Waiting, trusting, and hoping are intricately connected, like golden strands interwoven to form a strong chain. Trusting is the central strand, because it is the response from My children that I desire the most. Waiting and hoping embellish the central strand and strengthen the chain that connects you to Me. Waiting for Me to work, with your eyes on Me, is evidence that you really do trust Me. If you mouth the words “I trust You” while anxiously trying to make things go your way, your words ring hollow. Hoping is future-directed, connecting you to your inheritance in heaven. However, the benefits of hope fall fully on you in the present.
Because you are Mine, you don’t just pass time in your waiting. You can wait expectantly, in hopeful trust. Keep your “antennae” out to pick up even the faintest glimmer of My Presence.
The preceding passage is from a book called Jesus Calling. One of the team members received these words in one of their notes from a prayer partner on Friday of last week. Friday was the last day that the approval could come from the Transnistrian customs department and still leave time for the team to assemble the beds before leaving Moldova. And so, we were waiting. As it turns out, we were waiting for a call that never came. Now the team is gone, the beds are still locked up and unassembled, and I’m here in Moldova for a few more days alone. I certainly never imagined this scenario in all the planning that I, our Moldovan staff Lucia, and Pastor Sergei did for this trip, so the events of this past week have certainly given me to spend some time thinking about waiting.
I think my favorite part of the text from the book is the last paragraph. We were waiting, but we weren’t just passing the time. Sure, there were a few “So, what do we do now?” moments along the way, but because our plans were altered by forces outside our control, we were forced to find new and unanticipated ways to connect with and minister to the people around us. We weren’t doing all of the things we expected to be doing and we weren’t seeing God work in all of the ways we expected to see him work this week. We did have to keep our “antennae” out to pick up the glimmers of his presence as we visited a paralyzed shut-in, bought groceries for a church member with cancer and bought shoes and clothes for children whose homes are so filled with drunkenness and violence that they spend as little time as possible in them, even if it means living on the street.
And though our time with the children at the orphanage was also impacted by the fact that we weren’t building beds, God’s presence was definitely evident in the time we spent with them. The fact that we weren’t building the beds we intended to build didn’t change the fact that we were in the midst of 154 of God’s children; children he knows by name and desires to have a relationship with. He stands with arms open waiting to pour out his abundant love, peace, joy, hope and mercy on them. All they have to do is take that first step toward him.
We always have two purposes on these trips. One is to build beds of course, but the other is to tell the children how much God loves them and how he is just waiting for them to take that step. So with the beds taken away from us, our trip was left with only one purpose. I am convinced that our team succeeded in sharing that message, and I’m certain that at least some of their lives will be different now because of it. We can’t be certain how many we reached this week, but even if it’s just one, then it’s time well spent.
Hebrews 11:1 says, “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” I don’t know why things worked out the way they did this week. I’m hopeful that through these things the children and the orphanage staff have seen something in us that they can only attribute to God’s spirit living in us and desire to have him in their own lives. I hope that through this week we have built a strong relationship with the church in Dubsari and helped to further strengthen an already existing relationship between the church and the orphanage. I hope that I’ll be able to go back to Transnistra before I leave on Wednesday and help build the beds with members of the church, and I’m certain that even if I don’t get to, the beds will get built and the children’s lives will be better for it.
So, we wait. We wait for papers to be stamped, for men to do the things that make them feel important in this world, and we wait for the lock to come off the door. But we don’t wait without hope. We wait expectantly in hopeful trust that while our plans may not have been fulfilled as we expected them to be, his plans are perfect and he will take this situation and use it for his glory.