On Assigning Motive

I have written so many posts on waiting and on hope deferred.  Today, I want to approach waiting in a new way.

I am waiting to hear back from a job interview I had 10 days ago.  I waited a full week from the invitation to the interview; now I’m waiting to hear whether or not I got the job.  I was told that I would hear either way within two weeks.  It’s been almost that long, and each day seems to get longer and longer as I wait for that elusive phone call or email.

I used to wait well.  I used to be able to trust God and put my faith in Him and quote Scripture with the best of them.  God has never failed me yet.  He has never proven Himself unfaithful to His Word.  So why is it that the longer a trial lasts, the harder it becomes to trust God?  Why is it that while I can look back on years of God’s faithfulness in trials and in waiting, I find the waiting and the trusting even harder?

My mind cannot stop thinking about this potential job.  Why haven’t I heard back yet?  Are they continuing to interview people?  Maybe I am their second choice…perhaps they’ve already made someone a job offer but it hasn’t been accepted.  So I wait.  And I assign motive and reason and concoct elaborate scenarios in my mind as to why I have not heard back yet.

Today I was reminded of a time in church several years ago.  At the end of the service, the pastor set aside a special time for our church to lay hands on and pray for those who were sick or caretakers.  The pastor then asked anyone who identified with his description to raise his or her hand, instructing people around those with raised hands to form small groups for prayer.

I glanced over to Ben, waiting for his lead.  He did not raise his hand.  I wanted to raise mine, but couldn’t get past the fact that my very ill husband was not identifying himself as such.  So many thoughts ran through my mind.  “He’s tired of being labeled as ill,” I thought.  “Perhaps he doesn’t want to distract from others who are ill, so he is taking a step back so that others can be prayed for.”  Then I wondered if maybe he had stopped thinking of himself as sick, since it had been several months since his last seizure.  My brain went into overdrive trying to determine why my husband didn’t raise his hand for prayer.

Later, in the car on the way home, I gently prodded Ben for his reasons.  “Why didn’t you raise your hand to be prayed for today?” I asked, waiting for a deep, thoughtful response.

His answer?  “I wasn’t really paying attention.  I guess I missed it.”

I actually laughed.  It had never even occurred to me that his mind may have been drifting (whose hasn’t in church at some point!).  I had spent so much time assigning motive to his lack of hand-raising that I missed out on a powerful time of prayer.  And right now, I am spending too much time thinking about motive — God’s and the company where I want to work — that I am missing the life around me.  I am missing opportunities to reach out to others, to grow in my faith, to pray, and to teach my children what it means when the waiting is hard.

Lord, please help me not to miss out on opportunities to see where you ARE working because I am waiting for you to work in the ways that I want.  Please help me not to assign motive, but to wait patiently, knowing that you hear my cry and even now, whether I realize it or not, You are responding with love and care.


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