Written By Joy-Ann Wood, Barbados
Waiting on God is not easy. It’s not like waiting in line at the bank or a department store where you can see the length of the line and the end goal—the teller or the cashier. Even though you have to wait, you trust that your turn will come because you can see the end in sight.
Instead, waiting on God can sometimes feel like waiting in a traffic jam. When you’re stuck in traffic, you are only able to inch up minute by minute. You can’t see what’s ahead, or when the jam will end. It can cause impatience and frustration.
I personally experienced this when I struggled with unemployment for over six months last year. I had been working in a contractual capacity in PR/Marketing jobs, and had run out of contract work.
As time went on, I became more frustrated by my circumstances and started to lose sight of the One who is the author of my whole story—even this confusing chapter. However, during this time, I found assurance and hope in a story from Luke 8, where Jesus’ disciples were caught in a storm and had lost sight of who Jesus is.
In Luke’s account of this story, Jesus was asleep in a boat with His disciples when a big storm came (Luke 8:22-23). As the disciples saw the threatening waves sweeping over the boat, they became fearful. They went to Jesus as He was sleeping and said, “Master, Master, we’re going to drown!” (Luke 8:24). They were bewildered by their circumstances and I could relate to how they felt.
You see, as my unemployment dragged on, I found that I had no money to deposit in the bank, because I was earning none to invest. I cried over this for many days and wondered if God truly saw my situation. Some weeks, I didn’t even want to get out of bed because I was sad, frustrated, and dispirited. I kept crying out to God, “If you supply all our needs, why aren’t you supplying mine at this time by providing a job? Lord, don’t You see I need work?”
What made my circumstances especially difficult was that the new government in my country of Barbados had started a retrenchment program during the time I was unemployed. The country had entered into a time of economic crisis, which resulted in many people getting laid off from their jobs, and further diminished my hope of finding work.
Like the disciples, I started to fear the outcome of my daunting circumstance. Since I couldn’t see God working, I felt like He didn’t really care about my situation or that He had forgotten me.
In my despondency, I began to doubt that God would deliver me from what felt like a hopeless storm. But then I considered Jesus’ response to the disciples’ fear and doubt. He asked, “Where is your faith?” (Luke 8:25).
I asked myself the same question, and came to realize that my faith was lacking because I had been looking at the storm instead of the storm-stiller. By focusing on the storm and what was happening (or not happening) to me, I forgot to consider the work that God was doing behind the scenes. I lost sight of the fact that He works out all things according to His good purpose (Romans 8:28). This realization moved me to designate days of prayer and fasting to try to focus my sights on God.
As I sought Him, the Holy Spirit encouraged me to keep declaring that God is my provider. The more I meditated on Scripture, the Holy Spirit brought specific verses of encouragement to my mind, such as Matthew 6:25-27, Philippians 4:6, and Psalm 37:25.
These verses helped shift my perspective, and opened my eyes to see that though I lacked tangible finances, the Lord was still providing for me through my family, encouragement from close friends, and also by giving me a safe place to live. As I re-evaluated my situation, I repented of my anxiety and lack of faith and prayed for a renewed mind to view my situation in a more positive manner. I also decided to write these verses out on index cards to take with me and pray over myself throughout my day. This helped me keep my focus on Jesus and His promise of providing for His children.
Eventually, God provided for me in His right time. I received an offer from one of the offices that I had called to enquire about available positions. After much prayer, I gladly accepted the offer.
In retrospect, I believe that when our lives are not going the way we expect, it’s easy for anxiety, fear, and doubts to enter into our minds and hearts. But, instead of giving in to these temptations, we need to remember that God is always working out His purpose in our lives. Through this experience, God taught me how to have a patient heart that is willing to wait on Him even during difficult, frustrating times (Psalm 27:14) that I may not be able to understand.
What stood out to me from the story in Luke was that even though Jesus questioned the faith of His disciples, He still calmed the storm (Luke 8:24). Just as the disciples were amazed at how Jesus responded in spite of their lack of faith, I, too, am amazed at God’s power and provision for this time in my life. This experience helps me remember to walk by faith in God and not by sight. God knows our needs, and we can always trust Him with every aspect of our lives.