How many of you have ever been in a waiting season? I know I definitely have! But something I’ve learned over the past few years is this: rather than look at it as a waiting season, I’ve come to look at it as a willing season. What exactly do I mean by this? Well to start, I want to break down the definition of the word “waiting” and the definition of the word “willing.”
Waiting (n.): the action of staying where one is or delaying action until a particular time or until something else happens.
Willing (adj.): ready, eager, or prepared to do something.
I don’t know about you guys, but when I think of a season of waiting, I think of anxiety, frustration, and loneliness. I also think of waiting around to have something fall in my lap, and with that comes the obsession of wondering when that something will happen or appear. That something could be a friendship, a relationship, or even a job you’re waiting to hear back from. I want to encourage you guys to be careful, however, of making that something, whatever it may be, an idol. Because when we focus on what it is that we want, it can easily become our main focus, and this is not how Jesus called us to live.
However, when I think of a willing season, I think of excitement, trust, and the obedience it takes to follow where God is leading each of us, no matter how uncomfortable it may be. In fact, Isaiah 1:9 tells us that “if you are willing and obedient, you shall eat the good of the land.” One of the best examples of this comes from the story of Ruth and Naomi in the Bible. If you aren’t familiar with this story, it goes a little something like this: After relocating from Bethlehem to Moab due to a famine with her husband and two sons, Naomi’s husband dies. Shortly after, Naomi’s two sons each marry women from Moab, however they both die a few years later as well. One of Naomi’s daughter-in-laws, Ruth, rises to the occasion to make sure Naomi does not travel through the rest of her life alone. Despite Naomi insisting that Ruth should return to her homeland to be surrounded by family and friends, Ruth is willing to be “dealt with ‘ever so severely’ by the Lord if anything but death separates her and Naomi.” (Ruth 1:18). While accompanying Naomi back to Naomi’s homeland of Bethlehem, Ruth vows “to pick up leftovers behind anyone in whose eyes she can find favor” (Ruth 2:2) in order to provide for both her and Naomi. Can you imagine having just lost your husband, but you press on to care for your Mother-in-Law? Talk about being willing!
Ruth didn’t know a soul in Naomi’s homeland of Bethlehem, but did she just sit around waiting for God to bring her friends or a new spouse? No, she didn’t! In fact, she got up, went to a barley harvest field to collect scraps to provide for she and her mother-in-law and caught the attention of her future husband, Boaz. But it wasn’t Ruth’s looks that caught Boaz’s attention. Boaz had been told all about what Ruth had done for her mother-in-law since the death of her husband, and how she left her family and her homeland to come and live with people she did not know before (Ruth 2:11). To make a long story short, Boaz eventually takes Ruth to be his wife. All because Ruth was willing to be obedient and trust in her Heavenly Father’s plan, and did not wait for something or someone to fall into her lap. Ruth’s obedience even leads her to becoming a part of Jesus’ lineage, by becoming Jesus’ great grandmother, after her son’s son fathered David, Israel’s greatest king. How cool is that?!
I don’t want you guys to hear this story and think of it as only that; it is much more than just a Bible story. It is a Bible reality. These instances may have happened thousands of years ago, but they are stories of how we, today, are supposed to live our lives. I want to encourage you guys to read this and go out and be a Ruth by saying “Here I am God. Use me with where I am, and with what I have. I am WILLING!” God will always do His job, always. But it is up to us to be co-laborers with Him, and to be willing to trust in His plan for our lives, especially when it doesn’t match up with our own plans. You never know where your obedience and willingness will lead you, but Jesus sure does. What are you waiting for, friend?! Go turn that waiting season into a willing season!