My daughter Laura, her husband Fernando, and their seven children are missionaries in Ecuador. They live in a modern city—Cuenca—in the Andes Mountains. Well, let me qualify that—there are parts of the city that are modern, and other parts that date back to (Spanish) colonial days and earlier. The most contemporary architecture you could ever hope to see often sits next to buildings that date back one hundred and fifty to two hundred years or more. Huge, expensive homes are often adjacent to poor Indian shacks. Many of the streets are still cobblestone. And much of the infrastructure (sewers and the like) is just old. It is common for the water to be turned off for hours at a time in different neighborhoods just so that the hydroelectric plant above them in the mountains can keep up with the demand. Building materials, even on the newer buildings, are often shoddy. As beautiful as Cuenca is (and I love it), it sometimes feels as though one is stepping back in time at least fifty years.
Laurie and Fernando have had more than their share of house problems. Most of the time they are plumbing issues—broken pipes inside concrete walls and floors, faulty pressure regulators, broken sewer lines, chronically backed up toilets and showers—or leaky roofs, water coming in under the doors, etc. All that moisture means that in nearly every house they have lived in, they have fought a losing battle with mold, to the detriment of their health. They are being driven from their home once again.
This will be their third move in three years. Trust me, trying to find a house for a family their size that they can afford, that is in decent shape and will meet their needs (a study for Fernando who is a pastor, room to homeschool the kids, etc.), that is in a safe area of town, that does not already have a mold problem—is not easy. It took them almost nine months the last time. They have been looking since September this time when the sewage lines broke somewhere under their house and mold once again starting to grow right through the floors–and not to mention the stench—made them realize they could not stay. The city could not find the problem, plumbers were no help, the builder had no idea what to do without ripping through the concrete floors to try to find the source and Laurie and Fernando felt they just could not live through it again with all their children exposed to that. They started packing even though they had no idea where or when they would be going. Laura told me, “We feel like Abraham and Sarah—the camels are loaded, the tent stakes have been pulled up—now show us where to go, Lord!”
Many people have been praying with them concerning their housing needs. Fernando and Laurie knew they just had to get their family out of there (Fernando, Matthew, Melissa and Katie have all been sick for many weeks and Sara and Gabi have been affected by the mold, too.) They were sitting among boxes stacked all over, but still they waited for some direction from the Lord. We pleaded with Him, but when it seemed to some He was silent and no answer came, His answer came through loud and clear—WAIT!
It is difficult sometimes to wait—especially when you see your children getting sick. It is tempting to run ahead, or force open a closed door. Pressure mounts from others who are trying to help, or who have their opinions. Weeks pass, and then months, and still the Lord seems to say “wait”—but for how long? Waiting means resting in the Lord, but when we are restless to get this show on the road, it is sometimes hard to just relax, let go and trust. But that is what the Naranjos (and we) have had to do—simply wait on the Lord.
And this week they found a house—the house the Lord has been preparing for them all along!
We are truly rejoicing over the answer to our prayers—far and above what we even dared hope for! It is a brand new house at a price they can afford with an abundance of space for them all (including Fernando’s study and homeschool area) and many pluses—a playroom for the little ones, plenty of storage, outdoor space, a nice, quiet neighborhood set higher above with gorgeous mountain views… When one of their cousins heard about the new house, he said, “Oh, so they’re getting a mansion over a hilltop!” Hardly—but they do feel extremely blessed to have found this new earthly home in which to lay their heads.
What does it truly mean to wait on the Lord? I have used the letters of the word WAIT to give us a simple outline.
W – Will of God. Waiting on God means that we are willing to accept His will above our own. It is tempting sometimes to try to force open closed doors, or to do things that to us seem logical and right but may be what God knows is not the best thing for us. Submission to His will means being content with what He chooses for us rather than insisting on our own way and desires. We know we can trust His choices for us because of who He is—our Father who loves us with an everlasting love (Jeremiah 31:3); our Rock in whom is our security (Psalm 62:1, 2); the God of all wisdom (Proverbs 2:6). He is holy, just, good, merciful, gracious, omnipotent, omniscient—in short, everything we need in whom to put our trust. Isaiah 55:9 says, “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.”
A – Anticipation. Waiting on God calls for eager, confident expectation, believing that He has something good planned for us! “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11) God’s will is always worth waiting for! Waiting on Him is the definition of hope—a hope that has a firm foundation. “And now, Lord, what wait I for? My hope is in thee.” (Psalm 39:7) Just as we know the sun rises in the east each morning, we can wait on Him, resting in our confident hope in Him. Psalm 130:5, 6 says, “I wait for the Lord, my soul doth wait, and in his word do I hope. My soul waiteth for the Lord more than they that watch for the morning: I say, more than they that watch for the morning.”
I – Instruction. Waiting on God requires us to seek guidance in His Word and prayer, and at times through godly counsel. While we pause, waiting on Him, we need to be still and listen to Him speak to us through the Scriptures. Often times the answer is right there. Sometimes He uses a message, or the advice or counsel of other believers to help direct us, but that counsel must always be in line with God’s Word. Lamentations 3:21-25 says that He is good to those who wait on Him and seek Him, and whose hope is in Him. “This I recall to my mind, therefore have I hope. It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness. The Lord is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in him. The Lord is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him.”
T – Timing. Waiting on God means we are trusting Him to do things in His own time and way. In these days of instant gratification, high speed everything it is difficult for us to sit passively by and simply wait. Psalm 37:7 says, “Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for Him…” Patience is often in short supply in our culture. We want to hurry God along; have Him answer our prayers quickly, when sometimes His answer is actually neither yes nor no, but wait. By its very definition, the word wait implies the passage of time. God does not look at time in the same manner we do. A month to Him is nothing. He knows the beginning from the end. When we are seeking answers, direction, provision we need only rest in Him and wait for His timing.
Waiting on God brings blessing into our lives—rest and peace, strength, contentment, faith—and builds character—patience, self-control, discipline. Do not be weary in waiting on God! It is well worth the wait!