God is speaking to all of us, all the time. The question is not, to whom does God talk? The question is, who listens?
- Author Neale Donald Walsch
Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD. (Psalm 27:14, NIV)
Several years ago, for Father’s Day, the boys and I bought Lonny an ice cream maker. It has a hand crank and an electric motor and the smaller boys turn the crank until their arms grow tired.
The ice cream machine has become the staple of many summer nights, and tonight we are on the patio, all of us gathered, waiting for it to deliver a good thing.
“Is it almost done?” Isaiah asks. His eyes are wide and hopeful.
“Not quite,” Lonny says. “But it’s close. Want to toss the football while we wait?”
Isaiah shakes his head. The machine is turning slower. The motor is pulling. The ice cream is thicker, closer to being ready inside.
“It takes so long,” Gabe says. He looks to a bowl of berries, sliced and covered with plastic wrap. He’ll make a sundae, lean on the chocolate but heavy on the fruit.
“I know,” Logan says. “Not too much longer. But it is hard to wait.”
Gabe continues to watch the berries. Isaiah glances at the machine and then slides onto a brother’s lap. And I think about this moment–the desire, the not-quite-yet, the anticipation, and the hope of a good thing.
It’s like our spiritual lives.
In a household of many, the wants and needs are steep. One longs for a relationship. Another for the resolution of a tough project. Others wait for the opportunity to do something new. For physical mending. Emotional healing.
Waiting can even be as simple as longing for keys to the car or being a part of the “are we there yet?” backseat chorus on a long, family trip.
Waiting is hard.
But sometimes we’re called to wait.
It’s during these times, I believe, that the Lord molds our character. We learn to trust Him with our needs, desires, and futures. We learn a measure of self-control–leaning into His timing rather than reaching for things, prematurely, on our own. We learn to feel His presence, see His grace, and experience His compassionate care and provision while we wait.
And we’re refined. We’re molded deeper. We’re stretched and we grow closer to the likeness of His Son.
Samuel and Grant are growing restless. They pick up the football and move to the yard to play catch. The rest of us stay around the table. We listen. We wait.
And the machine whirs and churns.
It’s the sound of patience.
The sound of learning to wait.
A song of anticipation–the steady, gentle hum of good things to come.
Lord, help me when I’m in a season to trust, be still, and wait. Amen.
Shawnelle Eliasen and her husband Lonny have been married for twenty-five years. They have five sons and raise their bevy of boys in an old Victorian near the Illinois banks of the Mississippi River. Their sons, Logan, Grant, Samuel, Gabriel, and Isaiah, range in age from twenty-one to six with Shawnelle home teaching the youngest three.
Shawnelle has been writing for six years, contributing regularly to Guideposts magazine, Daily Guideposts devotional and other inspirational publications. She would say that life with her men moves faithfully, on fast forward. But it’s her heart’s desire, her passionate prayer, to see God’s goodness and glory in the fullness of her days. She longs to see Him in the unexpected moments, unexpected places, changing the ordinary to extraordinary and bringing quiet, sustaining grace.