I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits,
    and in his word I put my hope.
    I wait for the Lord
    more than watchmen wait for the morning,
    more than watchmen wait for the morning.
  • Isaiah 30:18 ESV
    Therefore the Lord waits to be gracious to you,
    and therefore he exalts himself to show mercy to you.
    For the Lord is a God of justice;
    blessed are all those who wait for him.
  • Isaiah 40:29-31 HCSB
    He gives strength to the weary

    psalm 27

    Photo by Weerayut Kongsombut; 123rf.com

    and strengthens the powerless.
    Youths may faint and grow weary,
    and young men stumble and fall,
    but those who trust in the Lord
    will renew their strength;
    they will soar on wings like eagles;
    they will run and not grow weary;
    they will walk and not faint.

  • Isaiah 64:4 NIV
    Since ancient times no one has heard,
    no ear has perceived,
    no eye has seen any God besides you,
    who acts on behalf of those who wait for him.
  • Lamentations 3:25 ESV
    The Lord is good to those who wait for him,
    to the soul who seeks him.
  • Micah 7:7 NIV
    But as for me, I watch in hope for the Lord,
    I wait for God my Savior;
    my God will hear me.
  • James 5:7-8 HCSB
    Therefore, brothers, be patient until the Lord’s coming. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth and is patient with it until it receives the early and the late rains. You also must be patient. Strengthen your hearts, because the Lord’s coming is near.

prayerwaiting

Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer and worship leader.  Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness.  Her book, Ask Me Anything, Lord: Opening Our Hearts to God’s Questions, is available now!  To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.

Copyright © 2014 Heather King

The Discipline of Resting Not Rushing

I’m tempted to rush.

This one day I have this time and the temptation is there to fill it right up with more activity, more going and more doing.

Most days, I don’t have this luxury, of course.  It’s the mad morning scramble of toothbrushes, hair brushes, ribbons, bows, socks, shoes, lunches and backpacks to send two older girls out to the bus stop.

Then, buckle a preschooler and a newborn into the minivan for the drive to school and errands or meetings or Bible studies or appointments or whatever busyness has etched itself onto the day.

But this day.  This one day.psalm27

After I watch my oldest girls step onto that school bus, I return to my home and breathe in and out this uncertain freedom.  I don’t have to drive to the preschool.  I don’t have to meet an external agenda or deadline until the afternoon.

So what to do?

Rush through my home, stuffing laundry into the washing machine and another load in the dryer?  Frantically move cereal bowls from sink to dishwasher and then grab the broom (maybe the mop if I’m inspired).  Respond to messages.  Catch up on the to-do list.  Fill out the forms.

So it goes, me filling up this one little space of time with too much, cramming in activity and sitting on the lid in hopes it will fit.

My tea, poured hot this morning turns cold.

My morning devotions, rushed through just to be done, leave me unfilled, uninspired, unopened to what God wants to say.

Too busy…too busy…just always too busy.

But today  I consider Joshua.

Moses met with God face-to-face in a tent.  A pillar of cloud covered the entrance while the Israelites looked on from the flaps of their own tent dwellings, bowing in worship in the doorways.

When Moses finished talking with God, he returned to the camp to share the message with others.

Not Joshua, though.

“his assistant, the young man Joshua son of Nun, would not leave the inside of the tent” (Exodus 33:11 HCSB).

He wouldn’t budge from the glory and the presence, lingering there stubbornly while others moved along.

What if I chose to linger here….chose to be Joshua refusing to leave the tent as long as God’s glory electrified the air….chose for this one day to be Mary at the feet of Jesus rather than Martha slamming pots in the kitchen?

Because serving perpetually means serving empty and that means dying of spiritual starvation and dehydration.

We need the Mary moments so we can re-enter the kitchen as Martha and care for others cheerfully and ably until we have that opportunity once again to lay down the dish towel and sit at Jesus’ feet.

It’s not practical, of course.

That crowd of more than 5000 who sat on the hillside listening to Jesus hour upon hour should have been watching the clock.  They should have known what time it was and how long they had to travel back for food.  They should have abandoned the sermon and packed up their blankets and lawn chairs at a reasonable time so they could eat dinner at a reasonable hour.

Yet, Jesus rewarded their time in His presence.

Had they left early, they would have missed the miracle.

In order to witness God’s glory, they had to wait, they had to sit patiently and linger there until they received.

In Living Beyond Yourself, Beth Moore writes:

“He placed them in a posture to rest in His provision.  He commanded them to “sit down” and fed only those who were “seated” (vv. 10-11) . . .”Are you ‘sitting down’ in a posture of trust and sitting quietly to receive it?  If so, prepare the baskets!”

For me, it’s just this one day a week to take my morning slow before the afternoon and evening wave of stress and busyness crashes down again.livingbeyond

For you, it may be a morning, a day….even a season of sitting and waiting on that hillside so you can see His glory, or a season at Jesus’ feet instead of in the kitchen, or a season of lingering in the tent.

Whatever the length of the wait and the stillness, it’s a discipline to rest rather than rush.

When we remain there, though, insistent on lingering where His presence is, we see His glory displayed and He fills us up with the sustenance of His presence and His Word.

But only when we wait until He says it’s time to move on.

Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer and worship leader.  Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness.  Her book, Ask Me Anything, Lord: Opening Our Hearts to God’s Questions, is available now!
To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.

Copyright © 2013 Heather King