Have you ever been so desperate for something that you’ve done just about everything you could think of to make it happen? I’ve been asking God to manifest a few promises for at least 29 years now (literally)!
I honestly can say that I’ve prayed, fasted, and believed that God would do it. I took it to the altar, and returned to my seat saying “I know it’s coming!” 5 years afterward, it hadn’t come. Then one Sunday I stood in church and the preacher said, “Turn to your neighbor and say ‘Neighbor, it’s my time!’” So I did! 5 more years passed, and my time hadn’t come yet. At New Year’s Eve services, they told me to praise God for it, shout on it, believe it, reach up and grab it, envision it, speak to it, call it forward…If they said it, I did it because I wanted – no, I NEEDED – my promise. Still, there was nothing. Later on, I wrote down my request, folded it up and placed it in my bible. Well, I have no clue where that piece of paper is now. So I wrote my prayer request again because apparently I did it wrong the first time. But this time, I put olive oil on it, drank some holy water, put a little something extra in the offering pan, sang a song, kept a prayer cloth, danced my dance, and prophesied to myself about my promise. A few more years passed, and nothing. Then, they said “position yourself to receive it.” Lord knows I tried every position possible, hoping I would get it right this time. Tick-tick-tick-tick was all I got; nothing but an imaginary clock reminding me that it wasn’t quite time yet. I tried bargaining with God, pleading with God, coercing God, and failed in every attempt. Finally, I said to myself “Forget what they told me in church, I’m going out to get it myself!” Yeah, that didn’t work out either. I came back to God and said, “Okay, I’m sorry. I’m Your friend again. We can do this Your way, but I need it by such-and-such date.” I forgot about that little scripture that says something about a day with the Lord is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like one day (see 2 Pet. 3:8); clearly, God’s time and our time are not one in the same! I got mad, and like a kid throwing a hissy-fit, I screamed and said “I don’t even want it! Keep it!” All the while, my heart bled because I really did want it, and my Father really did keep it.
Holding Up A Heavy “Wait”
I found myself completely broken by my perception of broken promises. “What did I do wrong? What’s wrong with me that I can’t have this? Is this some kind of joke?” I couldn’t understand it, and I can think of several intense moments when I almost buckled under the heavy weight of “Wait.” I would be remiss if I didn’t admit that many times I was willing to give up on my promise because believing in it seemed to bring nothing but disappointment and deferred dreams. Honestly I still have moments of asking God why certain things haven’t happened for me. That’s right: I’m STILL waiting. But recently, I’ve had to take a long, hard look at myself in the mirror and confess that I really wasn’t ready for my promises all those times that I thought I was. Truthfully, waiting has caused me to learn some things about myself, my God, and my life. I’ve grown in ways that I don’t think I could have if the promises had come before now. I really don’t think that I would be who I am today if my promises had “birthed prematurely.”
Keeping Hope Alive
The truth is I don’t know when my day will come, and I have finally accepted that I can’t make it come any faster. There really are some things that are beyond our control, and most of the time those things are also beyond our comprehension. Yet I am highly aware that embracing these truths don’t necessarily make waiting feel any better. So, I will say to both your heart and mine: wait on the Lord, and be of courage. Let’s find hope in believing that God will strengthen our hearts. Who knows? Maybe God is strengthening us now just in knowing that we are not alone in the struggle to wait. Let us believe that we will see God’s goodness with our own eyes in this lifetime, and that somehow the purpose of our waiting will one day make sense to us. I have to constantly tell myself that surely my promise is well worth my wait. I try my best to wake up in the morning and believe that I’ll receive the promise even though it didn’t happen for me yesterday. Why? Well, because of the possibility that, in the words of Bishop TD Jakes, “today just might be the day…”