When waiting is the last thing you want to do…

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April

I never thought I would say this, but I learned something from a giraffe this week.

April the Giraffe has become an internet sensation since the impending birth of her calf began being broadcast LIVE back in February. The whole thing started because Animal Adventure Park wanted to give viewers access to the live birth of her baby. Buzz surrounded the whole thing, millions tuned in to catch a glimpse.

Until it didn’t happen.

Days turned into weeks.

As I write this, sweet April is still very, very pregnant. Even one of the zookeepers commented yesterday, “we can’t believe she’s still pregnant”!

Public outcry has been less than kind. Speculation has mounted and cynics have voiced their disdain. Some have called it a hoax, a publicity stunt, while others have pushed the Animal Adventure Park to induce labor and give her Pitocin (I’m not even sure you can give animals Pitocin?!).

As for April? She’s cool as a cucumber. She has a gentle demeanor, isn’t aggressive with her keepers, and has yet to stomp her feet or roll on the ground yelling, “GET THIS THING OUT OF ME!!!!” (I mean, seriously, I’m pretty sure that’s what I’d be doing if I were 15 months pregnant.)

April continues to wait. We continue to watch.

And I wonder, how many of us are like April? How many of us are waiting on something?  We are expectantly hoping “it” happens to us soon, or that “it” is just around the corner.

Your “it” is probably different than mine.  “It” might be a job, spouse, baby, healing, or an answer to a prayer. “It” could be anything your hope holds that hasn’t happened yet.

One of the hardest things to walk through is when your “it” doesn’t happen when you (and the rest of the world) think it should.

When John and I were dating, it became pretty obvious that we were heading toward marriage. And let’s be honest, I was MORE than ready to be engaged. “It” had not happened yet, and for the love, what was wrong with me?! I was fascinated with other women’s wedding rings, and dreamed of wearing one of my own. I remember looking at my barren left ring finger with shame, because, hello, I had the best guy ever and I wanted to start life with him RIGHT THEN. And I needed a ring, STAT. I was also 99% sure I was going to die if I had to see one more person get engaged, or go to one more bridal shower. “It”, as it seemed, kept happening to everyone…but me.

We all have our “it”. That thing we are waiting on, the answer to our prayer. Sometimes the prayers are private, other times, the public eye speculates while you wait.

Like April. The very pregnant giraffe.

As I mentioned above, I was CONVINCED I would die if John and I didn’t get engaged. As the months wore on, the Lord began to stir something inside us.

I needed to prepare to become a wife. I wasn’t ready. John needed to prepare to become the leader of our home. And THANKFULLY, in the Lord’s lavish, ohmygoshchildpleaselistentome love, He held John from proposing (Oh I love that story too…remind me to tell you about that sometime!) until we were fully prepared to enter into the covenant of marriage.

{Side note – the judgment from other people during that season was the WORST. In a time when I was struggling to understand why I was being made to wait, and looking to Jesus while He prepared me to become a wife – people around me were a lot like April the Giraffe’s critics. Be kind to those in those seasons of waiting. Your words can hurt or encourage. Please, choose to breathe life into the weary bones of a Waiter.}

Often the waiting is actually the preparing…and if so, how much do we miss by trying to run full speed ahead past it?

I cringe thinking of sweet April the Giraffe and her little one, if those caretakers try to force a labor that is not due.

Often, as it turns out, waiting is part of “it”. It’s as important, if not MORE, than the “it” itself. And if I might be so bold, HOW we wait indicates the depth of our trust. I’m going to say that one more time, because I don’t want us to miss it – How we wait is a direct correlation of our faith in God.

Graham Cooke posted this on Twitter earlier this week, “Faithfulness is about being consistent, constant, unceasing, firm in your promise, loyal, reliable, unwavering and trustworthy.”

Faithfulness in the waiting.

Because if what we are longing for is a God-given desire, it will come to pass. He knows our hearts, he knows our deepest needs. He loves us like crazy. He isn’t ignoring us. In the waiting, we get to see the fullness of HIS time, HIS plan, HIS agenda.

Waiting isn’t about tapping our foot, huffing and puffing (cough, cough, Kristi Lowe). It’s learning how to live in the space and grace of the “not yet”. It’s learning to smile when the rest of the world seems to be passing you by, waving as they go.

It’s like the pregnant giraffe, who, just like everyone else in the world, wants to see that precious baby make it’s entrance.

Until then, we wait with grace.

 

Photo credit: Animal Adventure Park

 

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