How to think about those “not yet” seasons
I don’t normally have a hard time making decisions, at least not when it comes to the big ones. I have all manner of thoughts, ideas and convictions about those things. With me being a firstborn, super independent type, I’m good about knowing the direction I want my life to go in, but many times God has other ideas. I’m totally OK with that. His thoughts and ways are higher, right?
Right now, there is a vast chasm between where I am and where I want to be. This space of waiting can often feel like aimless wandering. I’ve been thinking about the Israelites and their time in the desert. Their journey out of Egypt was supposed to take 11 days—easy enough. But it ended up taking them 40 years. I can’t even imagine. Generations died off and never saw God’s promise fulfilled, but why didn’t they?
As God’s chosen people, they often didn’t remember who they were. God was faithful at every turn to rescue them, forgive them and provide for them, and yet they repeatedly turned their backs on him. They walked in an almost constant state of unbelief, disobedience and complaining. This kept them wandering and aimless in both mind and body.
I am in a season of waiting and transition. I don’t know how long it will last, and I don’t fully know what is waiting on the other side. But I know God is there. God is also here with me in the right now, and he will be with me every step in between.
I don’t want to miss what the Lord is doing in the present because my gaze is fixed on the not yet.
There is a way to wait and wander that will deepen intimacy with and trust in the Father, that brings him glory and encourages our hearts and even speaks hope to those around us.
“So the Lord gave Israel all the land he had sworn to give their fathers, and they took possession of it and settled there. The Lord gave them rest on every side according to all he had sworn to their fathers. None of their enemies were able to stand against them, for the Lord handed over all their enemies to them. None of the good promises the Lord had made to the house of Israel failed. Everything was fulfilled.” —Joshua 21:43–45
I love the wording of this passage of Scripture. It uses words like all and everything. That is one of my favorite parts about God—he only moves in fullness. He never does anything halfway or half-hearted.
There is life and power wrapped up in his Word and promises. They never return void. They only go forth and accomplish what the Lord set out for them to accomplish. I can look back over every area of my life and point out when God provided for me or gave me favor or healed me or changed my heart. He has always been faithful. He is faithful. He will always be faithful. If he did it then, why would he not do it again?
“Be careful that your heart doesn’t become proud and you forget the Lord your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the place of slavery. He led you through the great and terrible wilderness with its poisonous snakes and scorpions, a thirsty land where there was no water. He brought water out of the flint rock for you. He fed you in the wilderness with manna, which your fathers had not known, in order to humble and test you, so that in the end he might cause you to prosper. You may say to yourself, ‘My power and my own ability have gained this wealth for me,’ but remember that the Lord your God gives you the power to gain wealth, in order to confirm his covenant he swore to your fathers, as it is today.” —Deuteronomy 8:14–18
This whole chapter is a call to the Israelites to not forget the Lord. This is a call to us as well when we find ourselves wandering in the wilderness. First, we are to remember that he doesn’t leave us to wander alone. He goes before us, preparing the way. He stands behind us with his hands of protection. And his Spirit dwells within us in power and might.
God literally performed miracle after miracle for his children as signs of his power and presence. He led them with a cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night. Water flowed from a rock. Manna and quail fell from the sky. Every step, without fail. He showed up and provided a marker for them to hold onto, to trust and remember that his nature is always good.
The Lord is constantly pursuing us. Regardless of whether we are in the valley or on the mountaintop, his aim remains the same—us. We were the joy set before Jesus as he endured the cross. He longs for intimacy in fellowship. He longs for us to earnestly seek him in every season.
May patience overwhelm our souls. May our words in waiting seasons decree and declare his love for us and the hope he has for our futures. May they speak life and encouragement to our souls and to those around us in their own wandering.
There will always come seasons of waiting and wandering. May we learn to wander well. May we remember his past faithfulness, hold on to his markers along the way, and yield to the Lord bearing much fruit in a dry season.
If you are in a season of wandering and waiting, what fruit are you believing will come out of it?