BY TASHA BURGOYNE, GRACE ATTENDER & SUPER VOLUNTEER
I have never met someone who looks forward to waiting. Conception to arrival, seed to harvest, a promise spoken to that promise fulfilled: these moments are the stars in our show of life. But God doesn’t make irrelevant space.
As I read and ponder the events God has orchestrated throughout the Bible and see the lengths of time he allowed, furthermore purposed, I am often shocked by his timing and humbled by what I don’t understand. In Genesis 12 God tells Abraham that he will become the father of a nation. Later, in Genesis 15 when Abraham and his wife are confused and still waiting, God confirms his promise by telling Abram to look at the sky and count the stars, telling him that he will one day have as many offspring as the stars he can count. It is years and years later when this promise is fulfilled with the birth of Isaac, so much absurdly later that Abraham and Sarah’s response is laughter.
So what about the silent spaces? Whether days or decades long, how do we live them in the crux of being present now, while remaining steadfast with hope and expectation for then?
When our family embarked on the journey of international adoption over 3 years ago, we knew waiting would be an enormous piece of the adventure. Every adoptive parent we had talked to spoke of the difficulty of waiting. From the beginning, it loomed overhead like an unavoidable affliction. As Americans, we have been brought up to expect the hard work, check off the tangible and get results. And do it quickly. Culturally, waiting is seen as wasted space.
This past January, after 3 years, we received and accepted the match of a 10-month old little girl. It’s now been 269 days since we saw a picture of our daughter’s face for the first time. No one could have prepared us for how waiting for her would feel, day in and day out, long after the loose estimates of timing for next steps passed by. I have wondered through tears: What in the world could God possibly be doing in all of this silent space?
Maybe you are waiting for the fulfillment of a thousand prayers too. Waiting can feel so cold, empty, and weary; in the silent space it’s tempting to give up, grow bitter or despair. I don’t have it figured out, but this is one thing I have come to believe: the silent spaces lead us to Jesus and shape us in ways the object of our waiting cannot. We become more of who we were made to be as we surrender to the one who made us in the silent spaces.
Waiting is an invisible becoming where hope, desire and purpose are stitched together in the most essential ways.
(In a few weeks, I will be sharing about how to wait well and sharing practical things we have learned along the way.)