My 1998 Jeep Cherokee is a slightly beaten-up adventure vehicle. It isn’t anything beautiful or fancy. In fact, sometimes it doesn’t start. The ceiling is littered with the signatures and doodles of my people, and the radio adds a static effect to my favorite music station.
But when I drive in it, I feel like I am experiencing a story. I wonder who drove it before I did. I wonder what faraway places this Jeep has been. I wonder what stories this Jeep has witnessed. Has it watched the early days of young love? Has it gone off-roading in the mountains? Has it fostered friendship and laughter? Has it carried families across the country?
I imagine it has thousands of stories to tell. That’s why I love it. I love feeling like I am a part of a narrative that has been going on for years, and I am just one chapter of the grand story.
We were created to be drawn to great stories.
I love many of the names for God. I love that He is my Father, my Redeemer, my Shelter, my Shepherd. But one of my favorite descriptions of God is “Author” (Hebrews 12:2, kjv). I love picturing Him writing, crafting, designing, and pouring over my story. I love imagining the moment He decided where I would live, who my parents would be, what I would be good at, the color of my eyes, who would be my best friend, where I would travel, what my laugh would sound like, what I would dream about, what would make me jump for excitement, which foods I would love, the places I would explore, and who I would want around me on the day I breathe my last breath.
I think when I get to heaven, I will sit down with God say, “You are brilliant! I can’t believe the way you crafted my story. There were so many crazy turns, so many plot twists, so many times you were patient with me, so many unexpected joys, so many difficult seasons, so many fun times that led me here to Your side. What a beautiful story You wrote.”
And I love imagining Him looking back at me and saying, “Thanks for saying yes. You lived a beautiful story that magnified my name.”
We often hear the stories of incredible men and women who were called to enter prolonged seasons of waiting with little clarity and no apparent purpose. We read these stories and tell our friends, “Keep waiting. All in God’s timing. If you’re waiting, you’re in good company.” And that is true.
Abraham waited for a hundred years to have a son. Moses waited in the desert for forty years before God spoke to him through the burning bush. The disciples were told to wait in Jerusalem until the Holy Spirit came to them. Paul was left waiting for freedom in a prison cell.
These people waited with astonishing courage and incredible tenacity. Waiting is important and holy and sacred and beautiful. But waiting is not the end of the story. The Bible is not just a book about people who waited. It is a wild narrative, full of dramatic stories of people with extraordinary bravery, people who took action even when they didn’t have the full picture.
Esther didn’t wait for someone else to stand up for her people. She didn’t create a pros-and-cons list to decide what to do. She chose to stand before the King. She took action.
Joshua didn’t laugh at God when he was asked to walk around the walls of Jericho. He didn’t schedule a meeting with his mentor or pray about it for three years. He just heard the voice of God and started walking. He took action.
David didn’t read a stack full of books about how to operate a sling shot when he heard the threats of Goliath. He didn’t pass the job on to someone who appeared more qualified.
He just said yes to God and grabbed five smooth stones. He took action.
Sometimes we are called to wait. And that is good and right. And sometimes we need to take time to pray, to reflect, and to pursue the wisdom of trusted voices in our lives. But is it possible for us to absorb the stories of waiting so deeply into our souls that we assume we will always be called to wait?
Maybe, sometimes, we just need to act. Maybe we just need to take the step. Maybe we need to stop waiting for a sign to appear in the sky and just do the thing we know we were born to do. Sometimes we need to say yes to the grander story God longs to write in our lives.
You know you have a passion for women to be empowered in places where they have no access to education, but you haven’t started using your skills to provide a solution.
You know you have a passion to love on high schoolers, but you haven’t started serving in student ministry because you’re waiting for less busy season.
You know you have a passion to advocate for unity and justice in the face of racism, but you haven’t reached across divides to create relationships with people who look different than you.
You know you have a passion to see children find safe homes, but you haven’t welcomed a child from the foster-care system into your own home.
You know you have a passion to invest in young men growing up without fathers, but you haven’t ever taken the time to meet with them.
When we’re perpetually waiting, we’re not thriving. We’re caught in the “one day” cycle. We say we’ll do it “one day.” But years go by, and the “one day” dream becomes this crazy idea we had when we were younger, not a reality that could affect countless lives.
What are you putting off with the excuse of waiting?
What if the ideas, plans, hopes, and dreams we have within us aren’t mistakes or something that will happen when we think we’re “ready”? What if, instead, they are glimpses of the person God has created us to be and the story He has called us to live?
What if God is handing us wild ideas, big plans, remarkable hopes, and imaginative dreams and is waiting to see what we will do with everything He’s placed within us? What if our ideas could change our culture? What if our plans could transform lives? What if our hopes could inspire the people around us? What if our dreams could usher justice into our world?
Your life is not just about existing. Your story is not just about surviving. You are invited to discover the things in this world that set your heart and soul on fire. You are invited to thrive. You are invited to build a life that matters. But it isn’t someone else’s responsibility to do this. It’s yours. It’s mine. It’s ours together.