Saturday, January 17, 2009

The Waiting Place

“Waiting for a train to go or a bus to come, or a plane to go or the mail to come, or the rain to go, or the phone to ring, or the snow to snow or waiting around for a Yes or No or waiting for their hair to grow … Waiting for the fish to bite or waiting for the wind to fly a kite or waiting around for Friday night or waiting, perhaps, for their Uncle Jake or a pot to boil, or a Better Break or a string of pearls, or a pair of pants or a wig with curls, or Another Chance. Everyone is just waiting.” ~Dr. Seuss, Oh, the Places You’ll Go

“Waiting, waiting, waiting. All my life, I've been waiting for my life to begin, as if somehow my life was ahead of me, and that someday I would arrive at it.” ~Camryn Manheim

The Waiting Place.

Dr. Seuss calls it “most useless.”

I’m not sure I agree.

Several years ago I found myself in the uncomfortable position of being the reason that my family would have to “wait” to fulfill what we felt like God was calling us to do. I cried, pouted, blamed myself for our delay, but only because I could not see that God had a purpose for it.

I sometimes describe the last few years as my wilderness, but it was far from the image of a barren desert that the word conjures up.

Back up sixteen years to a time when God placed me in another desert. My eyes must have been the size of plates as I drove into town in Southern Arizona. I called my parents and inundated them with whines of self-pity, climaxing with the most piteous of all …

“They have gravel in their yards!”

Just typing the words recalls the slap of realization that preceded that grievous cry.

But during my years there, I realized that if you look past the sand, you’ll find life in the desert. Abundant life.

Gila Monsters and Diamondback rattlers sleep the days away under rocks. Red-tailed hawks and screech owls raise their young amid the spines of the saguaro. Bobcats, wolves, and coyotes stalk jackrabbits and kangaroo rats in the shade of the mountains at early evening.

My spiritual and emotional wilderness experience was much the same.

At first all I could see was endless miles of sand and desolation. A long walk with very little water. My soul felt immediately parched.

But, God is good and God is wise. And we are grateful, for the desert he brought us through was abundantly alive!

Hope and healing lurked underneath the rocks. Grace and peace raised their offspring amid the spines of pain. New plans, adjusted dreams, and restored relationship hunted down and overshadowed hopelessness and failure in the cool shadow of the Almighty.

As we enter what we hope are our last six months this side of the Pacific, I find myself staring blindly like a deer in the headlights. There is so much to do, I struggle to get started on any of it. And there is much to wait for as well.

We are waiting for God to provide the prayer and financial partners we need to be able to proceed. We are so very grateful for the dozens of people and the churches who have joined with us and made this ministry their own! But we have far to go, and so we wait. But, not without hope, for God owns the cattle on a thousand hills and compared to that, we only need one lean cut.

But, what if He chooses not to provide all that we need in time for us to leave this summer? And why do I let that thought send my gut into knots? Why in the world should I fear waiting? God has shown me the value of waiting on Him.

We know, if we are unable to leave this summer, that we can confidently say it was not God’s timing.

And we will wait longer if He wills it.

We just hope we don’t have to.

And so, knowing that God is in complete control of everything that could affect this venture, we ask you to pray with us, that God will allow us a mid-summer departure to Papua New Guinea.

Frankly, it’s too big a task for us. We’re going to have to wait for Him to make it happen.

But fortunately, if it comes to that, we know the Waiting Place is not useless after all.


  1. Praying as you wait..I know the way you used the time during your wait in the desert was a blessing to many..especially me.

  2. God asks for our obedience. You guys are willing and obedient. Continue to wait and see what great and mighty things God does!

  3. I found you blog through MyAwesomeOliveShoots.A friend of ours was a missionary in Papua New Guinea for many years. He is an expert on the area and has a passion for the unreached tribes of the world. I just wanted to tell you his name and mission organization. I know he could be a very valuable resource for you! (Just google:David Sitton - To Every Tribe).
    My husband and I have been in full-time ministry for 22 years. Nine years ago, my husband quit his job as student pastor of a "mega-church" ,and we began our crazy journey of living totally by faith alone. We can look behind us and tell incredible stories of God's faithful provisions, but when we look toward the future, it is still a blank slate with tons of question marks. Faith is the unseen, and we, too, spend most of our life...waiting.


We are missionaries serving God and the task of Bible translation by serving the missionary community in Papua New Guinea through Personnel Administration and MK Education. We thank you for your prayers!

For the Bibleless Peoples of the World ...

(Updated 13 April 2013)