Monday, July 30, 2012

Just a Little Bit Longer



"Waiting time need not be wasted time", Pastor Mark said this past Sunday morning as he was applying his sermon on "Waiting for God". As my thoughts drifted to all that God has given me this past July, I had to nod my head in approval. Waiting time need not be wasted time. I may have always assented to this truth in my mind, but just a month earlier I had a very difficult time trusting it with my heart. Life always finds a way to test the things you may believe but rarely trust, doesn't it? I've been living at my parent's house in Melbourne, Florida for the last month and a half. I'm 29 years old. This wasn't my original plan, I was supposed to already be in Wheaton, Illinois.  Let me take you back a month to help explain why.

Initially, I was supposed to be in Melbourne for just a couple of weeks; a small and refreshing vacation with my family. My plan was to resign my position at Mosaic International Church on June 15th, spend a couple of weeks with my family in Melbourne, then head up to Wheaton College to begin the next phase of my life; a phase that I had been planning and praying for since the previous summer. Up to that time, my plan had been progressing quite nicely, not a single hitch...until a hitch appeared.  In many ways, it has felt like my whole life has been leading up to this next phase. I was excited and I was ready...or so I thought.

My moving date to Wheaton changed when my original plan for housing in Wheaton fell through. Average rent for an apartment in Tallahassee runs around $400 a month and after a bit of researching the Wheaton area, it surprised me to find out that the average rent for an apartment in Wheaton runs around $800 a month, without utilities. Wheaton isn't nearly the cheap college oriented town that Tallahassee is. In light of this disheartening discovery, I decided to apply for graduate housing. Near campus graduate housing ran about $800 a month, but it included all utilities. This now seemed like a good deal to me (strange how quickly our ideas of a 'good deal' can change, right?). I applied and they told me I would hear something back from them in the first week of July. Everything was on track.


A few days later, through a Wheaton contact I discovered a house that was renting out rooms to Wheaton graduate students for around $400 a month, with everything included. An incredible find right? The only catch was that I couldn't move in until August 1. The apartment was a perfect find, a blessing really, but it was going to require me to spend several more weeks (about a month) at home than I had originally intended. My parent's would gladly let me stay, but I'm 29 years old and I hadn't spent more than a 7 consecutive days with my family in 8 years. I knew it would take quite an adjustment for me and my personal space. Further, my heart and mind was ready to go to Wheaton in the beginning of July. I had already been waiting to make the transition for months, could I really wait another whole month? Besides, why waste time at home when I could be moving forward with my next calling now? Why lose a whole month of job searching and getting to explore the cities of Wheaton and Chicago? Could I really wait just a little bit longer? 

Eventually, I decided to embrace the extra month of waiting as a gift from God rather than treating it as wasted time. Waiting time need not be wasted time.I may not have been able to see why I had to wait, but I was willing to trust that the Lord knew what he was doing. Wheaton was still waiting for me, and I knew that God's delays are not God's denials. 
In hindsight, I've been able to understand how vital this extra month has been for me. I know that I will be spending at least the next year and a half at Wheaton, but I don't know exactly where the Lord will be taking me after that. What if a job takes me away from my family for several years? What if I meet my future wife at Wheaton? The point being, this month of July might've been the last time I get (as a single man) to spend an extended amount of time with my family. In the future, I could probably get all the extra months in Wheaton that I wanted, but would I be able to spend a whole month of time with my family in the future? I couldn't see from that perspective in June. Thankfully, God has intentions of blessing us in far greater ways than we can conceive. We must be willing to put our faith in him and wait upon him, even when we don't understand the wait. 
"I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his word I put my hope." –Psalm 130:5
This past month of July has been a reminder of just how much my individual journey was always intended to be a communal journey, a journey that would be shared with my family. In the last month I have been able to share my journey with my family and they have been able to share theirs with me. I've learned that my Father, Mother, and Sister are all going through huge direction changes in their journeys as well. We have been able to spend a lot of time this month helping, praying and encouraging each other. If you were to count time spent helping my dad painting as encouragement time, then I reckon I spent MOST of my July time in encouragement mode!

Aside from the many great things I've described above, I was blessed with the ability to just enjoy memorable times with my family this past July. Between zip-lining through the Brevard Zoo, air boating through Lake Washington, and night kayaking in Merritt Island we've created a lot of memories that otherwise would've never existed. Now I pivot toward Wheaton a stronger man. Not because of any physical growth (though I did get a lot out of my Planet Fitness membership), but because I have grown closer to my family. I can feel their support, their encouragement, and their prayers (Hebews 12:1).

I don't believe that we will experience the kind of great gifts of God I have described above just because we have decided to go through a season of waiting, as if it was ours to decide. God is not glorified by someone who is willfully standing still. Don't use 'waiting' as an excuse to forego the uncomfortable task of moving forward in your walk of faith and then shake a fist at God for not helping you move forward in life. I believe that we will experience the great blessings of God when we embrace a season of waiting that is recognized as God's will. The vital ingredient is drawing close enough to God (primarily through prayer and the scriptures) that we can recognize his will in our lives. Having done so, we must then embrace that will and trust that whether it is a season of change or a season of waiting, a season of triumphs or a season of obstacles, God knows what best what we need. Waiting time need not be wasted time.

2 comments:

JulViel said...

Well said my friend! Knowing how much you prided your independence, I was wondering how the delay, the extra time would be for you. Reading this is an excellent example of how much you have matured in your thinking and because of that your relationship with your family has grown. Not to mention some pretty awesome experiences, that zip-lining looks fun! As excited as I am for you as you strike out on your next big adventure, I'm glad you had this time with your family, and with yourself, and you seem to have spent it wisely. Take care!

Mercy Karanja said...

Wow!!!
What a journey you been on, it really is challenging to stay with the Parents I been there but I am glad you were able to spend time with them and love on them.

WELCOME TO THE MID-WEST KYLE!!!

MKAT

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