3 Things to Watch Out For in a Season of Waiting

The older I get, the more convinced I become that life is about seasons. It’s not that you can define a “season” strictly by days or years either, as if there is a “season” of being in your 20’s or 30’s. It’s more ambiguous than that.

For example, there was a newly married season. That was a lean season financially, and yet it was super happy as well. That was the kind of season in which we were coming to understand not only what it meant to live with and love another person, but also how to operate as real, actual adults in the world.

There was a season when we had small children. And during that season, life seemed to have a busy but very joyful and exciting pace to it. The kids were constantly discovering new things and trying out new activities, and with each new thing we as parents had a correspondingly new experience.

So where are we now? I guess it’s sort of, kind of, a middle aged season. Maybe. “Middle” feels like the right word because there’s not many things that are brand new, and yet we aren’t the wisened sages that we are going to become (maybe). As we relate to other people in a similar season, it also feels like there is a restlessness in these times. Not some kind of mid-life crisis, but just a sense that there is something “else.” It’s sitting on the edge of having kids move out, of putting in a couple of decades at work, and just generally wondering if there is something else out there. Strangely, I think many of us in this season have a sense of “waiting” about it – of feeling like there is something else for the family, for the career, for the service, but not knowing exactly what that is. But with this sense of waiting comes some specific dangers that might not be as acute in other seasons of life. What are those dangers? What are the things to watch out for in a season of waiting? Here are three:

1. Jealousy.

Not everyone is “between” things. Good things are happening to those around us all the time. And if you find yourself in a season of waiting, it’s very easy to become jealous of those who seems to be moving forward into something new and different. When we become jealous, we have forgotten just who it is that changes times and seasons, and just who it is that has placed us in the season we are in:

“Praise be to the name of God for ever and ever;
    wisdom and power are his.
He changes times and seasons;
    he deposes kings and raises up others.
He gives wisdom to the wise
    and knowledge to the discerning.
He reveals deep and hidden things;
    he knows what lies in darkness,
    and light dwells with him.(Daniel 2:20-22).

2. Entitlement.

A cousin of jealousy, a second thing to watch out for during a season of waiting is the sense of entitlement. It’s not only being jealous of something happening to someone else; it’s feeling like that “thing” should rightly be happening to you. You have worked hard. You have made good choices. You have earned this, or at least you have to a greater degree than someone else. You look around at your circumstances, and the quiet but insisting thought nags at you: I’m better than this.

We would do well, then, when we start to hear that voice to replace it with another one:

Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,
    for his compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;
    great is your faithfulness.
I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion;
    therefore I will wait for him” (Lam. 3:22-24).

3. Self-promotion.

As a season of waiting continues on, we start to feel the tug on ourselves to make something happen. To manufacture opportunities. To take matters into our own hands. And yet time and time again, we see in the Bible the ruin of those who take that approach – of those who, due to lack of faith, insist on self-promotion. 

The truth is we have someone better to promote us. We have someone better to advocate for us. We have someone better who is on our side. We don’t need us, because we have One better than us:

What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? (Rom. 8:31-32).

If you’re there today, friends, in that season of waiting, and if you’ve been there for a while, take note of these things. Watch for them. Identify them. And then root them out of your soul and replace them with the steadfast trust in the Lord that helps us to continue to wait.

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