By faith [Abraham] went to live in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, living in tents with Isaac and Jacob, heirs with him of the same promise. For he was looking forward to the city that has foundations, whose designer and builder is God.
(Hebrews 11:9-10 ESV)
Growing up we used to joke that we should never pray for more patience because God would form it in us by making us wait. In an age where videos can be uploaded, viewed and shared globally in minutes, text messages can be sent, received and replied to in seconds, and Instagram-followers can find out what’s for dinner before your family members in the adjacent room, many in my generation would consider the archaic art of waiting an unfortunate annoyance to eliminate, rather than a valuable process to embrace. The irony of a millennial releasing an album centered on waiting is not lost on me.
Maturity is the ability to live in the tension of unresolved questions. It is the ability to navigate the space between the already’s and not-yet’s of life while being fully present in the now. As believers, we are caught in the pull of the kingdom now and yet-to-come, the “fulfillment without consummation”. We see God’s power manifested through healing and miracles, yet see bodies ravaged by disease and lives truncated by death. We see justice movements being raised and released on the earth, yet are confronted daily with the injustices of living in a fallen world. As beings created with eternity in our hearts, it is difficult, even discouraging, to confront the stark disparity between what is and what should be. “For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God” (Rom. 8:19-21 ESV).
A restless thirst, a sacred infinite desire to see the One I love
The challenge of waiting is keeping a heart alive with hope. While it is true that “hope deferred makes the heart sick”, it is also true that “a desire fulfilled is a tree of life.” The question I asked myself often in the process of creating this album was: What do I desire? The answer to that question determines what we do in the waiting. It determines what we do while waiting for that promise to be fulfilled, for that sickness to be healed, that spouse to be revealed. More importantly, it affects what do we do with our hearts in the midst of the waiting. How do we posture our hearts so that our waiting is in hopeful expectation and not heart sickness?
It’s the promise of a Bridegroom to come
A city built and made by God
It’s the longing of a Father who loves
And calls us home
Scripture does not shy away from the theme of waiting. Abraham waited his entire life, living in tents (which speaks to me of willingness to live as a sojourner), looking for a city He ultimately never got to see in his lifetime. Moses, Joseph and David waited in the wilderness, in prison, and in caves before finally arriving at their prophetic destination. Simeon and Anna waited their entire lives to finally see the consolation and redemption of Israel. Two millennia of the faithful have waited and continue to wait for their Beloved to split the sky and make all things new.
Yet hope remained... remains. Flourishes. Alive.
Because these ones chose to set their hearts on God, on pilgrimage. More than the why, when, what and how, they sought Who was behind the promise, Who stood at the end of their journey. And “therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared for them a city” (Heb. 11:16).
I’ve come to realize that no matter what (or who) we are waiting for, no matter where in the process or circumstance, that if our hearts are truly set on God, the One who is from the beginning and who will stand at the end, then we get the fruit and reward of waiting upon Him. We get the renewal of strength, the ability to run and not grow weary, to walk and not faint. We get a heart prepared, through the often painful process of waiting, to possess the promises without their potential pitfalls and perils. If, in the waiting, our hearts are set on Him, then we get Him!
It’s funny that the Here In The Waiting album has taken this long to birth. Perhaps, in the process, my heart, too, was being prepared, that I might truly sing:
Here in the waiting, God
I set my heart on You
Here in the longing, God
I am Yours, You are mine