Juggling Tuna, Waiting on God

Remember that awful season of life when you were floundering around in Nowheresville, with no direction or purpose, feeling stalled and stuck?

Waiting on God, or anyone for that matter, is rarely fun. This week’s lectionary features both Isaiah 40 where “those who wait upon the Lord will rise up on eagles wings” and Jesus’ regular practice of retreating to a wilderness spot to wait on God in prayerful communion.

Today I happened upon one of the very first blog posts I ever published back in 2006. I had been wandering in the desert of emerging adulthood, vocationally blind or at least short-sighted for about 7 years through college and seminary education, trying to figure out my ministry calling. At last, I was starting to see a light ahead illuminating the kind of ministry God had been preparing me for all along. (By the way, this ministry was the Revolution in Mound, that also sowed the seeds of MainStreet several years later.)

That was a horrible season, and I am so glad to be in a different season of life where I am blessed to be doing the work God created me to do. But if you’re still in that place, clinging to Hebrews 11:1 with all your might, I pray you’ll soon get a small glimpse of the future joy that awaits. Yes, “Faith means putting our full confidence in the things we hope for, it means being certain of things we cannot see” (Heb. 11:1). But what a divine gift when you get a peek!

Warning: This was a rare moment of stream-of-consciousness “free writing” that turned out sounding both half-crazy yet strangely brilliant. So, hiding behind poetic license and in the spirit of just plain fun and silliness, here’s a throwback journal from a young Jeremy waiting on God and getting a cartoonish vision of a future of fulfilling ministry up around the bend. (Notice: I was ready and willing to do any task the Lord asked of me, no matter how absurd and crazy it might appear to others!)

“Talk about thunder claps intruding on a long period of silent prodding! I have been doubtfully and faithfully, anxiously and confidently, pursuing God’s calling in my life for about 7 years now. Through college and seminary (1998-2005), through thankless part-time jobs and little financial security, just trusting that all of this tedious laboring (school, lack of stable jobs, part time jobs I sometimes hate) would eventually lead to somewhere. It has been a long wait – not just sitting around – but a ‘preparatory wait’ for something I don’t yet see.

Like practicing juggling tuna cans for a seafood circus that doesn’t yet exist, I have been preparing for a ministry yet to be seen. I have been knocking on a door that I haven’t yet found, and God is finally beginning to reveal the doors and open them up. Out of the silent fog I am beginning to walk. In the distance, I can hear jubilant songs of opportunity playing and the shimmering lights of God’s carnival are beginning to shine through the rips and holes of a thick black veil. I’m walking toward something exciting, and I am more than ready to juggle the stinky fish when I find the Big Tent!”

-Me, 2006

In hindsight, planting a new church from the ground up has certainly had its circus-like moments, and I’ve repeatedly made a clown of myself trying to juggle too many things at once! Happily, the work has never stunk like a freshly opened can of tuna!


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