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Don’t Waste Your Waiting

Written By Jalen Galvez, Philippines

In 2016, my mom was diagnosed with stage four breast cancer.

When I heard the news, I couldn’t help but ask God why. There were many questions in my mind, and I couldn’t stop thinking about them. It was hard for me to face the situation that my family and I were going through, because it was something that we didn’t expect. Of course, my faith was shaken too. Why did it have to be my mom?

Waiting is hard, especially when we don’t know what the outcome of our prayers would be. I struggled a lot during that time, because I desperately wanted an assurance from God Himself that there was a reason and purpose for all this. I doubted Him, because I didn’t know when and how God would answer my prayers. That’s the hardest part of waiting. But as I continually sought God through prayer and His Word, He helped me realize that He was working as we waited.

Days after we found out about my mother’s condition, I was doing my personal devotion at the school library as usual. I prayed that God would reveal Himself to me through His Word, and proceeded to read my Bible. That day I happened to be reading Luke 8:40-56, where Jesus heals Jairus’ daughter. In Luke 8:50, Jesus comforts Jairus, “Don’t be afraid; just believe, and she will be healed.”

Upon reading this, I was instantly comforted. I truly felt that perhaps God would heal my mother! More importantly, I was reassured that God would work through this situation and comfort us as we keep out gaze fully focused on Him—and we needn’t be afraid of our circumstances or what might happen in the future.

 

There Is A Purpose to Our Waiting

I’ve learned that in every season of waiting, God has a purpose. Romans 5:3-5 reminds us:

Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.

Our trials require us to live and depend on the grace that God provides. Through this experience, I’ve learned that every waking hour is God’s grace to us. As I opened my heart to His Word and grew in my love for the Lord, I was assured that no matter what happens, I can hold firm to the knowledge that God works all things together for good (Romans 8:28).

While we wait for Him to work in our lives, it is an opportunity for us to grow our patience, stretch our hearts, and surrender our lives to God. I first surrendered my life to God in 2012, when I became a Christian and was baptized. During this difficult time, I’ve had to remind myself again and again, “Hey, you’ve surrendered your whole life to Jesus, so He’s got this one covered.” I had to consciously remind myself, whatever happened, I could still put my faith in God.

Waiting is not wasting. While we pray for our desires to be answered, let us keep our eyes open to the greatness of the Lord. God’s time table might be different from ours. His plans do not need our approval. Even if we don’t know how our prayers might be answered, let us be assured that God is working behind the scenes.

Even when we feel like we are drowning in an ocean of fears, worries, and sadness, let us be reminded that God knows what He is doing with our lives. Sometimes it is only when we go through deep waters that we can look up to the One who can save us from drowning—Jesus. All that He requires of us to wait on Him with child-like faith, trusting that He is a Father who cares deeply about our lives.

My mom is currently undergoing oral chemotherapy. This is an answer to prayer, since our family hoped that she could avoid intravenous chemotherapy. This is her last session of oral chemotherapy. While she hasn’t been declared cancer-free yet, we sincerely hope that she will be fully healed! But regardless of what happens, we trust that God is in control and will be with us every step of the way.

Your grace is the only thing
That keeps me through
And patiently,
I will wait for You.

Why Must I Wait?

We live in a society of instantaneous information, fast-food, and the automated everything. There is little choice but to become tech-savvy, productive, as well as highly efficient. The downside for a generation like ours is that even a five-minute wait may be unbearable.

So we find things to do while we wait. Waiting for a bus? Queuing for lunch? Time to check your email and refresh that Facebook feed. The problem comes when there’s nothing to distract ourselves while we wait. This makes waiting an absolute pain.

Yet, aren’t we always waiting for something? Like the single waiting for a God-fearing spouse. The anxious student waiting for her university entrance results. The young man in National Service waiting for his release date so he can go back to civilian life and grow his hair out again. Married couples waiting for their first child.

It has been 16 years now since I first heard God’s call to serve Him in the mission field. This call has been affirmed by church leaders, prophesied by youth camp speakers and reinforced during my own quiet time with the Lord. Yet here I am, stay-home mum to a toddler in my home country, married to a would-be pastor who will have to fulfil a four-year bond upon graduation from the seminary.

To be honest, the wait is frustrating. Even though I know none of us in the family is ready for the field, I still can’t wait to be sent. Every year, our church has “Missions Month” and the speaker invariably calls for a response on the last Sunday of the month. As a youth, I used to run down to the altar with my hands raised. In recent years, I have walked to the front in quiet obedience, all the time asking, “When Lord, when?”

