By the time I turned 18, I had my 5-year plan figured out. Graduate high school. Enroll at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Marry David. Graduate Magna Cum Laude with a B.S. in Occupational Therapy. Get a job. Buy a house. Have a baby. Bam! Five years mapped out from beginning to end.
I be-bopped along that pathway with a few little bumps here and there. Statistics almost marred my 4.0. Changes in Medicare laws almost ruined my chances of getting a job right out of college. The search for the perfect first house led to a longer commute than we wanted.
When it came time to have a baby, a big hiccup delayed that plan. I started on medication that plagued me with debilitating side-effects and left my body inhospitable for a precious little one. I fought for my life, all the while wishing that I could celebrate a new baby in that 5th year.
God was gracious to offer complete physical healing in half the expected time. I then had to wait a year for the effects of the medication to run its course before I could even try to have a baby. Once the trying began, I faced disappointment month after month.
Compared to the struggle many women experience, the wait for my little one was short. As a matter of fact, I discovered I was pregnant the very morning I planned to swallow my first fertility pill. In the middle of that wait, I often cried out to God, wondering why I couldn’t live the plan I thought He had for me.
Up until that point, I had lived the plan He had for me. Each stop along the way, His hand of providence was clear. Did He forget me all of a sudden? Could I assume He didn’t care now that my expectations were cyclically dashed each month?
I spent a week at the beach. Early morning walks with the sun on my face. Quiet moments in the Psalms. The laughter of friends filled the halls. My hand held firm in my husband’s strength. After this week of intense prayer, healing, and sacrifice, the stick showed two lines. With the purpose of the delay complete, the waiting now had only 9-months left.
In the middle of my delay, God did something in me. He took me by the hand and walked me through healing of places I didn’t even know were broken. Together, we filled in cracks that threatened to crumble the foundation of my faith. I wrestled until my hands were left fatigued but open, releasing the expectations I had for my own life.
The Holy Delay
There is rest in the perfection of God’s timing. Expectations often go unmet. But the plan that God has for us is so much better than the expectations we have for ourselves. In those moments of waiting, God is working all things for our good.
As Mary said, bowed low before the angel, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word” (Luke 1:38). Surrender is hard but necessary.
Every one of us waits for something. Some for love. Some for acceptance. Some for financial freedom. Some for healing. Some just long for this hard stage of life to move on to the next. The challenge is to find the holy in the waiting.
Find God in those small places. He is tucked in the soft pat on your back your child gives you. He is in the warm wind as you stand on your porch willing yourself to step back in the house to face life again. He is in the text from a friend that reminds you that you are noticed. He is in scripture, sacrament, and silence.
In the delay, He calls us to holiness.
He asks for our heart–all of it.
He offers healing for the brokenness.
He prays for us when we don’t know what to pray for ourselves.
We find the holy delay when we finally let go of our expectations and let it be according to His word.
Are you in a delay with unmet expectations sitting like rocks in your soul? Find those moments and hear His whisper in the holy delay.
“There were moments I knew he was there–the water’s edge, how the whip-poor-will called us home, how my mamaw loved me.” Amber C. Haines, Wild in the Hollow
Product links are affiliate links.