This is from my morning devotional, the classic My Utmost for His Highest:
"There are times when you cannot understand why you cannot do what you want to do. When God brings the blank space, see that you do not fill it in, but wait. The blank space may come in order to teach you what sanctification means, or it may come after sanctification to teach you what service means. Never run before God's guidance. If there is the slightest doubt, then He is not guiding. Whenever there is doubt -- don't."
Dear Oswald really nailed me here. There is much I desire to do, especially physically, that I just can't do. So I've often "filled in" the blank space of my life instead of waiting to see what God has for me.
I've been in a blank space for nearly five years; on January 11 it will be five years since the doctor spoke those words: "fibromyalgia," which were then followed by "rheumatoid arthritis" and "chronic fatigue syndrome." I went from jogging through my town to needing a wheelchair in four months. I went from being a carefree, joyful person to being a pain-ridden, joyful person, but the joy is the gift of God; it has nothing to do with me. I am only the recipient of His grace. Yes, there have been low times when joy makes itself scarce, but that's usually my own fault because I'm looking too closely at myself instead of broadening my focus so I could glimpse joy waiting in the wings.
But WAITING. What a huge thing it is! It's especially hard in these days of fast food and instant gratification to think about waiting. We chafe at waiting, whether it be at a stoplight or in an emergency room. But waiting is what both Advent and Lent teach us: to wait with expectation, to wait with joy, to wait for Him to speak, to reveal Himself, to perhaps even put a stop to our waiting.
I love the twenty-seventh Psalm that concludes: "Wait on the Lord; be of good courage, and He shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the Lord." (KJV)
The NIV version of the same verse reads: "Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord."
That's where my joy comes from: from waiting for my Lord and my God. So I wait, full of the strength He gives and "taking heart" -- which means to me to be joyful in the midst of all that's going on -- and yes, WAIT.
Happy Eleventh Day of Christmas! And enjoy the WAIT.