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The Joy of Waiting

The season of Advent gives us a chance to reflect on the joy to be found in waiting.

So many people are unhappy, or unfulfilled. They lack a sense of direction or purpose, and they are looking so hard for one. It’s crushing them. I know it. I see it all the time. There are so many souls that are longing for God. You may be one of them. You may be wondering why He hasn’t called you.

Are you yearning to go out there and be part of something awesome? Ask God. I think He wants you to ask. The Bible says, “You have not because you ask not.” (James 4:2) So go and ask Him, and then trust Him.

I’ll tell you a story that will tide you over while you wait for His answer.

The Season of Samuel

In Israel’s early days, they lived without a king, or a government as such. Instead, God led the people directly through a priest named Samuel, an honest and trustworthy man.

When Samuel was getting old, his sons were in line to replace him. They weren’t honest and upstanding like Samuel. In fact, not only were they dishonest, but they stole from the gifts that people brought for God!

The people weren’t willing to put up with this. They went to Samuel and said, “We need a king. The other nations have kings, and we think that’s the route we’ll have to go. There is too much corruption among the priests.”

This left God feeling rejected, but he granted the people’s wish.

The Season of Saul

God chose a man named Saul to be the first king of Israel. Now, this doesn’t mean that God didn’t go on leading. He did. He didn’t abandon His people. He just led by leading the king. God would tell his plans to Samuel, and Samuel would tell them to Saul.

God’s ways are not our ways. God’s methods are counterintuitive. God doesn’t bother with appearances. He sees what’s in our hearts. He gathers the least important people into His hands, and makes them great. He works miracles through us when we are weak. He can’t wait to comfort us when we ache. He just loves to surprise us! Why does He do all of this? He wants to see us living free and in peace.

Being a man, Saul couldn’t know God’s ways. So sometimes, he didn’t listen to Samuel. Sometimes, he did things his own way. And when Saul did things his own way, he got in God’s way. So God decided to replace Saul as King. He chose a boy named David.

Anointing the Runt

God sent Samuel to visit David’s father Jesse, who had seven grown sons. Jesse presented all seven sons to Samuel, but when Samuel had looked at them all, he said to Jesse, “Nope! None of these are the one. Are you sure you don’t have any other sons?”

Jesse said, “Well, yes, there’s the runt. But he’s out tending the sheep.” Samuel said, “Let’s see him!”

They went out and got “the runt.” It was David. David was a healthy, happy, good looking kid. He was still just a child. Maybe he had a little peach fuzz on his face. That’s it!

At the very moment Samuel saw David, God said, “This is the one! This is the one I have chosen to be king. Anoint him now!”

Following the custom of the day, Samuel took a flask of oil and poured it on David, with David’s family as witness. The Bible tells us that when he was anointed, “the Spirit of God entered David like a rush of wind.” It tells us that God was with David for the rest of his life, His Spirit filling David with vitality and power.

What an awesome event! So what do you think happened next? Well, nothing! Samuel went home. And David, the newly-anointed King of Israel, went back to tending the sheep.

No kidding! David was anointed. He got his call. God said, “This is the one!” David was, for all intents and purposes, King of Israel. And he just went back to his sheep.

A Long Wait

Fifteen eventful years passed before David took the throne. While he waited, wonderful things happened to him. He became a celebrated hero when he killed Goliath. He wrote beautiful music. He joined King Saul’s household as a beloved friend and surrogate son.

Terrible things happened, too. When King Saul found out that God had chosen David to replace him, things got pretty rough. Saul persecuted David, and it got so bad that David actually had to run for his life. He kept on the move, hid out in caves, and survived by his wits.

This was the life of the man who was already anointed king! He had been called to the throne, and yet he wasn’t ruling. He was hiding in caves!

For anyone who is feeling unfulfilled, or unhappy, or seeking something greater, we can learn from David. He had to wait, man. He had to wait a long time. We want our call in 15 minutes. David had to wait 15 years!

Be Content

Waiting is hard! Don’t I know it! But think about the joy David found in those years. There is so much joy to be found in waiting. Just like David, you can be creative, have amazing experiences, and love on your family and friends.

And just like David, you can be filled with the Spirit of the Lord. Waiting doesn’t get in the way of that.

I have such good news for you! Right now, while you are waiting, God is still calling you. He is calling you to joy. Sometimes joy is simply found in being. It’s found in being right where you’re at.

I think our being is really important to God. We get so focused on doing that we forget. Sometimes God just wants us to be. Be content. Be content for now. When He feels like you’re ready for what He has in store for you, He’ll call you. He’ll send you out. Trust Him on this, and until then, just be content.

A Season of Joy

In the long run, you’re going to be happier because you waited. If you do something that you think is great, but you do it outside of God, then you’re going to be disappointed. And if He lets you go before you’re ready, then you’re going to be miserable. You’re not even going to like what you’re doing.

God doesn’t want that for you! What would be the point? God wants joy for you!

So wait until He calls, so that you can find joy in waiting. Find joy in being. And when the call comes, you can be sure that you’ll find joy in doing. Kingdom work is joyful work! And that’s what God wants for you.

I am the author of To Stir a Movement: Life, Justice, and Major League Baseball (2013), and my second book is in the works. Visit my Huffington Post page here. I blog here. Follow me on Instagram & Twitter: @JeremyAffeldt.