The last couple of years amidst this global pandemic has been a time of reflection, and one of the things I've really started to realize is that we are always in a season of waiting. And beyond that, it's this constant longing that we innately have; longing for the next thing that will take us to that bigger, better, brighter destination.
When I lost my job just before the holidays in 2019, I wasn't prepared for that season of waiting to last even more than a day! But days turned into weeks and weeks turned into months....and months turned into a year. That was undoubtedly one of the hardest periods of my life. Uncertainty was everywhere. But it was during those times that I had to learn (the hard way) to really lean into God. And now that I look back and I'm in a place where I can see things more clearly, I'm not sure it could have panned out any other way. I feel like when God needs our attention, He tends to remove whatever distractions we might have going on so that we can REALLY pay attention to Him and His presence in our lives. During that season of waiting, He taught me some really important lessons.
Obedience is its own reward. Sometimes in our seasons of waiting, it's easy to get discouraged, to give up, and to think that we're just stuck. But we're not. God is always working in the background. That person you met. The unexpected call. The chance encounters. You can relate, right? I remember once, I had scheduled a meeting with someone that was meant to just be a casual call, hoping to get some mentoring advice. Minutes before that call, however, I found out that one of my best friends growing up had died. I was shocked and heartbroken, and I did not want to be on that call. I went back and forth, "Should I reschedule? Should I tell him something came up?" As I sat at my desk trying to decide, I heard God say, "If you show up, I'll show up". That's all I needed to hear and I jumped on the call. Would you be shocked if I told you that call turned out to be more than what I could have even hoped for?! You see, what I had planned versus what God had planned for that call was even better! It turned out that the person on the other side of the call had been meaning to reach out to see if I'd be interested in working for his company. Long story short, I'm currently in my dream job with my dream team. Obedience. It's so easy to make excuses, to not show up, to say "maybe next time", but what I learned in my season of waiting is that if God is working in the background, He expects you to do your part, too! "If you show up, I'll show up."
Surround yourself with His truth. This is an easy one to forget, especially when we're in the middle of our own storms. It's easy to think that God has abandoned us, that He doesn't care, or worst, that we're not worthy to be blessed by Him. But then, I'd attend Mass or listen to a song, and I'd find myself surrounded by His truth.
"If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children,
how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!"
Often times, when we're in the middle of it, it consumes us. We pray, but then we don't let it go. Somehow we believe that if we give it to God, it will get worse. But repeat after me: HE. IS. GOOD. When we surrender to Him and place our cares at the foot of His cross, we can trust that He knows what He's doing. I remember being on a retreat and one of the speakers had likened our lives to a beautiful tapestry. It's easy to see its beauty when you step back and can see the design as a whole. You can see that the artist has planned where every shape and image has gone to create this masterpiece, but when you're up close and focusing on just a small section of the tapestry, it can be a bit of a mess. Just a bunch of colors that really don't make sense. Much like our lives, we tend to focus on that particular section or moment in time, forgetting that it's a just small part of an entire life that God is carefully designing.
When I finally started to understand this, my perspective changed. I started to think about other "messy" sections of my life from the past; how awful certain aspects were, how painful certain moments were. But years removed from those moments, I can step back and see how it actually did make sense in the grand scheme of everything; how each no led to a better yes and how those tough times were needed to really appreciate the good that I was currently experiencing. So, when you find yourself consumed in this particular moment of your life, surround yourself with the truth. Read your Bible, attend Mass, do a daily devotional, listen to worship, seek Him in adoration. Let Him remind you of His goodness and trust that you are His masterpiece; a work in progress that He's not finished with yet.
Faith the size of a mustard seed can make all the difference. When we are waiting for big things to happen or prayers to be answered, we often think we need big faith to bring it to existence or fulfillment. This is where grace meets us in our humanity. Have you ever seen a single mustard seed? This is the good news; that's all God needs from us to do what He needs to do! On those days when I would feel like I could just be swept up and overrun with what life was throwing at me, I would remind myself of this.
"Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain,
‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”
Even when I felt like everything was going wrong, I would find hope and even solace in that, if nothing else, I still had that: faith of a mustard seed. And that thought is what kept me going. It was the reminder I needed that so long as I continued to have faith, things would work out eventually.
"Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen."
That's the gift that God gives us, especially in times of difficulty. More often that not, it's in the soft, feeble, and quiet sort of faith that allows room for Him to do big, bold, and audacious acts.
In our season of waiting, there is one thing for certain. God will meet us there. Go to Him with that mustard seed faith, surrounded by His truth of goodness and faithfulness, and be obedient to what He's asking of you during this time.