Sunday, December 11, 2011

The Weight of Waiting

Advent is one of my favorite seasons though it involves one of my least favorite activities: waiting. Though I'm not especially fond of waiting in a long line at the grocery store or waiting for a traffic light to turn green, this is another kind of waiting. This is waiting on the Lord.

I have dreams, plans, desires that I long to see come to fruition. These are good dreams--plans, I pray, that would give glory to God and stir the affections of the saints toward Him. I'm not alone in this. At the moment, I know of two families in particular who are waiting for some very good things. One waits to see if the Lord would be gracious in continuing to grow a precious child in her womb. Another waits to see if He will grant healing and restoration in their daughter's body. The one word in those sentences on which its content hangs is this: waits.

Beyond a shadow of a doubt, I know the Lord could speak one word in the smallest moment and all would be restored--the little life would grow, the broken body would be healed, and my plans would materialize. He is able. But, as of this morning, He hasn't chosen to reveal His will in these matters yet. Both families (and myself) are waiting. This I do know: God has revealed His will for right now. His will for them and for me is to wait.

There is weight in waiting. It is a gravity that pulls us toward Him. Very few things offer relief or respite but the presence of God and the healing balm of His word.

This weight is a heaviness that presses us down, sometimes on our faces. Many times in my waiting the Lord has shown me that I desire the thing on which I wait more than I desire Him. The realization of my idolatry and the unrelenting kindness of God even in the midst of it leads me to confession and repentance.

This weight refuses to let us go about our day without it reminding us of its presence. In my experience with waiting, I find others' fulfillment of what I'm longing for highlighted. Rarely do I glance through a Twitter timeline without seeing even a hint of this. "Everyone" seems to be not waiting.

For those who wait on the Lord, though, it is not a weight leading to despair but instead a weight that invites us to know hope.

Remember my affliction and my wanderings,
the wormwood and the gall!
My soul continually remembers it
and is bowed down within me.
But this I call to mind,
and therefore I have hope:
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
"The Lord is my portion," says my soul,
"therefore I will hope in him."
The Lord is good to those who wait for him.
It is good that one should wait quietly
for the salvation of the Lord.
Lamentations 3:19 - 26

By the inspiration of the Holy Spirit from the mouth of Simeon, a man well-acquainted with waiting, as he holds the infant Jesus...

Lord, now you are letting your servant depart in peace,
according to your word;
for my eyes have seen your salvation
that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples,
a light of revelation to the Gentiles,
and for glory to your people Israel.
Luke 2:29 - 32

This is the hope: the salvation of the Lord has come and will come again to make all things right. It has come in the form of Jesus. Because He has come, all things will be used for our good whether our waiting ends as we've hoped or not. In our waiting and in its end, we get Him.

Monday, June 6, 2011


Surrendering the safety of the deck chair, she cautiously approaches the pool's edge. His irresistible voice calls her to come closer. As the distance between them wanes, another more menacing voice whispers, "can you be so sure that He will catch, much less keep you?" For a moment, she entertains the thought of her feet leaving the ground beneath only to be met with water--no firm hands to grab her. Sweetly, a whisper interrupts the vision, "He is strong and He is good. He will not only catch you, He will keep you." The only courage she finds is when her eyes are locked on His. Though the doubts linger, they are drowned out by His beckoning. Her toes dangle. Her knees bend.

She jumps.

I lift up my eyes to the hills.
From where does my help come?
My help comes from the Lord,
who made heaven and earth.

He will not let your foot be moved;
he who keeps you will not slumber.
Behold, he who keeps Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.

The Lord is your keeper;
the Lord is your shade on your right hand.
The sun shall not strike you by day,
nor the moon by night.

The Lord will keep you from all evil;
he will keep your life.
The Lord will keep
your going out and your coming in
from this time forth and forever more.