This year went very differently. I decided not to step forward, after reflecting on a couple of lessons God was teaching me about waiting:

 

1. Waiting is for every Christian

As difficult as waiting may be, all of us are called to wait.

We are all passing through our earthly lives as pilgrims, waiting to be taken home to that eternal resting place Jesus promised to bring us to. But this time of waiting is not to be an idle one. Instead, Jesus commands us to make disciples and accompany the Holy Spirit in doing the Father’s work.

A single missionary I lived with for a season while serving in Thailand recently celebrated her 60th birthday in Singapore. Whenever she’s asked why she isn’t married, she simply replies that God might still be preparing her to be the best bride—and if not in this lifetime, then for an eternity with her Lord in Heaven.

But instead of sitting around, she’s someone who exemplifies the saying “never waste a single moment”. She wakes up at five every morning to pray and prepare breakfast before going on her rounds to visit the villagers. She goes about the Lord’s business faithfully—discipling, praying and serving those around her.

While waiting for the fulfilment of our human desires, why not eagerly pursue the things upon our Heavenly Father’s heart? For most of us who have been believers for some time, it could mean investing time to conduct Bible study, counsel young believers or even mentor the youth in our church.

 

2. Waiting is commendable

Waiting at the feet of the Lord gives Him pleasure—which is what Mary did while Martha busied herself in the kitchen. Jesus said that Mary had chosen what is good and that would not be taken from her. This I believe, refers to the words of the Lord Jesus, God Himself.

We all wait upon the Lord differently. While some prefer to scribble in their leather-bound journals, others plug-in and listen to Bible passages on the go. Whether you are the type to pray in a quiet room or while you prepare dinner for your family, what matters most is waiting on the Lord. His words have life, and in receiving them, we will experience much joy.

In observing godly sisters waiting for a child, I’m put to shame by their display of faith in God. Rather than choosing to get angry or blame Him, they instead fully depend on Him to give them strength as they wait. I see how God rewards their time spent with Him and how He personally ministers to them in their tears, giving them immeasurable joy from His word.

 

3. God Waits Too

God Himself is waiting for us to come to repentance. 2 Peter 3:9 tells us that “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”

So this month, instead of asking God “when”, I learned to ask Him “why” instead—Why am I still here? That’s when I realized that the Lord a role for me now, right where I am. There’s still my extended family I have yet to reach out to. The youth in my home church and my ministry to fellow young mothers. The foreigners in seminary I ought to welcome into my home. And so many more.

 

For those of us waiting for whatever it might be, may I encourage you with this: don’t wait, because God has work cut out for you right now.

Singles, Stop Waiting!

Written By Rebekah Lamorena, New Zealand

Being single is great. Singleness isn’t a consolation prize, a minor league or a pre-season game. I could go on and on about the benefits of being a single pringle . . . but I won’t. Because let’s be real here, sometimes, it also sucks.

Comments like, “The perfect one will come along, just keep waiting!” and oft-repeated conversations starting with “So, who do you like?” make me feel as though singleness is something I need to (and should) escape from, as soon as possible.

A few years back, I thought it would be a good idea to make a mental list of all the characteristics “the one” worth waiting for would and should possess. I had it all planned out. Among many other things, my future husband should be cultured, ambitious, adventurous, super talented, reflective, sensitive, corny, and passionate about making an impact for Jesus (think Mother Teresa—male version). He should also be tall, dark and incredibly handsome. Yeah. All of these things. And more.

Looking back, I probably spent too much time thinking about what the right person for me would and should be like, and not enough time being the right kind of person myself.

Also, I realized a few things over time.

My hope is in God, not in my relationship status—or anything else, for that matter. God has exciting things for me to see and be and do right now, and frankly, waiting for someone to come along isn’t one of them.

Your future and your faith aren’t tied to your relationship status. Regardless of your Facebook relationship status today, you’re here to run a race—a race in which God is at the finish line, and not some guy (or girl). You don’t have to cave in to societal pressures that say you are “less”, just because you don’t have a man. God can work in and through you, exactly where you are with what you have right now.

Sure, I will always have my standards—they just look a little different now. I realized that my previous list was more about me and what I want, and less about how I can glorify God. So, I put all that aside, and decided to make a list of all the things that I can try my best to do and be today:

  • Love God passionately.
  • Love my family and friends passionately.
  • Practise humility.
  • Be encouraging.
  • Be independent.
  • Be generous.
  • Be a wise steward.

