Rivers Know This: There is No Hurry

Rivers know this: there is no hurry. We shall get there some day. A. A. Milne

Tuesday night Maile and I sat at the small kitchen table in my parents’ basement. We have been in the basement now for only about six weeks, but it’s been seven months since we left our house and embarked on our cross-country trip. Seven months of living out of suitcases. Seven months of wondering where we will end up next. Seven months of occupying guest rooms while our kids sleep on the floor and our kids sleep here and our kids sleep there. Seven months of keeping bathroom supplies in what looks like an over-sized fishing tackle box.

Seven months.

I think we both felt a bit deflated on Tuesday night.

“You know,” Maile said. “It’s not that I don’t trust things will work out. I KNOW they are going to work out. They are ALREADY working out. But sometimes, even knowing that, you get tired of waiting for it. I just want to say, ‘God…I mean, come on!'”

There it was – the idea that had been floating around in my head, now expressed perfectly in the form of spoken words. Because that is exactly it. No matter how much faith you have, no matter how determined you are to persevere, no matter how hard your head has grown from knocking through that next brick wall: there are still days when you are just plain tired.

* * * * *

The brick walls are there for a reason. The brick walls are not there to keep us out. The brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something. Because the brick walls are there to stop the people who don’t want it badly enough. They’re there to stop the other people. Randy Pausch

* * * * *

There is a particular weariness that rises in this space of waiting. But I don’t think it’s the waiting itself that is wearying me – I think it’s my resistance to the wait. I’m like a dog straining at the end of a lead, wearing the pads of my feet raw on the sidewalk as I desperately pull pull pull. The unnecessary effort chokes me. A firm, gentle voice rises just over the sound of my struggle.

Stop, The Voice says.

Breathe, The Voice whispers.

Wait, The Voice implores, and I try to listen, and I discover a new space of stillness, a space where I can feel my own heart beating in my chest, a space where the burden is inexplicably light.

How do you make the waiting bearable?

20 Replies to “Rivers Know This: There is No Hurry”

  1. Those last lines–I may share them on Still Saturday this weekend and link to this post.

    I don’t know why God is taking so long with some heavy things, but while I wait I try to pay attention to the small things around me, the little mysteries and miracles.

    Praying for your rest and grateful for your words.

    1. “…while I wait I try to pay attention to the small things around me, the little mysteries and miracles.” That’s a great approach, Sandra, and very wise of you. Thanks for sharing that.

  2. This was such comfort to me: “I’m like a dog straining at the end of a lead, wearing the pads of my feet raw on the sidewalk as I desperately pull pull pull. The unnecessary effort chokes me. . A firm, gentle voice rises just over the sound of my struggle…” I’m so tempted to look for the next thing, the next season. I am learning {ever so slowly}to rest and be still, to embrace the present and His presence in it by gratitude, prayer, or just the practice of being truly present in the menial tasks of my day. Thank you for these words today.

  3. If I’m still in the last step,
    while waiting for the next step,
    and I don’t know why
    we haven’t moved forward,
    the Lord and I
    then to me it’s quite clear
    that there’s more to do here!
    While I’m here I think ‘waiting’ would prolong the process. The Lord either has something else for me to do or He is still refining me during the process of this step. So perhaps inquiring of the Lord what He still wants from this step would be your next step!!!

  4. I just wrote about waiting this week. I have been doing a lot of it lately. We are living in my in-laws house, waiting to close on our house. I am waiting to hear about a job. I am waiting to see how friendships turn out in a new city.

    Waiting is so, so hard. It makes me feel vulnerable. I have been finding strength in the words of Psalm 27.

    Here’s my reflection on waiting , if you are interested: http://everydayawe.com/2012/07/31/fear-and-vulnerability-in-the-waiting-times/

  5. Boy, do I get this. And you’d think with all the waiting I’ve had to do, I’d get better at it but it keeps coming down to a choice. How will I choose to wait? What will my attitude be? I take that day to day or moment to moment depending on the circumstances.

  6. This resonates with me on so many levels. First and foremost, Kim is now almost 39 weeks pregnant. She’s so ready to not be pregnant anymore, and I feel for her. We’re both ready for the baby to be here. Waiting is hard.

