Editor’s Note: Overseas Lay Missioner Julia Pinto reflects on the hidden blessings she’s discovered during a season of waiting as she prepares to serve on the U.S.-Mexico border.
Holdups are often perceived as torment, especially in the context of a culture of instant gratification. We would rather not wait longer for our package or dinner to arrive. On top of that, I was raised by proactive doers; why do tomorrow what can be done today? Time is money. We will never get back the time lost.
So how could a delay be a good thing?
If God allowed Abraham and Sarah to wait decades for a child and the Israelites to wait a millennia for the Messiah, maybe there are blessings hidden in the time that I often label as wasted or aimless. Perhaps God wants us to learn or gain something in the pause – besides patience, of course.
I reflected this morning on the benefit of waiting nine months for a baby to be born. Imagine with me what life would be like if a human child was fully developed after only two months of gestation! I do not think most people would be mentally or emotionally ready to receive their child at that point. Nine months gives the parents time to realize and accept the coming changes (and even then nine months may not be enough).
I will be heading to the US-Mexico border at the end of February, about a month later than originally planned. Alas, my advent continues even after Christmas, with the hopeful longing for what is off in the distance. Yes, after discerning mission for these last nine years, a part of me is disappointed that my ministries and community life at the border are further off than I had thought. So much greater, though, is my joy in the building anticipation and time well-spent with loved ones in Texas before I depart for the next two years, as well as the peace that comes with having extra time. This “delay” is allowing me to slow down and reflect on the Holy Spirit’s movement in my life up to this point and in the present moment, which then helps me to process what lies before me and how God will still be with me then.
I would like to share a few simple things I have recently learned:
- Jigsaw puzzles at midnight can surprisingly be the foundation for a deep experience with Jesus.
- Difficult tasks, especially financial ones, are way less daunting when I begin by praying for strength and assistance.
- Playing board games with my family can help me see each of these lovely humans with new eyes.
- Running two miles on a track is much more enjoyable when I realize that the God of the universe is running beside me.
- I really like gardening with my mom in her backyard!
- There is profound joy in praying for people around the world at 3am when I cannot sleep. (I rarely do this.)
Jesus knew I needed this time to spend with Him for this little seed to sprout and grow stronger. I could not expect to bear fruit if I was still but a seedling when I reached Arizona. Thus, I am choosing to accept this standby as a beautiful gift that I did not know I needed.
Reflection Question: Fallow ground is a plot of land that is left bare for some time so that it can rest and replenish its nutrients; if you find yourself in a fallow time, how can you be more open to, and recognize, the transformation happening within yourself?