Psalm 121

Tuesday, May 31, 2011


To everything there is a season, and a time for every matter or purpose under heaven...
A time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance.
Ecclesiastes 3

Though we have yet to hit the summer solstice, our family has already enjoyed the season's sweet offerings: a blazing sun, a respite from routine responsibilities, and constant company with each other. Audrey, Reid and Norah are each at a place in life that I want to freeze-frame and soak up every twinkle of the eye and idiosyncratic remark, every giggle and guffaw. Aside from the monthly chemo week, Matt is in full-form: energized and engaged.

Part of me wonders:

Would the summer be so sweet if the winter weren't so bitter?

And, would the bitter winter be so bearable if the summer's promise weren't so sweet?

The Lord, in His providence and sustaining grace, is kind to mingle the two. In the cold of winter, we carry the warmth of the Son through Whom the promise is made to be with us "always, to the end of the age." And in the season of colorful communion, we carry the heavy reality that green will give way to gray, proving that we are not home yet.

For now, I will live in the season I feel swirling about me. I will drink it in, savor it as a foretaste of heaven: a blazing Son, a forever respite from a worn-out world and constant company, face-to-face with my Savior and the saints around the throne.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Know AND Believe

I'm going through Kelly Minter's study, "No Other Gods" right now. Last summer, I picked up her Ruth study with a couple of friends. Loved it. This one has not disappointed. In one of the readings a few days ago, she led us to 1 John 4. I can't recall off the top of my head what she wanted us notice but what jumped off the page for me was in verse 16:

So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us.

Know AND believe.

I don't believe John was being redundant here. Instead, I think he was making a point. But first, what is "the love God has for us?"

Back up to verse 14: the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. This love is seen and proven in the Father sending his Son into the world to save bear the heaviness of sin on the cross, burst the bonds of death in His resurrection, and breathe the Spirit into us with His ascension (because if He stayed, the Helper wouldn't come...(John 16:7). In short, God's love = the gospel.

So we have come to know AND believe...the gospel.

Many of us know the gospel. We can recite John 3:16 with the best of them. We would adamantly reject the belief that the gospel is really us modifying our behavior to be accepted by God. But here's my question, do we BELIEVE the gospel?

For me, it's all too tempting to "know" the love God has for me and not believe it too. Instead, I live my life as if I still have to earn if it wasn't freely given and shown on the cross. Sometimes I live my life as if He has to prove His love again because I'm not trusting He has my good in mind.

There is a daily need to remind myself to not just know but to also believe.

Lord, help my unbelief!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

The House of Duplicity

A good name is better than fine perfume,
and the day of death better than the day of birth.
It is better to go to a house of mourning
than to go to a house of feasting,
for death is the destiny of every man;
the living should take this to heart.

Ecclesiastes 7:1 - 2

A hospital. A medical center. A house of mourning. A house of feasting. I find it intriguing how one place can be experienced so differently by each of its visitors. Even then, how it can be experienced differently each visit for each visitor. One may walk through its doors in great expectation of new life or renewed life. Another day, that same one may walk through its doors with great sorrow and heaviness of heart knowing final moments and possibly final breaths may be shared. Scripture says it is better to be the latter. That's not to say the former is bad. It's just not as good.

The week prior to Christmas, I had the joy of helping welcome a sweet baby boy into our community. The waiting room was filled with predictions, hope, joy and excitement. A perfect, almost 9-pound early Christmas present was delivered in great health with the cry of new life.

Potential. Hope.

The week after Christmas, I received a call that my grandfather was losing his battle with cancer. Conversations were peppered with "hospice" and "comfortable." My mother and I sat on either side of his bed holding his hands and watched an old black & white movie with him in a rare moment of ease. I wondered if this would be one of the last times I would share the same air with him. I wondered what he was thinking as we watched the movie. I wondered if he wondered if this would be a last shared moment with my mother and me. My mind was less focused on the days between birth and death and more focused on the last day. The last moment. The last breath.

What would I be thinking? Where would my hope rest?

Today, we walk into the house of duplicity. I am grateful for the gravitational pull of that house. Each visit for a scan or a check up holds the possibility of either disposition. The potential of experiencing its mourning shakes my heart to its foundation. Am I founded on the hope of tomorrow or on Christ in me, the hope of glory?

Truly, it is better to go to the house of mourning.