I wound around the trail, a steady incline along dirt pathways lined with lush, green trees, but that was only the beginning. The sun peaked through the leaves as the wind brushed them apart, highlighting the old roots on the forest floor. Just as I started getting tired of the repetition of the climbing and winding, the forest opened up to the coast, views high above the ocean surrounded by hills hidden only in part by the misty salt air. An open country, free and wild, a view far from the trees that shielded my view from the grandness of the vista that laid ahead. I like hikes like this. They’re full of stillness and beauty – you really become acquainted with the details. But, they’re also full of anticipating and waiting and believing that the stillness of the forest will give way to something altogether breathtaking. And that’s reason enough to press on with tired muscles and full hearts because it’s worth it. It’s always worth it to make it to the top.
I guess I love this idea – that waiting produces something in our hearts, even when we can’t see it. Sweetest friends, let me say this, it’s not easy. Believe me, that’s something I understand. But one thing I do know is that in these seasons of hoping and dreaming and joys and disappointments, God draws us in deeper to His love. So much deeper than we ever thought possible because we learn who we are and who He is. We learn to desire God’s presence for nothing more than just being with Him, and our faith is proven in the valleys where the promises aren’t yet reality.
And we press on because we know there is always hope, and maybe it shines the brightest when we don’t have answers – when we don’t understand. We get caught in the forest and can’t for our lives see the how or why behind the waiting. And, I think that’s where most of us struggle. We ask the wrong questions and grasp for control over something that we weren’t built to bear – our lives and futures. God calls us to live more simply, with more humility, more dependence. Because there are things for us to learn in the waiting that we can never learn any other place. These seasons remind us that we are weaker than we think, we are more limited, but our hearts and dreams are held in the hands of our God who gave His son for our freedom. If we trust Him with our souls and salvation – the grandest demonstration of His love, why would we doubt the depth of His love and purpose in the smallest things of life? He sees you. Right now, where you are. You are not overlooked. Just because your deepest dreams and heart longings seem out of sight, doesn’t change the character of God. “if we are faithless, he remains faithful— for he cannot deny himself.” – 2 Tim. 2:13
Because God won’t let us miss out on any part of His very best for our lives. And often that very best means waiting, longing, and dreaming, because these seasons cause us to rely on Jesus so very fully. The weight of the world removed from our shoulders and every success and failure resting in His hands. Although our desires and dreams are often filled with the glimmering beam of hope, let’s remember that even our best dreams pale in comparison to the joy that God wants to bring us into. He knows us. He knows what we were built for and all the opportunities He’s forging for us to step into the very purpose we were created for. So instead of asking why when we are deep among the trees, let’s ask what’s next? Because the adventure of following our God and depending on Him for everything is the most purpose-filled, beautiful, and breathtaking endeavor. So, we can rest. Because the weight of our futures doesn’t depend on us. We can trust that the same God who paints the night sky with beauty is preparing the most beautiful vistas for us. Let’s not lose sight of this. Let’s lay down our expectations and demands in favor of something better because God’s purpose for our lives is always better. We just have to keep following the trial.