And so on.

Do I want to be in an awesome relationship one day? Of course! I’m a human being. But can I live and flourish without one today? Of course! I’m a human being. While we are indeed relational by nature, we were designed by God to be fully-functional individuals. God longs for us to carry out His purpose in every season, regardless of the presence or absence of a plus one.

I particularly like this sentence I read in an article recently: “Whether you are married or unmarried, God wills to sanctify you, to make you more holy, more Christ-like. And he does it. He is not somehow limiting your sanctification because of your singleness. He does not withhold holiness if—for a time or forever—he withholds a husband (or any of the other things on which you may set your hope).”

So, get out there. Instead of praying for someone who will meet every criterion on your list, pray to be a better version of yourself every day. Get busy. Look for ways to use your current season to make God more famous. Stop waiting for bae to come. Hope for things that have nothing to do with being in a relationship. Pursue your career goals. Shower your family and friends with love. Explore. Give yourself the freedom and grace to start dreaming for yourself again. Be good at being single. Just stop waiting.​​

 

This article was originally published here. This version has been edited by YMI.

A 7 Year Wait for God’s Answer

Photo Contributed by Bryan Ong, Singapore

Written By Mikki B Saq, Philippines

My parents separated when I turned seven. It did not occur to me, however, that a broken family was not the norm; in any case, I never hated my life. My maternal grandmother, who brought me up, was a fervent Christian who taught me to pray before I went to bed.

Every night I would talk to Him, just like a talkative adolescent sharing about her day with a good friend. I prayed for my dad, that God would make him a better person. And I prayed for my parents to fix their marriage so I could bring them both to school on Family Day.

But God was silent. Sometimes, I wasn’t even sure if He was listening.

I missed both my parents. While my father had moved out, my mother had gone abroad to work so that she could earn more and send me to a good school. She would call almost every day, and send me cards and loads of packages with toys and other things to compensate for her absence. Occasionally, she would come home. My grandmother would explain why my mother had to go away, but I didn’t understand it fully. I just longed to see Mommy every day, to hug and kiss her after a tiring day at school. Sometimes, I would wonder why life was so unfair to me, though I would continue to pray every night.

But God was silent. He did not send angels to speak to me, just like He did with Mary and Joseph. He never showed up in my dreams, nor give me any sign. He was so quiet that I felt all alone.

Once, my grandmother accompanied me to school to collect our report cards. As I was walking with great anticipation to get mine from the teacher, a classmate coming towards us caught my attention. She was between her parents and they were all holding hands. Her face shone with happiness as she held her card and looked up at her dad. A wave of sorrow passed right through me; I had never felt sadder in my entire life.

My grandmother noticed that I had stopped in my tracks. She must have known how I felt at that moment, because she squeezed my shoulders and rubbed my back. Then we continued walking.

Although my grandmother was very traditional and strict with discipline, she was very loving, and always made sure that I was doing all right. Her role as both a mom and a dad would sometimes make me forget that my parents were separated. She would tell me to study well to ensure that I could have a good future, and would remind me that I could choose how to live my life. If I didn’t have life’s heartaches, she would say, I would never be able to see life’s greatest joys.

One day, as we were nearing graduation from primary school, my teacher called me to her office. She told me that I had a visitor waiting for me at the reception area near the principal’s office, so off I went.

It was my dad.

His eyes were tearing, and I could feel him longing to hug me. I walked towards him slowly, my heart pounding; I didn’t even know what to feel. When I reached him, he ran his hands through my hair and looked at me with great love as he wiped his tears away. After seven years, we were finally reunited.

At that point, I knew God had answered my prayers. He wasn’t silent after all.

Sometimes, we may feel impatient when we feel that God is not answering our prayers. We may feel disappointed and think that He is not listening. But He is.

I now realize that my grandmother was God’s instrument; she was the guardian angel that He had given me. Although my circumstances were unfortunate, God made sure I was taken care of and loved, because I was His beloved. His answer to my prayers did not come in the form of stars or angels; it came in the form of my grandmother.

And my prayers every night? God had been working on them since Day One. It took seven years, but if He can be that patient with us, why can’t we?

Dad is now active in church and he visits me occasionally, reminding me to pray. What an awesome God we have.

God will always answer our prayers. He may grant them right away or tell us to wait, or He may have better plans for us. The next time you pray, tell yourself this: I am a beloved child of God, a beloved child of the Father.