Do you like to wait? Are you willing to wait?
For me, I do not mind waiting if I know about it in advance. That way I can be prepared with activities to fill the time, making adjustments accordingly. Like bringing a book to the airport for a flight or to a doctor’s appointment.
It is the unexpected times of waiting, the occasions I am not prepared for, that I struggle with most. During those times I become irritated, anxious, frustrated, and down right self centered.
Unexpected waiting creates gaps in getting to our goals. Sometimes the gaps are small, like waiting in line or in traffic, and they can be measured in minutes or hours. Other times the gaps are measured in days or weeks, such as for project or delivery delays.
Then there are gaps that become seasons lasting months or even years. Unemployment, famine, illness, relational discord, and many other circumstances which bring long spells of waiting.
I hesitate to say it, but I can not deny, that there are insurmountable gaps where no amount of waiting will bring resolution in our mortal lives. Disability, infertility, death of a loved one, these are changes that will last to our final breath.
What can we do when we find ourselves in the gaps of life, unexpectedly waiting?
Discover God’s Grace
Grace is God’s unearned, unmerited favor for us. It is God’s goodness generously poured upon us that we do not deserve.
When things are going well it is easy to get caught up in ourselves, accepting and taking full credit for the good we see and feel. We can assume that we deserve the positive outcomes because we worked hard, planned well, and executed effectively. Wait times are short. Mistakes are minor bumps in the road. Gaps are small.
What happens when life halts because a circumstance or event occurs that brings us to a grand canyon size gap? What if we did not see it coming? What if we have no idea how long the wait will be or if we will ever get to the other side?
What if choices are made that set in motion consequences that we can not run or hide from? What if the life changing phone call comes? What if the job ends, the relationship is severed, the ability is disabled, or what we had in our grasp is lost?
How do we reconcile these gaps? What do we do if we were pouring in effort, planning well, and executing with intense precision, but still we find ourselves facing a gigantic gap?
Many times we ask “why”? Why did this happen?
Sometimes we do not simply ask the question, we dwell on it, giving it center focus of our thoughts, energy, and emotions. We wallow in the stickiness of asking “why” until we are stubbornly stuck to it.
It is God’s grace that can get us out of the gooey grime of asking “why”. There are just so many things beyond the scope of our limited understanding. “Why” is one of them. Grace is another.
“But because of his great love for us, God,
who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ
even when we were dead in transgressions –
it is by grace you have been saved.”
Ephesians 2:4-5 (NIV)
How can we fully understand or comprehend how God can love us so much that He would generously grant us grace when we do not deserve it and can never earn it.
Complete understanding is not needed for discovery or for the focus of our attention. When a child discovers the word “why” and incessantly uses it with their parents they do not have a fully understanding of what they are doing. We can discover the beauty of the stars and focus our attention on them night after night without understand laws of astronomy, physics, and light.
We do not have to fully understand God’s grace to discover it or to focus our attention on it.
Focusing on the “whys” of our circumstances will keep us stuck, grimy and gooey. Focusing on God’s grace will bring us inward spiritual renewal.
The answers we seek in hopes of reconciliation for all of our gaps is Jesus.
“So spacious is he, so roomy,
that everything of God finds its
proper place in him without crowding.
Not only that, but all the broken and
dislocated pieces of the universe –
people and things, animals and atoms –
get properly fixed and fit together
in vibrant harmonies, all because of his death,
his blood that poured down from the cross.”
Colossians 1:19-20 (Message)
When we discover and focus on God’s grace, then we can grow in gumption.
Growing in Gumption
Gumption is confidence and courage. It is finding a mental and moral strength to face the gaps life presents us with. It is a willingness to stay and to wait, in addition to a willingness to act and move.
I like to think about gumption as a blend of faith and perseverance.
It takes God’s grace to help us willingly wait through the gaps. If we focus on Jesus and the gift of grace He generously gives us, we can grow in gumption during the wait.
Jesus can bless us with the courage we need to face circumstances when we wish to run or hide. Jesus can bless us with confidence in our gifts and talents when we experience rejections and disappointments.
Jesus can fuel our faith when all worldly options seem to be exhausted. Jesus can pour perseverance into our empty arid wells, quenching our thirsty souls. Jesus can stabilize our wavering uncertain thoughts and emotions with truth we can anchor ourselves to.
With our discovered grace and increased gumption we can trust God’s guidance for the gaps in our lives.
God may lead us through the gap; slowly meandering down into the depths and climbing strenuously out on the other side.
God may reveal a way around the gap, navigating us into a completely different direction.
God may ask us to wait as details faithfully come together fabricating a bridge right over the gap.
God may use His carpentry skills to construct a gazebo for us to sit in at the edge of the gap so we can spend the rest of our days watching His goodness pass before us.
Live it Out
Are you facing a gap in your life right now?
What does your gap look and feel like?
Are you stuck asking “why” this gap is here?
Seek Jesus. Seek His answers to the questions that you have. When you feel out of balance, short on hope, broken, and dislocated go to Jesus. He is the reconciliation for all of our gaps.
Jesus loves you with an all consuming passion. He is especially fond of you down to the tiniest detail of who you are. Jesus has his arms spread wide to receive you with a welcoming hug.
Schedule some time to discover and focus on God’s grace. Google search Bible verses about grace. Ask God to give you revelation about His grace and the gap you are facing.
Read through Bible stories of God’s people who grew in gumption. Examples include David, Ruth, Moses, Joshua, Peter and Daniel. Look for how God grew their courage, confidence, perseverance, and faith to face the gaps in their lives.
Pray Through It
Beloved and Treasured Lord,
Thank You so much for Your goodness and love that generously provides grace for us to receive. Thank You for Your patient willingness to help us grow in gumption – increasing our faith, strengthening our perseverance, and building our courage.
Lord, the gaps bring uncertainty to our lives. The gaps can appear insurmountable, inescapable, and unending. Fear, doubt, worry, anxiety, and asking “why” can leave us stuck in a gooey grimy mess.
Lord, help us be willing to wait. Help us to be fortified by Your love so that we have the strength to follow Your guidance for our gaps.
In the grace and gumption of Jesus, amen.