When I was 21, I lived in London as a college exchange student. During my stay in England, it exhilarated me to hop on the train, travel to a part of the city I hadn’t seen before and wander around without an agenda.
My roommate, on the other hand, was a planner. She needed to know why she was going somewhere, how to get there and what to do once she arrived. One evening, when we were supposed to attend a concert, my roomie was naturally in charge of getting us there, so she had a map.
Only something went wrong.
We got lost and for over 90 minutes we wandered the streets of London without a clue where we were headed. Sure, I wanted to see the concert, but after a while I thought, “That’s OK, if we can’t, we can do something else.”
My roommate, on the other hand, was exasperated. She kicked a cement post in the middle of the sidewalk several times while shouting expletives. I was certain she had broken her toes. We eventually found the concert and made our way home with her toes (thankfully) uninjured.
Understandably, my roommate felt that the trip from our apartment to the concert should have been a straight line, like the one an arrow makes to a bull’s-eye. Instead, it was like the trip a bee makes from one flower to another—in loop-de-loops and circles.
When God is revealing bits and pieces of your purpose through the seasons of your life, remember that even if He has told you how you will ultimately serve Him, it doesn’t mean that the fulfillment of your purpose will happen in a straight line. Instead, you might feel like you are going in loop-de-loops and circles, like you are wandering. This is OK. God won’t waste any of your experiences (Romans 8:28). And even if some of your “circles” seem unrelated to God’s calling, He will weave them in to His purpose for your life. Rest assured, He is still in control and will perfect that which concerns you (Psalm 138:8).
Joseph must have known what it felt like to wander in circles. In Genesis, God showed him through dreams that his brothers would bow down and worship him (Gen. 37:5-6). It wasn’t until many years later after being sold into slavery by his brothers, serving Potiphar for 10 years, being thrown into prison for two years (after Potiphar’s wife accused him of trying to rape her) and becoming the Prime Minister of Egypt that Joseph’s brothers finally did do just as his dreams revealed. Scripture reveals that God had His hand on Joseph all along—just as He has His hand on you.
If Joseph’s trip from slavery to seeing his dreams materialize wasn’t a straight line for him, then why should we expect that it will be for us? But we have a problem, right? We’re often not comfortable with wandering; and like my roomie, we may become frustrated because we want to see our purpose fulfilled now.
Remember that fulfilling your God-given purpose is a journey, not a destination; it’s a process which includes preparation (which feel like pit stops) and delays (which feel like detours). But God is never in a hurry, He’s always in control and is completely able to get you where we need to go to complete in you what He started (Phil. 1:6).
While God is unfolding your purpose, sometimes you may not only feel like you are wandering in circles, but you’ll also have to do some waiting—but that’s not a bad thing.
Waiting can be filled with anticipation.
There are few things more painful that waiting for God to reveal our purpose—especially if we wait without hope. Without hope, waiting for God to act can feel like torture. But with confidence in Him, waiting can feel like joyful anticipation. Isaiah 30:18 says, "Blessed are all who wait for Him." Part of the definition of "wait," which is the word chakah in the original Old Testament Hebrew, means to wait "in ambush." Just thinking about this definition makes me smile. Imagine it.
Waiting in ambush for God is like a happy-faced dog who knows his master is coming home; so he stays by the door, ready to pounce when he arrives. It's like a young woman who counts the minutes for her to date to show up for the prom. It's like a freckle-faced boy who anticipates Christmas and counts down the days. Waiting God's way, for Him to show us where we belong serving Him, means we have hope because we know that something good is going to happen--in God's time, in God's way. When faith replaces distrust, the agony of waiting can turn into hopeful anticipation.
Waiting in ambush for God means, I'm fully convinced that He is working behind the scenes. In it, I allow my heart to dream about the goodness that will be mine
after my wait is over. On the contrary, when I wait without believing that my purpose will become reality, my future hopes are not hope at all, but despair. The end result of waiting in faith is always a reward; but if we wait without hope we may act out of our unbelief through sin and walk away from God’s plans for our lives.
To wait in ambush for God means, I may have to choose to trust Him God while He unfolds more and more of His plan for my life. I may have to ask myself, "Shana, what do you believe? Do you believe that God is working behind the scenes? Will you choose to trust that He will reveal the totality of His perfect plan? If so, lift up your head, girl! God is on His way!"
What about you? Are you waiting for Christ to reveal more of His plans for your purpose? Lift up your head and wait in ambush for God! He’s on His way and wants you to know why He made you more than you do.
My personal experience has shown me that God is more than able to lead you into your purpose. Without your help, He is able to guide you exactly where you need to go; your job is to remain open to what He wants to do through you while you wander and wait.
Shana Schutte is a freelance writer, author and speaker living in Colorado Springs, Colo. (www.runtogodministries.org)