    My web design business is growing, but the waiting is scary. This is the first week I haven’t had work in over two months. It’s unnerving, but I know the next job is coming. I just have to wait and be diligent in the meantime.

    Great stuff, as always.

  7. “The brick walls are there to stop the people who don’t want it badly enough.” Now there’s something for me to take, and treasure, and mull over, counterbalanced with the imagery of the dog pawing his feet raw on the concrete. Thank you for this thoughtful, well-written post.

  8. The waiting is a trial all its own, is it not?

    I want the waiting to be over, to be the man I know I can be.

    I want the opposition to stop, but it never does.

    Sometimes, I want to tell God “I’m taking my toys, and I’m going home. Unless you fix this mess. Right now.”
    He never answers those prayers.

  9. Prayers are answered, just not in our terms, but when God feels we are ready. I was abused over and over during my first marriage. First reaction people have to that is, why did I STAY THERE AND NOT GET AWAY FROM IT! Well, I had no money to even get back to my parents. I had no way to support my childnen and myself. WHY DID I STAY LONG ENOUGH TO HAVE CHILDRREN? No money, no place to go. I had threats on my life, my children’s lives, and even my mothers, if I were to leave. Just my life would not have stopped me given a chance to escape, but I couldn’t jeapordise my loved ones. Going to the police was out of the question, because back then they did not get involved with domestic situations. My only resort was prayer, which mainly were pleas, but things didn’t get any better. I finally asked God to either change him or give me the way out. This took some waiting, but after 20 years of marriage, he found another woman. My first reaction, any woman would understand this, was to feel the pain of rejection, but then I saw that this was God, giving me what I had been praying for. I found out he had big plans for me. My children and I moved back to Pennsylvanin, I signed up for some college courses, and eventually was able to find a great accounting position. During this time of rebirth for me, I met my second husband. His marriage ended almost to the day as did mine. We have been married 30 years now, and I have never regretted it, even for a moment. He is just wonderful, and he was God’s bonus gift. I feel God’s plan was for us to find one another, but he wanted us to be able to appreciate one another. God taught us that when things get as bad as the terrible years, he was preparing us for his wonderful gift,when he felt we were ready to receive it, when we could fully appreciate one another, and we had matured enough to know who was responsible. Here I am back to rambeling again, but I have left out so much, such as the children, who are great, but it was hard to explain this in a few sentences. I kept hitting brick walls, but even though I didn’t have the ability to climb over, God was able to knock them over when he felt the time was right. So Shawn, cheer up – God has you under his wing. He has given you so very much, things some people never get and He has opened many doors for you already, and he’s not done yet. Wait and see!!!

  10. Shawn, I am exceedingly grateful to you for this discourse, and hope to answer your sincere question as best I can. Please forgive what appears to be platitudes- that is just the wrapper the enemy tries to put over the truth. Life is a process. The way we look at the wall is determined by our perspective. Please consider these truths (Bible Gateway.com- Amplified Version) Perspective- (Phillippians 4:6-8);
    Hitting the wall taught me patience. (James 1:2-4) When we can’t move toward the goal, look around and find something to do to help someone else. Work while you wait. Maybe while you are waiting you can spend the time to prepare. As a single woman in want of a husband, I read. (II Timothy 2:15) I learned to cook, garden, and sew- skills I never knew would become so essential later on. Perhaps the wall is a protection like the sides of a bridge. I am grateful for those sides. My HB tells a story of his temptation to break down a wall at work. When he stopped and looked around, he saw that the wall was a protection against a very real near disaster. (Ephesians 5:20) Remember His promises to you (Jeremiah 29:11) Write your prayers. Define what you are looking for…what you want…what you need. (James 5:16) How can I help? (Philippians 4:13) In prayer for you…(Romans 8:26)

  11. Learn from the journey. Look around and take a moment to breathe..smell the flowers..believe God is waiting for you. I have never owned a home and at soon to be 63 I will be moving into a new home with a friend. It is a journey of faith and believing. Embrace your family and share what they have learned from their journey with you and God!

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