As of this writing, we really thought we would have met our baby boy by now. Though the due date is this week, everything seemed to be pointing to an early delivery. We were timing contractions, calling the family for childcare, getting the plans in order. Just when we thought we were ready to go the hospital, plans changed. A few days like that are enough to drive a person crazy. For weeks now we've had the car ready with the infant car seat and the hospital bags packed with the clothes and snacks (very important) for delivery and recovery. Every day we wonder what the day is going to bring. Sometimes we have to remember the plans we've already had on the calendar. Thinking the baby was coming, I almost forgot about other important responsibilities. Amy had to remind me about things like, "Don't forget you’re coaching soccer and we have Back-to-School night tonight." And I find myself thinking, "Right! We still have other things to do…" Sometimes the waiting game is the hardest. Every day needs a plan and two backup plans so we are ready for the big moment. Sometimes it's nice to have something to do together so we know we'll be out for a couple hours. It's a nice distraction from the ever-growing sense of impatience swirling in our hearts and minds. Something we're learning is that busyness, though effecting in distracting us, doesn't help us be with God. Sometimes we need to slow down and bring our thoughts to God and learn to find patience in him. Otherwise we are left living for the future and forget God is with us in the present. So we keep looking around at the gifts God has given us and engaging with the work God has placed before us. It's been nice to seize a few more opportunities to intentionally spend with our two girls before we add to our number. Amy reminded me recently, it's great to have a plan but we have to hold it loosely. I think if we're able to hold our plans loosely, it helps us patiently wait on God's plans. Then we are able to cherish His presence as we wait, even in the frustrations and false alarms, even in the busyness of our work.
I am reminded this week of what Romans 8:22-25 says: "For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience."
Patience is hard, especially while we wait for something beautiful. I know the Everett household is not the only one dealing with impatience and frustrations these days. For you it might be a job that constantly has setbacks and you feel like you're treading water. Maybe it's another round of uncertainty about school staying open. Maybe it's being hit with an illness that you just can't wait to kick. Maybe it's longing for the day when you have enough help at the business to be able to breathe. I think we tend to imagine what our lives will look like down the road just a little bit and we dream about it being so much better. So we put our heads down and keep busy hoping our activity will help us pass the time until we get there. As most of you know, that sweet time you wait for sometimes never comes the way you want or expect. Maybe God has a word for us for the moment. We're waiting for life with God.
Now that September has come and gone already, our church has been blessed by a lot of work God has placed before us. We've seen a lot of our ministries kick off for the Fall season with big hopes of a long and fruitful ministry through the year. What a gift! We have big hopes of people discovering salvation in Jesus and disciples grown. Many of us are very busy with activity for Jesus right now. But as busy as we are, let's not neglect the important work of learning to sit with God our Father and learn patience in him. Then, we will be more able to cherish the moments where the presence of God is especially evident. Like when a child volunteers to pray in a Sunday School class for the first time. When a kid jumps up in excitement when learning something new about Jesus. When a group takes a moment to celebrate God's creative gift in nature. When someone shares something vulnerable and it's met with the Christlike presence of others. When someone grieving understands that Jesus is with them. When a young mom finds comfort in community. When the senior group shares a collective laugh. These are all moments to celebrate. So we may be waiting for something big coming, but let us take comfort in the Spirit who empowers our hope in Him and helps us be patient with our circumstances. Then, let us cherish the moments God is with us as we work and wait.