The display tells me the next train will come in 3 minutes. And it does. Only it doesn’t stop, and so there’s no way for me to get on. There are signs up – due to engineering work, trains won’t be stopping here for another week or so. There’s the promise that things will change soon. I see the progress the workers are making but the barriers are still up. “Next train in 3 minutes” almost feels like a taunt.
Life can be like that, can’t it? We have hopes and dreams, maybe promises even. Yet things never quite seem to work out, to come together. We hope, we trust, we hang on. We wait. Sometimes we see a glimpse of what we’re waiting for but it’s never quite in our grasp. Doubt starts to creep in. Is God really faithful? Is he really for me? What am I doing wrong?
I imagine Elijah must have had similar thoughts.
“So [Elijah] did what the Lord had told him. He went to the Kerith Ravine, east of the Jordan, and stayed there. The ravens brought him bread and meat in the morning and bread and meat in the evening, and he drank from the brook. Some time later the brook dried up because there had been no rain in the land. Then the word of the Lord came to him.” (1 Kings 17:5-8)
Can you imagine? We’d been promised provision, water and food. At the same time, the drought he had predicted was going on. And the brook was drying up. It’s so easy for us to read on, to skip to the next miracle of provision. But Elijah was living his story one verse at a time. Just like us. There was less and less water in the brook. Elijah must have been waiting for God to do something, to intervene. Waiting, but not seeing anything. And then the water dried up completely. We know the next chapter, he didn’t. Not until the brook had dried up. He was living his life one verse at a time.
That’s what makes waiting so hard. We don’t get to look ahead, to see how things will play out. Just like Elijah didn’t.
One step at a time, one verse at a time.
We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised. (Hebrews 6:12)
Faith and patience. Not my strong suit but I’m trying. While living my life one verse at a time.
This is part of the synchroblog on waiting, to celebrate the release of Those Who Wait: Finding God in Disappointment, Doubt and Delay by Tanya Marlow – out now. See more here and link up to the synchroblog here.
I had the privilege of receiving an advance copy of the book and loved it!
It can be so easy at times to forget that those familiar characters in the Bible were real people. People like us, who become frustrated, fearful, even angry, as God seemingly delays intervening in their situation. Tanya Marlow helps us overcome the distance of centuries, culture and familiarity, by taking us right into their story. As we walk through their story with them, we become more aware of our own – the waiting, the longing, but also the disappointment, sadness and resentment. And like He did with Sarah, Isaiah, John and Mary, God meets us in all of it. Very powerful! I have not had a chance yet to use the group study guide but it looks great, and I look forward to going through it soon.