I hate waiting. Yet in one area of my life I have found myself waiting for a long, long, LONG time. (That was a LONG time if you couldn’t tell – HA!)
As I have grown in my relationship with the Lord, waiting in this one area of my life has taken on new meaning and has become something sacred. When I was younger, however, I would ask myself things like,
What’s wrong with me?
Is God punishing me for something I did?
Truth is, nothing was wrong with me and I wasn’t being punished. But it took years of hearing His truth to get me to believe that.
Recently, in pondering my own journey of waiting, I’ve thought a lot about these children:
They have been waiting for over a year  for a sponsor. Looking into their little faces I have wondered if they have asked themselves the same questions I have asked myself.
Do they question their value based on whether they have a sponsor or not? Do they compare themselves to friends at the child development center who have sponsors and find themselves wanting?
And what about children who have a sponsor but are waiting on God to answer different prayers? Prayers for an alcoholic parent to become sober, or for a loved one to find Jesus.
As they wait for God to answer their prayers, do they also ask themselves if something is wrong with them or if they are being punished?
I hope not. Our staff certainly does all they can to make sure every child feels loved, whether that child has a sponsor or doesn’t. But sometimes, no matter what others tell us, the lies we experience while waiting speak so loudly they drown out the truth.
Proverbs 13:12 says,
Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.
Pondering that verse over the years has made me realize that while yes, hope deferred makes a heart sick, we can be a “tree of life” to others during their time of deferred hope.
So, how do we encourage one another in seasons of waiting?
For children waiting for a sponsor, the most obvious way to encourage them is to become a sponsor !
For a sponsored child who is waiting for prayers to be answered, shower that child with God’s truth in your letters and notes .
And for friends and family, often the best way to offer support during those heartsick times is to simply just sit next to loved ones and let them know they are not alone in their longing.
We all have the ability to offer encouragement. So what are other ways we can be a “tree of life” to those whose hope is deferred?