BY RACHEL AXTMANN
It was seven long years. During that time, there were moments of great faith and times of deep discouragement. After seven years of praying and seven years of waiting on God, there were times when I began to wonder, is God listening? Does He even care?
My prayers were centered on my husband and his career. After several years in his field, he longed for more responsibility and hoped to be promoted into the position he had studied for and worked towards achieving. Coupled with our decision for me to stop working to raise our children, it seemed the “perfect” time for God to intervene and bless my husband with his heart’s desires. And so, we began to pray for just that.
Initially, my prayers were filled with hope and expectancy. Mind you, I may have planned out exactly how this could/should all come to pass. You know – time frame, position title, salary – just a few of the small details. As the years went by, however, my plans didn't come to fruition. This all left me feeling disappointed and even angry at times.
During my season of discouragement, there were some very important lessons. Had I not been in this position, I may not have had the opportunity to take in and appreciate all that the Lord was trying to teach me.
First, I became very aware that I wasn’t alone. Several women around me were in their own “waiting room” of sorts. Some were waiting to find the right spouse, others were waiting for their own job opportunity, others were waiting on a much-desired pregnancy, while others were waiting on healing. Even though learning this didn’t change my situation, it helped me see that I wasn’t alone and shouldn’t face my season alone.
Second, while I didn’t understand what God was up to, I clung to this verse in Jeremiah.
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you, not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future. – Jeremiah 29:11
I began to understand that God was at work to bring out the best outcome, but in His timing. Mind you, this doesn’t give us a free pass to sit around and do nothing while we wait for God to just miraculously pour out prosperous blessings in our lives. In fact, the opposite is true. God has plans for your life. But, you need to set out each day determined to use the gifts, talents, and current position He has given you with all your might. God can then steer your life when you are a “moving ship.” It’s impossible to steer a ship that is sitting in the harbor with the engine off. Seeing the truth in this, my husband continued to work hard and take on all he could in his current position.
Third, I learned that we can plot our way in life, making many plans, and even achieve great success in doing so, but I sure don’t want to settle for what I think is best. I desire to align my desires with the will and plan God has for my life. Could there be anything more fulfilling than walking in the destiny of the one who created you?
For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my way, declares the Lord. – Isaiah 55:8
As we began to release our own plans and clung tighter to our faith, God began to change the desires of our hearts. Slowly, the prestigious job title and position began to lose its zeal. God placed new desires in our hearts – ones that I am certain we wouldn’t have been open to had God answered our original prayers. Over time, we were filled with a greater desire to serve Him rather than to serve our own pre-set plans. In His perfect timing, way, and provision, the promotion came. Not to the position we were originally hoping for, but to something far greater – a full-time career in ministry.
God’s answer to your season of waiting may not come when you’d like. It may not even be what you are hoping for, but you can be certain that He is working all things together for your good, when you purpose your life after serving Him. This brings me so much peace and comfort, and yes, even gratitude for the long years of waiting. May you find hope and even joy in a waiting room of your own.