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  • Writer's pictureJubilee Lipsey

Waiting Well





 

Most of you know that I’m in a season of waiting for children, but there’s a whole lot more going on. When you wait on God and with God, you realize there’s a lot more to it than just sitting around. Biblically-speaking, waiting is active.


The more I study God's view of "waiting" in Scripture, the more I liken it to waiting for Christmas. Anyone who celebrates Christmas in America knows how it goes. We’re not just waiting for Dec. 25th to arrive; we know it’s coming, and all throughout December, there are activities we’re doing in anticipation of it. Granted, it often slides into anxiety and fleshly striving, and that’s not good, but I’m talking about the things we cherish and only do in anticipation of Christmas…the special food, the nostalgic events, the unique decorations and music and gifts, the preparation for family.

That’s waiting--being led by God to do specific activities in anticipation of what is absolutely coming, hopefully with joy.

So, as I’m learning about waiting, I've started to realize that it really matters how you wait. And that’s one thing I’m really desperate for in this season--to wait well.


Now, that doesn’t mean stuffing down pain. So many times, God prompts me to release pain to Him. More and more often lately, I will feel His presence and immediately think that He wants me to do or pray or write something, but when I finally calm down enough to let Him explain, He says something like, “You’re hurting. You need to release some pain to Me.”


Usually, even though I will know exactly what He’s referring to, I still often resist because I want to go on with my day and ignore it. But the longer we do that with things that need to be released, the more our flesh will start tempting us to listen to wrong voices and lean into negative emotions until eventually the pain will unleash in an unhealthy way. So, God is very much on top of our pain; He's aware of it and eager to care for us in it.


Cry out to Him with all the pain you have. But bitterness is a different story. That will steal from you. And it creeps in because we’re afraid to face pain and disappointment that God might not immediately fix. We don’t want to push through and see what’s on the other side.

I am positive that if you do not wait well and you allow bitterness to get all over you, you won’t be the same person on the other side of this season. You might not recognize the breakthrough or promise when it comes. You might not even be able to carry it.


As a biblical fiction writer, I’ve spent my life studying the story of Joseph in Genesis, hoping to publish a novel about it (which I did, praise God, last July). As I was writing, one of the things that became clear to me was that Joseph had to have a surrender/breakdown moment in prison, probably during those two agonizing years where he was waiting for the butler who forgot him (Genesis 40:23).


When I add artistic license to my books, I am trying to add what I think agrees with Scripture, human nature, and what God was doing. I become a student of the Bible story, and I ask for God to show me both what He’s teaching us in it and also what He was teaching the biblical character, in this case Joseph.


In the midst of that journey, one of the things God revealed to me that isn’t spelled out in Scripture but has to be true is that there had to be a moment where Joseph shifted his gaze from waiting on God to waiting on the butler, and during that difficult season, there had to have been a breakdown. He had to be broken down with all of his agendas and plans and human hopes and then built back up by God in utter surrender BEFORE his breakthrough came, before he stood before Pharaoh. How do I know this? Because of the way he acted later.


A bitter man would not have come out of prison and been able to say, "it’s not in me to interpret this dream, but God will give you an answer of peace if you’re willing to receive it" (Genesis 41:16). A bitter man would not have been able to glorify God with the anointing he carried, let alone to steward the power he was given afterwards, and then to carry the ministry of redemption and God’s prophetic perspective to his family (the nation of Israel).


What happened to Joseph during his years of exaltation doesn't just automatically happen without surrender and a determination to refuse bitterness in the "prison" years.


And that’s why I’m desperate to wait well and stay away from bitterness as I wait for the promises of God to unfold in my life. It's a process, but I fully believe God will help me through whatever pain or unfairness I face on Earth, and it will all be made right in eternity. Some days that feels like enough, and some days it’s more of a struggle, but I’m willing to learn to sow my tears in hopes of reaping shouts of joy (Psalm 126). That’s my portion, no matter how it looks on Earth.


It matters how you wait. Because the manner in which you wait will determine whether you even appreciate the breakthrough when it comes and if you grew at all in the process. And trust me, we need the growth to be able to steward the breakthrough well. Joseph needed every bit of character development he faced in prison to carry the weight of his calling. I need every bit of what God wants to teach me now in order to be a victorious mother.


If you’ve been called to wait, you need this season. Engage with God in it!


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