As you walk into the room, you notice a distinct feel. The room is a small room- its just large enough to fit a long table, a couple of cabinets and a few uncomfortable chairs. The walls are painted white as if to give the impression of cleanliness, except of course for the old tile that is on the floor. The floor tiles have a certain school meets hospital look about them. When you sit on the table, paper crinkling underneath, you hear the door shut. The door, although a light door, sounds of heaviness. It shuts with a roar and a seemingly endless echo. Suddenly the waiting game has been ushered in with a roar but continues with silence. As you wait for what seems to be hours, you are helpless. The whole time you begin to wonder, why can’t the doctor be on time for their appointment. A minute turns to two and ten minutes turns to twenty. The passing time accentuates your lack of control and inability to do anything other than wait.
We’ve all been there- helplessly waiting for the doctor, the job, graduation, that last bit of tooth paste to be released from the toothpaste tube, a diagnosis, the promotion, a spouse, a baby, a friend, retirement or financial freedom. The possibilities of what we wait for are endless. As my family and friends could attest, I am not a patient waiter. I am a person who likes to be active, who likes to make things happen. I see my ability to organize and lead, or make things happen, as gifts from God. Waiting, feels to me, is the exact opposite of making things happen. A person like me feels that waiting is equivalent to suffering. Therefore, I wrestle with the gifts that God has given me and the reality that God at times requires us to wait. In fact I understand that waiting can be a valuable tool. It can strengthen our faith in God, in people or situations. Waiting can remind us that we are not ultimately in control. Waiting can increase our influence and develop our character in profound ways.
As I continue to wrestle with the balance of waiting and doing, I’m curious to hear about a how you have dealt with waiting? Has there been a time in your life that waiting has strengthened your relationships with God or others?
I remain confident of this:
I will see the goodness of the LORD
in the land of the living.
Wait for the LORD;
be strong and take heart
and wait for the LORD.
Hear my words, LORD!
Consider my groans!
Pay attention to the sound of my cries,
my king and my God,
because I am praying to you!
LORD, in the morning you hear my voice.
In the morning I lay it all out before you.
Then I wait expectantly.
What if we all gave God our first moments everyday and then waited expectantly for His presence? I imagine we would see His moving more clearly throughout our days, weeks, months, years and entire life.
In what ways have you recently seen God move in your life and in this world?
I serve. Why, I do not know.
People seek me out. Why, I do not know.
They feel I have the ears to hear. Why, I do not know.
They feel I have the words to say. Why, I do not know.
Often I fear, I’ll fail them. Why, I do not know.
Often I fear, I’ll lead them astray. Why, I do not know.
Of all I do not know, I know this.
God’s grace pushes me to serve.
God’s grace pushes others to me.
God’s grace nudges me to listen.
God’s grace nudges me to speak.
God’s grace redeems me from failure.
God’s grace redeems others from my misguidance.
Of all I know, I know this.
God’s grace is life.
Life is God’s grace.
Recently I have found myself deeply moved and touched by the words of songs. I have decided that I would share a few songs in hopes that they may move your spirit as they have moved mine. May you reflect, lament, allow an impression to be made on your heart and then rejoice over the words that you are about to read.
How deep the Father’s love for us,
How vast beyond all measure
That He should give His only Son
To make a wretch His treasure
How great the pain of searing loss,
The Father turns His face away
As wounds which mar the chosen One,
Bring many sons to glory
Behold the Man upon a cross,
My sin upon His shoulders
Ashamed I hear my mocking voice,
Call out among the scoffers
It was my sin that left Him there
Until it was accomplished
His dying breath has brought me life
I know that it is finished
I will not boast in anything
No gifts, no power, no wisdom
But I will boast in Jesus Christ
His death and resurrection
Why should I gain from His reward
I cannot give an answer
But this I know with all my heart
His wounds have paid my ransom
He left them! They were desperate, in pain and many of them had been suffering for years on end. Yet despite their great need Jesus left them. I like many people, struggle at times trying to figure out why Jesus doesn’t heal everyone. I can especially imagine how much more I would struggle with it if I were facing a situation in which I needed a miracle.
In John 5 we see a story of Jesus healing a man who has been an “invalid for thirty-eight years.” The invalid man had been sitting around a pool of water for a very long time hoping for a chance to make it into the water at the right moment so that he could be healed. There would have been many people sitting around the pool of water- all of whom would be waiting for their opportune moment to have their pain washed away by a miracle. One ordinary day Jesus came along and commanded that the man of our story, the invalid, get up and walk. The invalid man, now healed, does exactly as Jesus commanded. You could probably imagine how ecstatic the man must have felt. For thirty-eight years he had been suffering and waiting and now he has experienced a miracle from God.
What an amazing miracle story of Jesus and God’s power. In the midst of this great story we forget about all the people that Jesus left behind. There were more people at the pool that day that needed healing. Jesus left the sick and hurting people behind. On that day, they did not receive a miracle. We see this so many times in the world around us- through the passing of loved ones, wars, famines, natural disasters, broken relations and so many other painful experiences. God does not and will not heal everyone. Miracles, in this lifetime, will not happen for everyone. What do we do with this? How do we manage such a seemingly harsh or cold reality?
I would suggest first that God desires faith from us. As you may remember from my earlier posts, faith is trusting that God is God and that God will do what He says He will do. So we should have faith in God that He will do what He promises us. It does not mean that God will not do more than He promises but it does mean that we cannot expect more than the promises. If we expected more from God than He promises then it would be like placing an order and paying for a Big Mac Sandwich but expecting to receive a Big Mac Meal. God can, for reasons unknown to us, step beyond what He promises and give or do more than His initial promise but it is not something we can expect of Him. So we should have faith, but may we not put our preconceived, unwarranted expectations on God.
Although it is important that we do not place unwarranted expectations on God it is equally important for us to understand that God can empathize with us. In Hebrews 4:15 we see that Jesus, our High Priest or mediator between us and the Father, has experienced all pain, suffering and temptation that we could every experience. He can empathize with us! He understands your pain. Immediately following that verse we see in Hebrews 4:16 that God says we can approach the throne of grace with confidence. We should approach God knowing that He understands our pain and will genuinely listen to us. He will comfort us and we will receive mercy and grace.
I will conclude with two things: first I believe that miracles do happen. I believe they happen all the time. The fact that we are alive and breathing I believe is itself a miracle. God created the natural order so it only seems right that God has the ability to alter or break into the natural order of the world to perform a miracle. He is the Creator and therefore not bound by natural laws. Secondly I would say that God, for anyone who so desires to accept it, offers us a promise of a new creation in which tears and pain no longer exist. How beautiful and amazing. Read the Scripture below- knowing that it is a promise from God. If you have had an experience or encounter with a miracle then I would love to read about your story- simply leave a comment. Please enjoy these words from Revelation 21:1-7.
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” He said to me: “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To him who is thirsty I will give to drink without cost from the spring of the water of life. He who overcomes will inherit all this, and I will be his God and he will be my son.”