Times Rated: 0

Whispers in the Waiting Room

     About three years ago my husband Perry and I sensed that God was calling us to a new ministry venture of some kind. Although it had no real shape at that time, we both knew change was definitely coming for us. It was only a matter of time. Over the next few months, the Lord began to speak even more clearly to us about this new ministry focus He wanted us to pursue. Through scripture passages, wise counsel from faith-filled family members and friends, and several circumstances our new calling was confirmed: we were to set up a place for retreats and training seminars.

     We were so excited about what He’d placed on our hearts that we could hardly wait for it to unfold! In due time, through a remarkable set of events, God provided the perfect home and location to fulfill our calling - a property which had been a Bed and Breakfast (B and B) in a very beautiful and frequented part of Ontario, the Niagara Peninsula. As we began to explore the process for licensing such a center, we discovered there were several roadblocks to overcome.

     The hurdles soon became significant enough for us to realize we would have to put our original plan on hold ‘til God made a way. It seemed we would need to accept an interim step and start with a season of B and B. I was disappointed to say the least. Although I’ve enjoyed our first year running a Bed and Breakfast, I have to admit I’ve had days of feeling rather reluctant to embrace this Plan B! (or should I say “Plan B and B”?!) I’ve had times of wondering whether we actually heard right in the first place. Did God really call us to set up a retreat and training center?  If so, then why were we having so many challenges to do so?  How long was it going to be before I could do what I really felt called and impassioned to do?

     For now it seems I’m in God’s waiting room ... what a place to be! I don’t like it much. My heart has already said “yes!” to God’s call but I feel stalled by my circumstances. I feel frustrated with the delays yet I am powerless to move things forward. I fuss. I question. I second guess. I get discouraged. This certainly has felt like a “hurry up and wait” calling to me!

     One day God reminded me of a story about Elijah in 1 Kings chapters 18 and 19. In this passage God called Elijah to confront King Ahab and his wife Jezebel about their wickedness and their persistence in leading God’s people into idol worship. As the story unfolds, Elijah calls for a showdown at Mount Carmel with the priests of Baal, he challenges the Israelites to follow the one and only true God, he calls on God to prove Himself strong over Baal, he slaughters all the false prophets, and prays for God to send rain ending the three-year drought which had come because of their sinfulness. Through it all, Elijah walks steadfastly in his calling with faith and obedience, and God works miracle after miracle. Then it happens ... a shift in his circumstances causes him to lose his sense of mission.

     Furious Queen Jezebel threatens his life and Elijah flees in fear. Feeling exhausted, discouraged, and alone in his calling, Elijah loses perspective. God graciously intervenes telling him to seek His presence once again. As Elijah does this, he witnesses a powerful windstorm, earthquake, and fire, but he does not find the Lord in any of these. Instead, he finds His God in a gentle whisper. In that quiet humble place God speaks to his innermost heart. He calls Elijah to account and then, to renewed activity. “Go back the way you came,” God commands, as He outlines the next steps Elijah is to take. Clearly God still held the master plan, and the timing and provision for it. Though Elijah had lost his bearings along the way, God in His tender mercy, refreshed his calling once again.

     How often does God display His presence in a gentle whisper? How often does He speak through the quiet and the obvious, not the spectacular and the unusual? My life can be so full of noise and activity that often I do not hear Him. I suspect this is why I am made to sit in His waiting room quite frequently! It is in waiting that I come to the end of my own resources, my running and striving. It is here that I grow quiet enough to really listen. Then finally I hear what has been there all along ... the whisper of my God: “Be still and know that I am God.” (Psalm 46:10)

     His presence comes to me and with it, His wisdom and direction, His comfort and peace. In the sound of gentle stillness, I hear Him whisper, “Go back the way you came”, and I know I must again embrace my calling with renewed purpose, faith and trust, obedience, courage, and perseverance. I know I must humbly acknowledge my complete dependency on God’s hand to move, in His way and His timing alone. After many years of serving God, I know He is not neglectful of His calling to me, nor slack concerning His purposes and promises. With His enabling, I can do whatever He calls me to do. However, I also know the journey regularly involves spending a fair amount of time in His waiting room, listening for His next whisper.

     How long since you’ve been still enough to hear it? Let me encourage you to “stand ... in the presence of the Lord, for He is about to pass by.” (I Kings 19: 11).

Bonnie D'Elia lives with her husband, Perry in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada where they own and operate Babyberry Bed and Breakfast (www.babyberrybb.ca).
Comments (0)
Leave a Comment