As a child growing up on a farm, there were plenty of opportunities to fix fence, split wood and find lost cows. At times the cattle proved too adept at breaking through or jumping over the fences, so we lengthened posts and installed more levels of rails. One day as my father and I worked on the fence, he came alongside me and showed me what he needed me to do. He measured a section of fencepost, marked it with the point of a 40 penny nail and lifted the heavy end of a plank while pushing it up to the mark on the post.
“All I’m asking you to do is hold it to this mark,” he said. “After I level out the other end and nail it, I’ll come back down here and nail this end.” So I stood there, with my back to his work, staring out into the pasture, holding the plank.
The first few moments weren’t bad. Then time seemed to wear on…and on. I became tired and distracted. Before long, my father was standing beside me looking down at the post.
“What are you doing?” he asked.
“You’ve let the plank slip.”
He was right. In my time of distracted waiting, I had allowed the plank to slide down the post and away from the mark. He lifted it back up and said, “Hold whatcha’ got. That’s all you have to do for now. I’m going to work on the other end, then I will come back down to this end, and we’ll nail it up. I haven’t forgotten about you. Just hold whatcha’ got.”
I think about this at times when I’m shouldering a load, a responsibility, a task that God has given me. There are times when it seems like he places it into our care, and then he seems to step back and take his time working elsewhere. We grow tired, and impatient while we wait on him…and we slip away from his mark on our post. It’s at those times that he draws alongside and says, “I haven’t forgotten about you. Hold whatcha’ got.” We can trust him in these moments, after all, he did make some promises:
Wait on the Lord; be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart; wait, I say, on the Lord! (Psalm 27:14).
And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. (Galatians 6:9).
For he himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Hebrews 13:5b).
If your burden is great, “hold whatcha’ got” until he lifts it. Concern yourself with the mark, the standard, that God has laid out for you. He hasn’t forgotten you; he may be working on the other end, and that might take some time. No matter how long it may take, God knows what he is doing, and he knows right where you are.
We will wait for God to work with gladness of heart as we rest in his unshakable love for us. – Psalm 33:20-22 Our soul waits for the LORD; he is our help and our shield. For our heart is glad in him, because we trust in his holy name. Let your steadfast love, O LORD, be upon us, even as we hope in you.
We will trust that God hears us when we pray to him during our times of waiting. – Micah 7:7 But as for me, I will look to the LORD; I will wait for the God of my salvation; my God will hear me.
We will wait for God with calm and resolute hope. – Psalm 62:5 For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from him.