Fall has come the PNW. I’m sitting outside, eyes closed, knowing that the brisk air has brought some color to my complexion while the sun brings out the highlights in my curls, playing softly in the breeze. Falling leaves decorate the fading emerald grass, and the trees around me are alight with color.
I am learning to love the fall. To appreciate the beauty in letting things go and going dormant and waiting for spring to come again.
Fall this year brings reminders of love and loss. Last year around this time, something I’d prayed would never happen did, and so many hopes and dreams came crashing down.
Life is hard sometimes. Singleness is hard. Relationships are hard. People are messy, I’m messy, and we sin against each other and misunderstand each other and hurt each other unintentionally or on purpose. Sometimes we learn to love someone enough to let them go . . . and sometimes love looks like faithfulness when it makes no sense at all.
Loving well is hard. Worth it, but hard.
Sometimes I wonder how two broken people could ever actually walk into a relationship and commit to covenant and keep it.
God. Only by the grace of God.
God knows how to redeem our brokenness and work all things for good. He may ask us to go through a valley . . . but we will never walk alone. He is the God who wants to be with us. He is gentle with us, and He knows that we are but dust. His grace is all-sufficient and made perfect in our weakness. I don’t understand why He would do that for us . . . but oh, I am grateful.
I am struck by this verse: “Therefore the Lord waits to be gracious to you, and therefore He exalts Himself to show mercy to you. For the Lord is a God of justice; blessed are all those who wait for Him.” Isaiah 30:18
I pray often that God would show me who He is. And this verse reveals a facet of God that I don’t think about often enough.
The Lord waits to be gracious to me. Other translations say “longs” instead of “waits”. This is His heart for me. As the rest of the chapter says, sometimes He must punish us, and sometimes we are unwilling to come to Him and we try to do it our own way, so there can be no blessing.
But His heart is to be gracious to me. His heart is to restore and strengthen and uphold me. He wants to guide me in the ways I should go. His timing is perfect. If He “waits to be gracious” – He has good reasons for waiting.
He is exalted, I know that, and I am called to reverence and worship Him as such. But sometimes, at least when I look at circumstances, it seems like He has forgotten to step in down here, or worse, that He is actually causing pain for some motive of His own that maybe isn’t actually good. Such thoughts are wrong and sinful, of course, but don’t our thoughts go there at times, even if we would never admit it out loud?
The truth is: He exalts Himself to show mercy to us. We who do not deserve it, who are in fact ill-deserving of it, are nevertheless the recipients of His mercy and the objects of His affection. He is a God of justice, this is true, which is sometimes the reason He must “wait” to be gracious to us, but His heart is always, always to show mercy to us. Mercy triumphs over judgment. And His mercies are new every morning.
That, my friends, is a sweet, sweet truth.
In return, He asks us to wait for Him. Earlier in the chapter, He told us that “In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and in trust shall be your strength.”
May it not be said of us, as it was of Israel, that we were unwilling. May we trust in Him instead of trusting in our version of “horses”.
The fact is, though, that we don’t like to return and rest and be quiet and trust. We’d rather do it ourselves or rely on some more tangible source. At least, that’s true for me, especially as a Type A woman.
So God has been teaching me this lesson. Be quiet and let Me work. Trust Me. Wait on Me. When you start to stray, return to Me. Rest in Me.
I was telling a friend the other day that this might be the hardest thing He could ask of me. I tend to be a very future-focused person. I easily leave things in the past, and love pursuing things that are ahead. But He’s asked me to walk through something that I cannot leave in the past, but I also can do nothing to “make happen”. I have to wait on Him for it.
Waiting is brutal sometimes.
And yet it is beautiful. Blessed are those who wait for Him. Or as Lamentations 3:25 says, “The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, to the soul who seeks Him.”
Not waiting on Him just to give us something or arrange our circumstances the way we want them. But waiting for Him, Himself. Seeking Him. And when we seek Him, we will find Him. That too, is a beautiful promise.
I don’t know what you’re waiting on today. But perhaps it will help you, as it has helped me, to remember that ultimately, you are waiting on a God who also waits – to be gracious to you.
May we, today, choose to wait for Him. As the following song (which has been such a sweet balm to my spirit) says, may we wait for Him and rely on His word till our souls are satisfied. May we wait for Him, through the storm and through the night, for His love is our delight.