The wording in the email was very matter-of-fact. “Please be aware that the average time for interstate deliveries is ten to fourteen days.”
“Oh.” We hadn’t expected that. I’d figured our gear would leave Tassie one day and arrive in Sydney within the week. We’d have a few days to unwind at my parents’ home before it was time to start setting up our own. Perfect.
That wasn’t to be. First of all, the house we were going to rent wouldn’t be available for five days after our arrival. Then there was the delivery setback. My husband and I talked through our options and came up with a brilliant solution. “We’ll buy a van, load up our essentials, stay at Mum and Dad’s for a few extra days then ‘camp’ at the house for a couple of weeks. It’ll be fine. We’ll live simply – a bit like being on holidays.”
So that’s what we did. We bought a van, loaded as much as we could squeeze into it and made our merry way up to Sydney, confident all would be well. Five days later we moved into our rental house, ready to make do with our limited supplies.
Two weeks passed without any word from the movers. On phoning, we discovered our boxes wouldn’t leave Tasmania until the company had another consignment destined for the same location. In other words they needed someone else’s gear to fill the remaining space in the container before sending it across Bass Strait.
At that point they had no such order.
We’d been savouring the chance to relax before the major unpack but doing without was becoming difficult. What about the games we liked to play in the holidays? The books we were planning to read? Our important documents? And what about the everyday items – the cake tins, sewing supplies, the furnishings that make a place feel like home? I’ve lost count of the number of times someone has asked where a particular item is, only to be told, “Sorry, it’s packed.”
That wasn’t all.
There was also the issue of the car – or lack of it. We’d sold our sedans before moving and planned to buy a new one in our first few days in Sydney. It sounded so simple. But nothing we tried seemed to work. My husband trawled the internet for hours, searching for the perfect family sedan. Some sellers responded to his initial questions then failed to follow through. Others never replied. Finally he found a good deal and keen seller. It took a while to settle on a date to meet. Then the day before our planned meeting the car’s windscreen was hit by a stone . . . and cracked. On meeting day the engine started making strange, grinding noises.
“I’ll get it sorted as quickly as I can and let you know how it goes,” the owner said.
“Okay.” We agreed to wait. The car was just right for us and would be fine once those repairs were done. Surely that wouldn’t take long. Surely. We hadn’t considered that it was December 26th, midway through the prime week that Aussie tradesmen lay down their tools and head for the beach.
One week stretched into two and we battled on using our two-seater van and borrowing our son’s car when we could. For a little while we had the use of a kind relative’s dual cab ute. Many days were spent bored and restless at home, longing for the freedom to come and go as we pleased. But we were powerless to change the situation.
And there was more.
The night before we left Tasmania I developed a cough, an irritation which grew deeper and more aggressive despite my efforts to fight it. Right in the midst of our other battles, that cough had me wafting, dazed, between choking fits through the day, avoiding close contact with people and waking every hour through the night. I struggled through three weeks without relief before we discovered it was a serious illness that could keep me coughing for up to three months. Thankfully, I’m no longer contagious and have managed to reduce the symptoms a little. Still it’s cast a shadow over my days, making me cautious about what I eat, where I go and how much I do – yet another challenge to endure.
Sometimes it’s been almost funny to reflect on all the obstacles we’ve been facing. Almost. It seems absurd that we have to wade through the same kind of waiting process in so many areas. Didn’t we do enough waiting last year as we sought God’s direction for this move? Wasn’t it time for everything to fall into place now? We’d followed His instructions and left our former lives behind. Didn’t He know we needed these things – our boxes, a car, my health – to be able to enter into the new life He has for us here?
Many times as I sat quiet with God, those questions echoed from my heart to His.
Why God? Why does it have to be so hard?
Every time, His response was the same.
Trust Me. I’ve got you. I’m working for your good – in the waiting.
He’s got us firmly in His grip. He’s working for our good – right now. In the waiting. Not in spite of it, but through it.
One particularly difficult day he whispered the words of Job 23:10 to my heart.
“But He knows the way that I take;
when He has tested me,
I will come forth as gold.”
God knows what we’re going through. He knows. He is fully aware there is testing in the waiting. He knows how painful it is, the intensity of the fire, how much we wish this process would just end! But He loves us – too much to let us escape the flame early. Like a master craftsman patiently watching over the precious metal He’s refining, He is purifying our hearts, sifting our motives, shaping us into the people He knows we need to be for what’s ahead.
His word brought comfort. He would bring us through.
He also gave me a promise:
As you choose to wait and trust and yield and endure, you will know Me bringing you forth – purified, quiet of heart, confident in My sufficiency. So sit tight, continue to fix your hope on My goodness and watch for My release and provision…
Wait. Trust. Yield. Endure.
And you will be pure. Quiet. Confident.
Hmm. It’s not easy to ‘sit tight’ when we’re in the fire. We wriggle and squirm, trying frantically to figure out a way of escape. But if we’ll just stop fighting and fix our eyes on the Master craftsman then at the right time – His time – release will come.
And the end result – the purity and strength He produces in us – will make us thankful for the process, despite the pain.