I am waiting.

Ever notice that so much of God's Word and His people in it are about waiting.

It took Noah many years to build the ark, then he spent months (over six of them to be exact) floating around in that wooden box. I don't even want to think about their life inside...dark and dingy with the smell of sweat and feces. I can't imagine the food tasted very good, and all that work to take care of the animals: animals that bit, kicked, and spit....or maybe they scratched or squeezed (literally) their way into Noah's heart. And his sons' wives had to love living in such close proximity with their in-laws. "I know she's the daughter we never had, and Shem loves her, but, Noah, their room is a pig sty!" (HA!) There had to be times that Noah thought, and maybe even prayed, "You know, God, you said I did right. You were saving my family because You loved me and found me righteous. And THIS is how I'm rewarded?? There had to be an easier way to destroy the rest of the earth...certainly one less time consuming!"

Jacob spent seven years working for Rachel...seven years! Can you imagine? He worked for his future father-in-law, diligently and consistently. And then...the unbelievable happened. After a night of honeymoon bliss, he reaches to snuggle his favorite girl, only to find the wrong girl in his arms. Rachel's sister, Leah. Are you KIDDING me? ANOTHER seven years later, he finally weds the love of his life. Fourteen years for love that wouldn't die. (And I thought we were doing pretty good being married almost 18 years...but to have waited 14 years before that? Yikes.) Jacob did right...he worked, he waited, and then he married...and THIS is how God answered??

Joseph works his way up the corporate ladder the right way -- without stepping on others on the way up. Once he reaches the top, he is presented with some serious temptation. The boss's wife puts the moves on him. He's a man, only human...he can practically feel the heat physically, and one can only imagine the job perks this would come with. BUT, he doesn't give in...he runs. He runs hard and fast, and gets his tail out of there! How is he repaid? He's thrown in jail...where he sits and waits on God for over two years. He had to wonder at times where God was.

David spent years ducking in and out of caves avoiding a psychopath king who seemed to have nothing better to do with his jealous self than chase God's anointed. Running the country never was at the top of Saul's priorities. Although presented with the opportunity numerous times, David refused to kill King Saul knowing that that was not God's will. All that got him was more time running and waiting until it was his turn. The Psalms are full of questions, pain, and longing through this waiting period. "Come on, God, I'm doing the right thing here...where ARE you? When is it gonna be my turn??"

I could go on and on....Abraham was over 100 when Isaac was born. The Israelites were in dire, desperate circumstances for several generations before God raised up Moses. Joshua and Caleb had to wander the wilderness for 40 years with their whining kinsmen before entering the promised land. And that's just skimming the first two books of the Old Testament!

These stories resonate with me right now...because these people of God did nothing wrong to bring on these agonizing periods of waiting. Don't get me wrong...although deeply loved by God, these men and women -- God's chosen -- were not perfect. In fact, if you keep reading their stories, most of them fell from God's will. They fell far, and they fell hard. But that's not what brought on those times of waiting, listening, and building character--often under less-than-pleasant circumstances. No, in fact it seems like when God's people did right, it brought on trials and periods of needed patience just as much, if not more so, than when they did wrong.

Two years ago, out of more than 20 applicants and a dozen interviewees, I was hired for a job I liked and did well. Each day brought improvement and compliments from coworkers and supervisors. I worked hard and enjoyed going to work. I thanked God almost daily for that job, and I tried to give Him all the credit. Twenty-plus applicants and twelve or more interviewees, and I was chosen? Had to be a God thing!

Five weeks later, I was fired. Reasons given were either not true, not fair, or just plain lame. That day and the weeks following marked a painful period in my life that is still hard to think back on.

Where are you, God?

Two years later, I'm still wondering.

As you may have read in my previous post, I am a substitute teacher, and I enjoy my work. But it's not enough...it's not consistent, and we're still barely making ends meet. I am constantly looking for extra work to fill the gaps...summer work, reffing, etc. I have sent out many MANY resumes for permanent work, hundreds probably, and I've had only a handful of calls, and you could count on one hand the interviews I've had. Perhaps God wanted to call me back into teaching or something similar. I'm good at it, and I like it...God gave me that gift. Okay, I can handle that. But why am I still in limbo two years later. Why did He get me through the screening of so many applications and interviews into what seemed to be the perfect job only to yank it all away and throw me into....nothing? For two years? (So far.) How much longer will I be waiting?

I don't want you to think that I am comparing myself (my character) to the men (and women) of the Bible I mentioned above. We get to read their entire stories, and it is clear how God was at work during those waiting periods...shaping, molding, refining them into men of God. I'd like to be able to say I see God so clearly at work in my own life right now, but I still make bad choices. I still struggle. My faith seems weak, and my complaining seems to outweigh my praise.

Perhaps "Where are you, God?" is the wrong question. I know He's right here with me, at work in the situation, and when I yield to that, I find contentment. The right question, I think, is, "What is Your plan in this, Lord??" (Cause, I gotta tell ya, I'm not seein' it right now!)

It took me a while to finally step up and realize that I needed to find a full time job and do my part for our family. Shortly following this light-bulb moment, everything fell into place only to immediately fall apart. And I'm trying to let God put it back together, but it feels like He's just looking over the mess and not doing much.

I love the movie, "Evan Almighty." It's so much fun, but also poignant in places. I like it when Morgan Freeman says to Evan's wife, "When we pray for patience, does God give us patience, or does He give us opportunities to practice patience. When we pray for our family to be closer, does God make us closer, or does He give us opportunities to draw closer to each other?" Opportunity. Hmmm. Is that what God is doing?

It's especially hard when you see the "perfect" job slip through your hands...again and again...and again. A job fits my skills and abilities along with my family's schedule (a tough match to find sometimes). An interview goes well (or I think it goes well) only to have no follow-up phone call. (What is it with that?? If you take the time to come in for an interview, shouldn't it be common courtesy to call either way?) So many resumes don't even get acknowledged. It feels like trying to catch fog...very real but impossible to hold.

So here I am...waiting. Watching. Hoping. Trying not to let it get to me. Trying to send in just one more resume. Trying to be proactive yet content at the same time. A hard place to be. A hard place to be, indeed.