Waiting With Us

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Have you ever been in a season of waiting? When we wait, God waits with us.  Our friend Jeanelle shares about how God met her right where she was. 

Immanuel. God with us. And yet so many times when His name forms in our mouths, it is without weight. We say it like He is unreachable, somehow unattached to our heart’s cry. Or a name heard mostly on Sunday mornings and desperate nights. But He is Immanuel- God who runs out from the palace to be with us. Who sits for hours on dirty street steps, forgotten corners to be with the least of us. Who comes to us in our shame, disease, insanity, breaking our chains so we could be with Him.

Recently God has been teaching me the meaning of this name. It’s been a hard season— I’m in that postgrad phase when you’re figuring out what you want to do for the rest of your life and that everyone has landed something spectacular except your ambiguous-sounding self. But He keeps reminding me of Joshua 1:9, “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.”

In the last few months, I’ve found Him in the most unexpected places. One day at the local autoshop I had to wait about an hour for my car, so I sat down thinking I would just be flipping through my phone or a random magazine. The first thing I see, in a mess of Chinese newspapers is a small book titled “I am Second”- a collection of testimonies by people from all walks of life. From drug addicts to CEOs, all the authors had one thing in common- a radical encounter with Jesus. What was this book doing here? Holding back tears, I thought about how He is with me even in the mundane, encouraging and pushing me towards Himself.

Soon after, I had to see an ENT (Ear, Nose, Throat) doctor because of an ear infection. I don’t have insurance, so I just yelped a doctor and went to one that didn’t sound dangerous. Again, I’m sitting in the waiting room and I look over and see a rack filled with booklets like “Made in His image”, and “The Impact of Christian Athletes”. Um. Really God?? I had been feeling so worried but He goes before me and cares for me.

Finally, just this month I had to visit the DMV to replace my license. I was expecting long waits and rude, grumpy people. As I sit down to wait for my number to be called, a man walks over to my row, hands a crisp ten dollar bill to another the young man sitting next to me and says, “The Lord told me you needed it.” Seriously, God?! It could have happened anywhere in the room but it happened literally right in front of my eyes. I asked the young man next to me if he was Christian and he replied, clearly moved, “Yeah, the Lord really loves us”. Then, in the DMV, he invites me to his church.

Immanuel. Throughout all these encounters, God has made one thing clear to me- that in the waiting period, the times when you think nothing is going on— oh weary soul, He is with you. All three times I was in line waiting for something- for my car to be fixed, for the doctor to see me, for my license to be replaced. And in the midst of that waiting God made known of His presence. In the autoshop, God gave me testimonies to read and showed me that when I feel like I’m going nowhere, He still has a wonderful plan for me. And that we will get there together. At the ear doctor, God reminded me that I’m made in His image— He knit me together in the womb and knows how to heal me. At the DMV, He reminded me of my identity in Christ— one dearly loved by God. I went to restore my physical license, but was reminded of something eternal.

Immanuel. God with us. Could anything ever be as beautiful as this truth? That God Himself, the Holy one, would come to be with man, to walk with him on this earth, touch his wounds and drink of his sorrows?

Open your eyes, beloved. He is with you. Take the hand of Grace, and never let go.

Photo Credit: Chris