Once upon a time there was a young girl whose daddy worked downtown in the big city where they lived. Although the family had a car, the young girl’s daddy preferred to leave it for his wife to use during the day. Meanwhile he took the bus to his job every morning, and back home again in the early evening.
The young girl hated the bus. Its lurching stops and starts and diesel fumes gave her motion sickness. And she wasn’t too fond of sitting shoulder-to-shoulder with some of the characters on public transportation. She didn’t know how her father could stand it. As children tend to do, she didn’t actually realize that he was choosing to make a sacrifice for the sake of his family.
What she did know however was that sometimes, she enjoyed doing something special when her father came home in the evening. She would stand on the sidewalk in front of her home – and wait for him.
The bus would drop her father off on the busy avenue a full block away from her house. She wouldn’t be able to see him right away. There were often other people out on the sidewalks - children playing, adults walking. But she would stand there, her attention totally focused on the end of the block, waiting to see him round the corner.
Her dog waited with her, standing patiently on his leash. Sometimes her daddy was delayed and she would walk back to her porch and sit there on the front steps for a while. But that wasn’t the best vantage point for spotting her father, and soon she’d return to the sidewalk. She didn’t play, or read, or call out to her friends. She’d simply stand with her gaze riveted on the end of the block – and wait.
For years I have struggled with trying to wait on God. Psalm 37:7 says, Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him. Psalm 46:10 says, “Be still, and know that I am God. But my efforts to do this have often looked like this:
I sit on my bed, working to corral my thoughts. I wonder if Jesus will mind if I sip a cup of tea while I wait. After all, we could be like old friends meeting at the coffee shop, although it would be a lot easier if He were actually sitting across from me. I decide I should probably concentrate on trying to picture Him. I close my eyes but pretty soon, I find myself getting sleepy. Since I’m already on the bed, I might as well lie down. Maybe He’ll come and talk to me in a dream.
Before you know it…zzzzzzz
I found myself going through just that routine the other day, when the Lord did two things. First He reminded me of a wonderful book called Sensible Shoes. It’s the story of four women on a spiritual retreat who learn very simple, yet profoundly fruitful ways of meeting with the Lord.
I felt led to engage in the prayer of releasing and receiving that’s described in the book. It’s a simple matter of thinking of the things that are worrying, troubling and distracting you. You imagine those things as being in your hands and as you name them, you turn your hands palm-side down, letting them go and giving them to God.
When Psalm 46:10 tells us “Be still, and know that I am God”, those words “Be still” are a translation of the Hebrew word raphah whose basic meaning is to relax the hands.
On this day, I had health issues on my mind, so I began by naming every body part that was giving me trouble, starting with my head and traveling down my body, turning my hands palm-side down as I turned each one over to God. The sensitive teeth; the nerves in my neck that had sent me to the chiropractor twice in one week; the pressure I was feeling in my sternum. And then, the unexpected happened. An overwhelming grief bubbled up from my heart and I began to sob over the loss of relationship I never had with my sister.
She would have turned 60 years old on Monday, but she passed away last year. And a lifetime of never “getting along” marked our association to the end. As I sobbed, I heard the words in my mind, “Let it go. Let go of the sadness over the relationship you never had. Give that loss to Me and I will give you something better.”
In the prayer of releasing and receiving, you’re encouraged to turn your hands palm- side up when you feel ready to receive what God has for you. So after handing my sorrow over to Him with both hands. I waited – my hands facing upward.
And the Lord allowed something amazing to happen.
My eyes were still closed and I had the quickest picture flash through my mind of a gate – a Heaven’s Gate. And then, though I didn’t see her, I had the sense of my sister coming to embrace me. She put something in my hand, and I had the sense that it was a key.
I opened my eyes, preparing to look up every Scripture that pertained to “keys” in the Bible, but as I reached for that book, my gaze fell immediately upon a prophetic word I’d copied after hearing it on September 22 - Yom Kippur:
“It’s a season of angelic instruction. “’I’m giving skill, wisdom, instruction, understanding – keys for breakthrough, keys for the supernatural – a season for angelic visitation – keys that will unlock doors – unlock nations.’”
Keys too that will open the way to meeting with God. Because you see, that memory of the young girl waiting for her daddy is the key I needed for how to be still and wait on God. I can remember exactly how I felt - my single-minded devotion, my undeterred anticipation for the first glimpse of my father coming home. I wasn’t bored. I didn’t have to work anything up or talk myself into doing it. I wanted to do it. And every time I did, I was rewarded by his appearing, and the sheer joy of letting our dog streak to the end of the block to bring him home.
But there’s another side to this picture – my Daddy’s side. I know how it would warm my heart to have my daughter waiting for me with such undeterred eagerness. How much did it thrill my Daddy’s heart?
Remember when I said that he made a sacrifice to leave the car for our family’s use while he was at work? Just as with most loving parents, he made numerous other sacrifices for us as well. But then I think of the sacrifice my God made for me, laying down His own life so that in accepting Him, I can live forever as the beloved daughter of the Father and the Bride of Christ.
And if my earthly Dad was thrilled to have me waiting on his appearing, how much must it thrill the heart of my Father God to have me wait on Him the same way?
It seems that the key I felt my sister put in my hand has given me a wonderful glimpse from my childhood of how to do just that.
To read more about how God communicates with us everyday, pick up a copy of
It's Not Gas...It's God! the Book
Available on the Product Page of this website