My niece, Kira, is very attached to her Uncle Joey. He came in for a visit this weekend and she had a very hard time understanding why he couldn’t spend every moment with her. It didn’t even occur to Kira that he didn’t come to town JUST to see her. In fact, he came in for a friend’s wedding and to help my parents hang sheetrock…seeing Kira was lagniappe.
The first night Joey was in town and had to leave Kira to come sleep at my house – she screamed and cried and had to be pried off of him. It was heart-breaking for all of us. Last night, she planned a sleep-over for all of us at my house…she’s 3!! Anyway, after she felt she’d waited for him long enough, she brought me the phone so she could call him and tell him to “get in you car and drive over here.”
And, he did.
This morning, after we’d had breakfast and gotten dressed…and then put her dress-up clothes on top of her regular clothes…Uncle Joey began to pack up his car to go back home. She wanted to go down with him, but I said she couldn’t because she might fall down the steps. I told her she could, however, stand at the door and wait for Uncle Joey to come back in. She turned to me and said, very matter-of-factly “My don’t want to wait.”
My don’t want to wait, either.
But waiting would seem to be the order of the day. Waiting for “normal” to happen, waiting for my parent’s to have a home again, waiting for the replacement of all the things I need to do my job, waiting for my apartment to look like my apartment again, waiting for a word on the future of my church, waiting for friends to FINALLY come back home, waiting for the weight to begin coming off again, and waiting for the Lord to speak to “the one” and restore the years the locusts (my sin) have eaten.
But wait I must. And, not the kind of waiting my niece did this morning for her Uncle Joey…craning her neck, trying to sneak down the stairs when I wasn’t looking, bent on having her way, regardless. I must wait, content with the Lord’s provision, satisfied in what He has supplied now. I also can not let dashed hopes, lack of progress, or even failure cause me to doubt and push aside all the Lord has shown and spoken and instructed.
This point was really driven home to me a few mornings ago as I was listening, yet again, to John Piper’s poem on the book of Job. The poem opens with Job offering a sacrifice for the sins of his children. Immediately after Job learns of their death, and knowing full well it was the hand of God, he goes once again to the offering stone and makes a sacrifice and humbles himself before the Lord. He does nothing different than he had done before. He doesn’t rethink his “routine” or even question the goodness and rightness of God. He continues in the way that was shown, despite what was lost…despite what it cost him.
Many times over the past few months, I’ve been tempted to rethink the plan I was given. “This isn’t working”, I think “Maybe I need to try something else?” In the natural, that makes sense…but what I am being called to do, to walk in, to change aren’t natural things, and in the end, my motivation to change is purely natural…fleshly…and only about getting what I want when I want it.
I want the weight to begin pouring off again like it did when I first began this plan…but the Lord has decided it needs to be much slower now. I want a husband and family NOW…but the Lord has thought it better to keep me free to do other things (like serve my family and co-workers). I want my parent’s home to be all fixed and pretty and comfortable for them soon. But, the Lord has determined that they need to be uncomfortable for a while longer.
It would seem, along with waiting, being uncomfortable is up near the top of God’s desire for me right now, too. And, many others I know of…but that is a topic for another post.
It is of some considerable help and consolation to know that I am not being made to wait in vain…or with no help…or encouragement. There is a point and a purpose and a plan…and I am given much help and encouragement from the Lord. Chief among those helps is HOPE. The hope the Lord has set in my heart has kept me walking in the way He has shown and kept me from giving into the temptation to despair. But it isn’t just hope that one day things will be normal…one day I will look normal…one day my prince will come. In fact, it isn’t hope in circumstantial things at all. It is hope in Him…in His provision….His goodness…His satisfaction…Hope borne out of experiencing His comfort and all-sufficiency despite my circumstances.
We sing a song in church that says “your hope is my anchor.” And, that is exactly what hope does…it anchors us in the solid rock. Hope keeps us tethered to the Lord and to His ways. Hope is what makes it possible for us to obey, to walk in a manner worthy, and to repent and return when we have strayed. The hope in Him, in the fact of His faithfulness and goodness is our anchor (our hope and stay as another song says), which keeps us from falling away and allows us to wait with hope and without demanding that we get what we want when we want it. Yet we also do not serve a God who is unfamiliar with our weakness and cannot sympathize with them. So while He calls us to wait without whining, we can go to him and say, as my niece did this morning “my don’t want to wait” and find forgiveness and strength to continue…and grace besides.