June 19, 2017
but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint. (RSV)
We all wait in this life. As I write, I am sitting at the DMV office waiting to renew my license. As I look around I see a variety of reactions to this seemingly unending wait. I see angry faces, fidgeting, restlessness, and I even hear audible complaining about the wait, those commiserating with others about how awful this experience is. Oh, I’m not judging. Trust me. I’ve reacted in a similar way before. I get it. It’s just that today, this is far from the wait that is on my heart and mind.
Today I am more aware of the Spanish word for to wait…”esperar”. Esperar both means to wait and to hope.
Today I am hoping in the Lord. I am hoping in the Lord for a medical miracle for a dear 13 year old boy who is like a nephew to me. He lies in a hospital bed, unconscious from an arteriovenous malformation (AVM) in the center of his brain which caused unexpected bleeding and swelling a few days ago. His parents, siblings, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and so many more wait. We wait because there is nothing more we can do. We wait for him to wake up … to be completely healed. We hope. We know that the medical team can do no more for him. We wait…for the Lord. We look to Him for help, expecting deliverance, putting trust in Him. Many Bible versions translate the word “wait” in this verse from Isaiah as “trust”. Yes. Those who trust in the Lord…still hope…and wait.
It is hard to keep hope in the face of our circumstances…knowing that though we pray, we may not receive what we ask for. Yet, I think as I wait, I am being urged to not focus on the outcome, but rather HOW I am waiting. Like those here at the DMV waiting their turn in line? I suppose, if I’m honest, I am waiting for the Lord much like what I see here. I am anxious. I admit I have been angry. I am fidgety. I am impatient -certainly I have prayed for this wait to be over and for God to show His might and power and heal him NOW. I do not like this waiting. It is hard to wait. I feel useless in the waiting, even as I pray.
As I read the verse from Isaiah, in this time of waiting, I do not feel my strength or my patience or my faith being renewed. I feel no sense of renewal at all. I do not feel any of what it promises. No eagles wings, no running without being weary, not even walking without fainting. I just feel empty. Tired. Spent. So “over” this wait.
I read it again. And again. And again. This time though, I backed up a few verses.
Isaiah 40: 27-31 Why would you ever complain, O Jacob, or whine, Israel, saying, “God has lost track of me. He doesn’t care what happens to me”? Don’t you know anything? Haven’t you been listening? God doesn’t come and go. God lasts. He’s Creator of all you can see or imagine. He doesn’t get tired out, doesn’t pause to catch his breath. And he knows everything, inside and out.
He energizes those who get tired, gives fresh strength to dropouts. For even young people tire and drop out, young folk in their prime stumble and fall. But those who wait upon God get fresh strength. They spread their wings and soar like eagles, they run and don’t get tired, they walk and don’t lag behind. (The Message)
I may not FEEL the promises of waiting on the Lord now – but I know I have a choice to make. How will I continue to wait for my Lord? Impatiently, fidgety, restless, crabby or whiny? Or… do I choose to focus on waiting as hoping, though my heart is breaking and I am crying? Do I choose to continue to believe in His goodness despite the circumstances? Do I continue to praise Him in (not for!) all things? Because don’t I know anything? Haven’t I been listening? God LASTS … and he knows EVERYTHING, inside and out.
In the photo, I am in the hospital waiting in the quiet room. Waiting to go see my precious one. As I was looking out over the city below, I was somewhat frustrated by the windows at first. Notice they do not allow for a perfectly clear view? Yeah. We don’t get to see everything with a clear view. Some parts are blocked entirely from our vision, others we can only see a small glimpse, sometimes, though light shines, it seems so dark. Only God knows the plans He has for this precious little one. Only God knows why we have to wait. Only God’s timing and purposes are perfect. Only God has the full view.
When I remember that he knows EVERYTHING, that He lasts, He’s Creator of all…my faith IS being renewed, despite the wait…or perhaps, BECAUSE of it.
June 26, 2017
So what do you do when the wait is over…and the outcome is not what you had longed for, prayed for, hoped for? When there are no answers? When nothing makes sense? When hearts are hurting? When I feel anything but a renewal of faith? I look at the bracelet on my wrist. They had them at the funeral. It is my dear one’s favorite color, yellow. It is printed with Psalm 56:3. “When I am afraid, I put my trust in You.” (NIV) Yes. Those that wait for the Lord…Those that TRUST the Lord…that is what faith is….trusting that despite the blocked view, the darkness, the ache, the doubt, the struggle and pain, the seemingly unanswered prayers, the questions…that He still knows everything, that He is good, that He is creator of all and that He can take all of wherever I find myself in the moment. So what do you do when a particular wait is over? Give it all to Him, as the pastor said to do “raw and unfiltered”, and trust that He can and will restore faith.