Thursday, October 6, 2011


You've seen the poster of the cute, cuddly little kitten hanging on the tree branch, mouth open wide with eyes like saucers. You can almost hear the pitiful meow as you read the "Hang in there!" caption that is supposed to encourage us and remind us that the waiting is only temporary...

If you have lived on this earth for any length of time at all, you know what waiting it out is all about. You know that after the job interview there will be waiting, after the tests are run there will be waiting, when you pray desperately to God for His guidance and aid there will be waiting. It isn't something we excel at, this waiting thing. In fact in the modern day, if you are asked to step outside the line at McDonalds to wait for your order you get rather incensed and irritated, "What exactly is 'fast food' if I have to wait?" Oh, and don't let the internet connection get bogged down... That is cause for all kinds of angst and lamenting! Waiting is not pleasant, and frankly we stink at it! Being stuck in limbo, waiting on something we deem incredibly important, can drive us into all kinds of unattractive behaviors.

You may not have known where the phrase, "Being stuck in limbo," originated. It has been around a long time and originates from the Latin word, limbus which means the edge of something or the boundary. It was used often to describe the edge of Hell. Limbo is one of those places described by certain religious traditions to be that place the dead were hanging out, waiting for Christ to escort them into Heaven. It was only a holding area for those that died in God's favor, but since Christ hadn't come to open the gates they had to hang out and wait for their guide to accompany them into paradise. A very fitting way to describe how we feel when we are waiting out there on a limb...

We can look into the gates of Hell, see and hear the wailing and the laments of past mistakes. We know we don't want to be there, but we have to hang out and wait for Christ to take us on to our true destination. Waiting is hard! The image of waiting at the edge of Hell should be encouragement not to make hasty decisions because we want movement - of any kind! If only I had the forethought to look at my Limbo moments like that!

I know from my own experiences that waiting is a dangerous place to be. I want to make something happen, often even if it is the wrong thing. Once I make a decision, I am often ready to move, with or without my escort there. The problem is, God has designed certain times in our lives to wait. It is a part of Christian growth that often gets overlooked. Well, ok... Maybe overlooked is too nice a phrase. Perhaps "ignored" is more accurate. We don't want to wait. We want to hear the Almighty answer right away, send us on our path and make it all easy peasy! But is that growth? Is that preparing us for times that we will need our patience and trust in our Lord? Not hardly... And it isn't likely that God will deliver it either.

When we wait God is growing us. He is growing our trust, growing our faith, building our spiritual muscles. Like anything, we have to practice to excel. If I decided to set a goal to run a marathon, I had better begin training for that marathon months in advance. Showing up the day of the race with no training or conditioning will spell disaster for my ultimate goal. My lungs will be ill prepared to deliver the oxygen my legs will need to keep running. My legs will not have the muscles built to keep my feet in motion to reach the finish line. My mind will be ill equipped to handle the mental stress of such a long run. God knows we need training and conditioning to run His race as well, and so He teaches us to wait.

Wait with anticipation and trust in God's will to give you hope and a future. Wait in prayer, communing with God about your anxiety and desires for the outcome. Wait knowing it will have a purpose to strengthen you and deliver you to a better place in the long run. Wait and treasure the time the Father is giving you to share with Him your heart.

When you are in Limbo, waiting on Jesus to walk you into the next phase, keep and eye and an ear open for the proof that bad decisions and hasty movement aren't worth the pain. In all movement toward your goal, pray for God's guidance and His will so that you won't be tempted to move without Him. God is very good at letting us know when we are on track. He may not give you billboard signs, but he will cause doors to be shut and windows to open. He will walk with you through anything He puts before you and He has promised to never leave you.

What are you waiting on today? Hang in there... It's worth it!

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