I Will Wait for You
One beautiful spring day I was sitting on my prayer log over the little stream that flows through our neighborhood when God sang a song into my spirit.
If it takes forever, I will wait for you,
For a thousand summers, I will wait for you.
Till youíre back beside me,
Till Iím holding you,
Till I hear you sigh here in my arms.
Now the fact that I was spending a springtime afternoon in Jesusí company should tell you that our relationship was very precious to me at that time. I had been learning about His rest. I had been finding out what a lot of fun He was to be with. The idea of waiting implied a suspension of this kind of intimacy. I didnít like that idea very much, but I trusted Him. To be truthful, I couldnít imagine what waiting could look like. So I sang the song back to Him, thinking that was what He was asking me to do.
Sure enough, that spring was followed by what I call my "silent summer." I felt like my friend did when her husband was in the Navy and out to sea for months at a time. I was lonely for Jesus. I thought maybe I was doing something wrong. I tried everything that had "worked" before to recapture the sense of His presence. I sank further and further into despair of ever having that sweet communion with Him again. Outwardly I was living, but inwardly I was dying. I felt dry and listless. I was becoming desperate but without the energy to be desperate. Where had He gone?
On September 21 I knelt before my Lord and said to Him:
I come before You, O Most High God, and declare that I give over to You my fretting and striving to be taken as far from me as the east is from the west.
Furthermore, I relinquish my self-conceived notions of need and will let You decide what I need and when I need it. This I mean to extend to all things--including the awareness of Your Presence, which is Yours to give and mine to enter only as You open to me. I turn from my folly of demanding Your Presence and running here and there trying to find explanations for myself. I, instead, will now rest and trust that You know what You are doing.
You gave me this song: "If it takes forever I will wait for You, for a thousand summers, I will wait for You." I prayed it sincerely, but when You took me at my word, I reneged. I am sorry. I thank You for faithfully sticking by me as I have fought learning this lesson of surrendering even Your most blessed of gifts. I am not Your commander, You are mine. I kicked against this decision of Yours and You, in Your mercy and grace, let me suffer the consequences.
I wrote this prayer very late at night. The next day when I re-read it, I realized that this was what Jesus had been waiting for me to do. He had been the one singing the song. He had been the one waiting for me, not the other way around.* Not only that, the day I had written of my surrender was the last day of summer. He had been willing to wait for me through a thousand summers. It had seemed like a thousand summers. Maybe it seemed that way to Him, too.
That season of struggle took its toll on me. You could say my soul walked with a limp after that summer. It took some time before I could really see the sunshine again, or smell the flowers, or hear the birds singing. Still, it was a necessary season in my spiritual life. Among other things God used it to break my compulsion to striveóeven regarding spiritual things; He used it to show me His faithfulness; and I now see the value of wilderness training. So Iím forever grateful for that summer, for the limp and the lessons, and that He waited for me.
*I was so touched when, several years later, I read these words in Judges 6:18b: "The Lord (speaking to Gideon) said, ĎI will wait until you return.í "
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