I have a very demanding job, and sometimes I just need to turn my brain off. I am blessed to be able to run home most days for lunch and sometimes I just like to watch mindless TV to give my mind a break. A couple weeks ago, I sat down for lunch and opened up Netflix. I didn’t have much time, however my day had already been extra stressful and I wanted to be distracted. So, I hit play on “Friends”.
If you haven’t heard of Friends, it is a sitcom that was produced in the 1990’s. The show follows six young friends (Rachel, Monica, Phoebe, Chandler, Ross and Joey) who face life in New York.
When I hit play, the episode that played was “The One Where Rachel Has a Baby”. In this (honestly hilarious) episode, Rachel goes into labor. When Rachel gets to the hospital, more than a week overdue, she is frustrated to learn she will have to share a room with another pregnant woman. To her dismay, not only does she have to share the room with ONE pregnant woman, but she ends up sharing the room with FIVE other pregnant women. Each woman comes to the hospital in labor, and is placed in the room and then gets to deliver before Rachel. Five women who come in AFTER Rachel, give birth BEFORE her. Rachel whines and cries the entire episode and when she finally is ready to push she says something snarky to the sixth pregnant woman who is on her way into the room.
So this is where I get honest. After 10 years of waiting for a baby, there are several times I have felt like Rachel. I have labored in prayer for a baby, and yet I have watched friend after friend not only have their first baby, but finish their families with several children before me. I have gone through seasons of bitterness, jealousy and anger. I have cried frustrated tears and wanted to give up. This isn’t the first time I have watched the episode and thought “I get you Rachel, it’s not fair”.
However this day was different. As I watched the episode, I realized something I have never realized before. At the end of the episode, Rachel has a baby. Now stay with me, I obviously always knew Rachel had a baby, however watching Rachel have her baby really hit me. When Rachel went into labor, the promise that her baby was coming was evident. What would it have been like if she would have stopped whining about the labor and celebrated what the labor means. Those labor pains meant a baby was coming! Sure, the comedic element that comes with a sitcom would have been completely lost, but I think a bigger lesson can be found here.
I know what it feels like to labor in prayer for a miracle. Ten years we have waited for a baby. Ten years we have prayed. Ten years we have believed. It’s been hard. Really hard. But what if I stopped focusing on the time waiting and started realizing that the labor means something – a miracle is coming.
I wouldn’t typically encourage people to watch sitcoms to hear from Jesus, however, the timing of this is so important. At the time, I was reading a book by Annie F. Downs called “Looking for Lovely”. In this book, Annie encourages the reader to be expectant for Jesus to show up. Instead of waiting, she encourages the reader to watch for Him. This book has convicted me. Am I looking for Him everywhere?
Last summer, I flew to Denver, CO for work. One of my most favorite and absolute snarkiest friends decided to meet me at airport and then fly home and spend the weekend with me. My amazing friend flew from her home to meet me at the airport in Denver. I was excited to hug her neck, so I texted her when I was on my way to the airport, when I arrived at the airport, when I was waiting for security, and when I got to the same terminal. My friend, didn’t sit in a corner waiting for me. She expectantly watched for me. The minute she saw me, she jumped up and ran to me. It’s one of my favorite memories.
Here’s the thing, waiting for miracles is similar. The Father is sending us “text messages” reminding us He is coming. He speaks through the Bible, a worship song, Broadway shows (The One True Lion King), and apparently episodes of Friends. What I am saying, is we don’t have to look far to see Him working.
One of my all time favorite verses is Psalms 27:13. It says this:
I am certain that I will see the Lord’s goodness
in the land of the living.
Here’s the thing about seeing things – we have to be watching. If my amazing friend wouldn’t have been watching her phone and then watching for me, she would have missed me. If we aren’t watching, we will miss Him when the song comes on the radio just for us. We will miss His promises in the rainbow. We will miss the reminders of who He is in the shows we watch. Jesus is showing up in little ways all around us every day, however we miss Him because we aren’t watching.
Let’s take this one step further. What if we stopped waiting for our miracles, and started expecting them? What if we were so excited miracles were on their way, we prepared for them. I will say it again, I know what it feels like to labor in prayer for a miracle. Ten years we have waited for a baby. Ten years we have prayed. Ten years we have believed. BUT the length of our wait doesn’t negate the fact that He is still coming. The promise hasn’t changed. Some day, I am going to hold my miracle baby, and I want to be able to tell them I expected them.
I don’t know what expectation looks like to you, but I want to encourage you to stop waiting for our God to show up, start being expectant. Start preparing, because He is coming. Start watching for Him. Isaiah 54:1-4 says this:
Sing, barren woman,
you who never bore a child;
burst into song, shout for joy,
you who were never in labor;
because more are the children of the desolate woman
than of her who has a husband,”
says the Lord.
Enlarge the place of your tent,
stretch your tent curtains wide,
do not hold back;
lengthen your cords,
strengthen your stakes.
For you will spread out to the right and to the left;
your descendants will dispossess nations
and settle in their desolate cities.
Do not be afraid; you will not be put to shame.
Do not fear disgrace; you will not be humiliated.