The Waiting Place

My husband read my son’s fortune from his fortune cookie this past Sunday. While we don’t believe in all that, the fortune was quite fitting….”Your steps are always the hardest right before the summit.” It stood out to me because it was along the same lines of this blog that I had been writing just a couple days before.
Why is it that our steps are always the hardest right before the summit? Sometimes we are just so exhausted that we think we can’t take another step. Sometimes we question our choices…did we take a wrong turn or are we heading in the right direction?  And sometimes we just would rather give up and stay where we are and forget the whole summit all together.
Have you ever been in a place like this?
I am currently reading a great book called Waiting on God by Cherie Hill. Originally, she only intended to release this book on Kindle, but fortunately for me, a non-Kindle person, she released limited print copies. It is the perfect book for what I am experiencing in my life right now. I love all of the book, but the best line in it for me is “And it’s the ‘waiting place’ that tests our faith and strengthens us so that we have a testimony that says, ‘My God is faithful’”
The “waiting place” - our steps right before the summit. It can be excruciating at times, frustrating at times, but it can also be a place of great joy when we let it all go and rely fully on the unlimited power of God.
When I think about the “waiting place” in Biblical history, I immediately think of the Red Sea. I can almost hear the screams of men, women and children as they realize the Egyptians have decided to pursue them. They can hear the thunderous hooves on the ground. I can hear the moans. I can hear the, “My God why have you done this to me, to us?” As the Israelites stand at the Red Sea with the army furiously approaching, they are in the “waiting place.” They are waiting on something to happen. They have no idea what that “something” is, but they know that their obedience to God led them to this place. Their only choice is to trust that if God led them there, He will get them out. I am sure the event unfolded in slow motion for the Israelites. Do you think their faith was tested? They had nowhere to run. And yet, God showed up in a mighty way. He said in Exodus 14:4, “And once again I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and he will chase after you. I have planned this in order to display My Glory through Pharaoh and his whole army. After this the Egyptians will know that I am the Lord!” God had ordered these events for Him, not for the Israelites. Remember that.
I also think about Jesus’ return to Lazarus’ hometown after Lazarus had been dead for four days. Mary and Martha, Lazarus’ sisters, were upset with Jesus for not coming earlier. They knew Jesus was the Messiah and that He had the power to save Lazarus from dying. They had faith like many of us. But when Jesus didn’t arrive on their schedule, they began to doubt. They began to be frustrated. They began to get upset with Jesus. And, like many of us, they weren’t going to let Jesus get away with not doing what they wanted. In John 11:32, Mary ran to meet Jesus once He finally arrived and when she saw Him, “she fell at His feet and said, ‘Lord, if only you had been here, my brother would not have died.’” Mary, Martha and all of the others who knew Lazarus failed the ‘waiting place’ test during the prior week or so while Lazarus was sick and then died. They still had faith that Jesus was who He said He was, but they lost faith that He could still do something now that Lazarus was already dead. Jesus, slightly frustrated, ordered them to take Him where Lazarus was buried. The crowd had a second chance at the ‘waiting place’ when Jesus went into the tomb. The Bible doesn’t say how long He was in there, but I am sure many held their breath while He was in there. They had no idea of the great miracle that was about to take place, but you know who did? If you answered God, you are correct. He ordered the steps of everyone involved so that He, again, would get all the glory and this miraculous story would be passed on for generations.
Does God have you in a “waiting place?”
That’s exactly where He has me right now. I am standing at the Red Sea. I am standing outside of Lazarus’ tomb. I am eagerly holding my breath with the faith that I know God has led me here and that He will show up in some miraculous way. I don’t know what that is going to look like, but I know He knows and has known all along. The tragedy has happened. The testing has been done. The sanctification process has taken place. And now, I stand firm in complete obedience in my “waiting place” fully knowing that my testimony will always include, “My God is faithful.”

Erin Olson

Founder and CEO of Sandalfeet Ministries

1 Comment

Joni - January 15th, 2013 at 8:03pm

Praising God for his faithfulness and how he works through you!