By Jeannie Ewing
Surely, I wait for the Lord; who bends down to me and hears my cry…And puts a new song in my mouth, a hymn to our God.
Many shall look on in fear and they shall trust in the Lord” (Psalm 40: 2, 4)
Waiting is a particularly difficult spiritual concept for me to learn. All my life I’ve been considered bull-headed, opinionated, and feisty. In fact, one of my good friends from college frequently called me, “Firecracker.” She said it was a term of endearment, but I didn’t take it that way.
For some reason, I’ve always been drawn to the zealous saints who were unabashed and resolved to remain faithful to God, regardless of the cost. St. Peter was impulsive and brash, yes, because he cut off the ear of the Roman guard shortly before Jesus was arrested in the Garden of Gethsemane. And he was weak, denying his involvement with Jesus three times. Yet he was named Petra – “the rock” – upon which our entire Catholic Church was built! Peter was not patient, but his zeal eventually was tempered to a level in which he was able to do great things for God, but with prudence and thoughtfulness.
I’ve learned in my few decades on this earth that waiting is closely related to trusting in God. For example, when I was a young girl, I had a lofty dream of becoming a published author one day. Of course, this was for a young adult fictional series in which I would be the author-illustrator. What happened, thirty years later, is that I did indeed become a published author, just not of the genre of books I imagined and not in the way I could have fathomed.
God was asking me to wait on His timing, not mine, and to trust in His plans for my life, just as the Psalmist is so certain of today.
Similarly, my husband and I are good friends with a couple who has been married over thirteen years and suffered from six to eight miscarriages (some were suspected to be twins). They only this year welcomed their first live baby girl into the world. Through their agony and the incomparable darkness they experienced, they shared with us that God was asking them to trust in His plan.
Waiting and trusting means that we cannot expect to have all of the answers to life’s greatest mysteries. It means we must accept that we will never know some things fully on this side of Heaven. God has His infinite reasons why we are not privy to all the details of how and why certain tragedies or losses befall us. What He does promise us is that He is faithful and merciful.
The times in our lives when we are asked to endure the painful deserts of waiting, in which nothing seems to be moving forward and we feel stuck, are the very times God is pruning us for something greater.
What are some times in your life when waiting has been especially difficult, and how do you think God was chiseling away at your character to make you more resilient and virtuous?
About the Author:
Jeannie Ewing believes the world focuses too much on superficial happiness and then crumbles when sorrow strikes. Because life is about more than what makes us feel happy, she writes about the hidden value of suffering and even discovering joy in the midst of grief. As a disability advocate, Jeannie shares her heart as a mom of two girls with special needs in Navigating Deep Waters: Meditations for Caregivers and is the author of From Grief to Grace: The Journey from Tragedy to Triumph. Jeannie is a frequent guest on Catholic radio and contributes to several online and print Catholic magazines. For more information, please visit her websites lovealonecreates.com or fromgrief2grace.com.