Indeed, none who wait for you shall be put to shame;
they shall be ashamed who are wantonly treacherous.
I’m a baker. I love baking cookies and cupcakes and muffins – never brownies though. They’re much too complicated for me. I can never get them just right. No matter what I do, they always come out too hard or too gooey (which can still be yummy, but also, very messy). To this day, I have not found the secret to making perfectly fluffy, melt-in-your-mouth brownies with just the right amount of chocolatey gooeyness (holla back if you got some tips, ladies! Gents, you too!).
Finding the perfect balance in a baked good takes the perfect mixture of things: base ingredients, spices, whisking skills, heat, and of course, time. Those last two are pretty important – they can either create a delicious treat or a total disaster.
Life is much the same way. The perfect ingredients are needed for the perfect balance. Then again, nothing is perfect in our world. But some things can be pretty darn close if we go about them in the right way. In case you’re wondering, the only “right” way is God’s way.
The Lord is good to those who wait for him,
to the soul who seeks him.
I’m currently in a “season of waiting” – as I’m sure most of you are. Waiting for a change of pace, for some direction in career/education, for marriage/parenthood, for ministry opportunities…the list goes on. It seems we’re always in one season of waiting or another. It’s so common, so mundane, so frustrating even, that hearing the words, “wait on the Lord” just doesn’t cut it for us anymore. We’re tired of waiting. Tired of wondering. Tired of hoping for something we don’t even know will happen. Tired of gearing our lives and our minds towards something we aren’t fully sure of. And so the exhortation to “wait on the Lord” falls on deaf ears and hardened, embittered hearts.
How do we stop this from happening? It takes a change in perspective. And yes, it IS easier said than done. When we’re talking about “waiting” on this, that, or the other, seeking a different perspective is often the last thing we want to do. We’d rather just sulk and wallow, feel sorry for ourselves, and embrace self-entitlement. But if we want our lives to be fruitful for the Lord, pleasing to the Lord, we’ll be careful not to give into the ease and temptation of sulking.
Simply exhorting one another with the words, “wait on the Lord” will likely not do once we’ve heard the same phrase a million times before. We need to give our ears something fresh and new, something full of clarity and brimming with godly perspective:
Waiting on the Lord means waiting for His best.
His best. Not ours.
His best means perfection. Not perfection in that life will be free of flaws – for anything in this world will have its faults. But perfection in the sense that He will bring together two people who are the absolute best for one another, and make them one – neither of them will be perfect, but they will be the perfect companions for one another. Perfection in the sense that He will pair you with the absolute right job for you depending on where you are in life. Not that your job will be perfect and without difficulties, but that it will be the best fit for you. Perfection in the sense that He will bring along the best ministry opportunity for you, taking into consideration your personality, your desires, your growth – one that both feeds your soul and brings utmost glory to Him. True perfection is simply not found in this world. But God allows us to experience His perfection in the way He works things out in our lives. We just have to trust Him in the waiting. How do we know we can trust His timing? Jesus Christ. He was right on time (Romans 5:6; Galatians 4:4-6). And if God was on time with the world-changing things, we can trust He’ll be on time with the us-changing things too.
Let’s talk about those brownies again. I’ve played around with temperature settings and baking times on numerous attempts at the perfect brownie. Clearly, I haven’t found the right balance yet. But I’ve realized a few things: lower baking temperatures don’t prevent rock-hard brownies from happening. They can still turn to stone if you keep them in the oven for too long. And higher baking temperatures don’t prevent too-gooey-for-my-liking brownies either. They can still look like you never baked them if you don’t keep them in the oven long enough. It takes the right amount of heat AND time.
Pretend that whatever you’re currently “waiting” for is your brownie. If it doesn’t sit in the oven long enough, it won’t be just right. If the temperature of the oven isn’t high enough, it won’t solidify or fulfill its desired purpose. You don’t want to eat batter – you want a brownie that you can chew! So wait and persevere through the fire, no matter how hot it gets or how long it takes.
But at the same time, be mindful of what the Lord is telling you. Keep your brownies in the oven too long and you’ll end up with a hardened, 9X13 sized brick. Heat the oven up too much, and you’ll end up with charred brownies and a baking pan that is much too hard to scrub (trust me, I know). So be sensitive to when that oven timer is going off and when the preheating is done – even if it happens before you expected or sooner than you’d like. When it’s time to move, move.
The Lord wants us to wait on HIS timing because that’s what will yield the absolute best, most perfect results. Cutting His time too short OR extending it further will only lead to less than His best.
Whatever you’re waiting for, know that it can be as close to perfect as this world will allow – if only we would stick it out and be sensitive to His nudges. The perfect spouse, job, ministry, children – none of these exist. But in all these things, the Lord allows us to experience HIS perfections – His perfect love, grace, wisdom, and time – when we truly seek Him. Although this world has its limits, when we take on His perspective over our own, we will see His perfection in all things.