Until the day when God shall deign to reveal the future to man,all human wisdom is summed up in these two words: “Wait and hope.” (Alexander Dumas, “The Count of Monte Cristo”)
Dear Sisters in Christ,
When I was in my teens, it seemed like I spent half my life waiting. Waiting to be picked up from dance class, waiting until I could get a driver’s license, waiting to grow up and get married. That last one was the worst: I’ve known my entire life that I wanted to marry and raise a family, and I knew that desire came from God. I also knew it clearly wasn’t God’s desire for me to marry when I was, say, thirteen, and so I had to wait.
The hardest part about waiting wasn’t even the waiting itself—it was trusting that, ultimately, God would work out His divine plan for my life. I knew plenty of verses about trusting God, and I took comfort from passages likeMatthew 7: “Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you ar evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him?”
But knowing something in my head and feeling it in my heart were two very different things, and I found it difficult to believe that God might someday actually give me what I most desired.
As it turned out, I eventually did grow up (funny how the passage of time works like that) and I did get married, and my husband and I have three beautiful children. The season of waiting has now been usurped by the season of dashing—dashing to clean up spilled drink, dashing to grab socks on my way out the door, dashing to catch the baby as he plummets headfirst down the slide. A friend of mine asked me the other day if I could even remember what I did with all my time before I had kids, and instantly I said, yeah—I moped around and wanted a family! When I look back, I wish I could have found the strength to trust that God did indeed have a plan for my life, a plan to give me a future and a hope, as promised in Jeremiah 29:11. I was so busy waiting and worrying and biting my fingernails down to the cuticles that I couldn’t hear my Father’s voice, calling down to me with utmost tenderness: “Sweetheart. Look up. Trust me! What you long for is just around the corner.”
A few weeks ago, I took my children to a local nursery to look at some flowers. As we were walking through one of the greenhouses my daughter spotted a wagon used for transporting plants, and wanted to give her baby brother a ride. There was no one else around, so I set my son on the wagon, my daughter picked up the handle, and off they went. As I walked beside them I glanced down at my son, and the expression on his face as he rode along was nearly indescribable. He was so full of joy as they trundled down the walk, completely happy and completely trusting in his big sister. He absolutely believes that anywhere she’s taking him is going to be a good place to go, and so he’s perfectly content to ride along.
My son’s implicit faith in his big sister may be a bit misplaced—at not quite three years old she’s likely to pull the wagon too fast and knock him off, or accidentally crash him into a cactus—but what I saw in my son’s eyes that day is what I think our Father wants from us: complete and utter trust in Him, confidence that where He is taking us is going to be a good place to go. We may not have control of the wagon, but we know Who is pulling it up ahead. And that can be our comfort during the season of waiting: the knowledge that God will be with us once we get where we’re going, and every single step along the way there. He is with us—loving us, treasuring us, planning out our future and our hope.
Elrena Evans is coeditor of the essay anthology Mama, PhD: Women Write about Motherhood and Academic Life (Rutgers, 2008) and she is a contributing blogger at Christianity Today’s women’s blog, Her-meneutics. She lives with her husband and three children. Visit her website at www.elrenaevans.com.