Lamps

Waiting can be a difficult task.

I will admit, I'm not the most patient person at times, and it's compounded by living in a world that does not wait, and especially does not see any value in doing so. We are constantly updating, fast-passing, and quick-looking so much that it has become engrained in the fiber of our being. "Wait" is a bad word. But the reality is that, amidst all of our instant gratification, we find ourselves forced into the discomfort of waiting. Not just in lines, but in life. It's out of our control and actually hits us where it hurts. Maybe it's that you're not as "far" in your career as you thought you'd be by now. Maybe it's a looming decision; maybe it's a craving for companionship. Whatever it may be, it's worrisome and discomforting, and we find that waiting is not something we want to mess with, so we quickly try to take matters into our own hands and power through. Because that's what we're supposed to do, right?

So I was pretty confused one day when God brought to my attention that He actually wants us to wait. The Bible says to wait on Him a lot. And it's not like the twiddling of the thumbs, "why is this lane moving so slow" kind of waiting; it's actually incredibly emotional! Throughout the Pslams, waiting and crying out to the Lord are paired together more often than not. That verifies my suspicion that waiting is something that stirs us deep within. So what does "waiting on the Lord" even mean or look like?

Around the time these questions started to swim around in my head, this song by Bethany Dillion kept popping up on my Pandora. It's so beautiful and wise and has so much to say about waiting.

In her song, she references a story that Jesus tells in the book of Matthew, urging us to keep our lamps filled with oil. In that story, Jesus gives us a spot-on analogy about ten virgins who are going out to meet their bridegroom (an illustration of God and his church). Five of these virgins bring extra oil with them to keep their lamps lit, however the others do not. By the time that the bridegroom has come to meet them, the lamps of those who did not bring extra oil are burnt out, and they cannot see to find their groom when he comes for them.

In learning about waiting, I am reminded that the walk of a Christian is not an easy one. It requires that we bring everything before God - our joys and our pains.... and sometimes, that pain lasts. Daytime leaves us and night comes. We see only by a lamp, and it becomes monotonous and tiring, and we are tempted to just let it burn out. But we do not. We seek him. We actively trust him. We cling to the truth that he tells. We keep our lamps filled with oil. It requires constantly bringing our vision back to the Gospel, and in that I so easily forget that surrender requires action. That, while I know that I can do nothing to earn my salvation, it does not mean that I am taking on an attitude of carelessness. 

Yes, I can be overwhelmed with feeling like I'm waiting for my dream career to present itself to me, I am so often frustrated when there doesn't seem to be a clearly "right" decision, and from time to time I consider joining a convent because aren't all 22 year olds getting engaged and married?!? (I kid.) In all this it is better for me to wait on the Lord, because he has much better plans for me than the ones I could try to manipulate or piece together.

I pray that we would not be tempted to stray from from him act our of worry or pride. I pray that we can always find the joy of relationship with God that comes from waiting well.