*In the wake of all the destruction that the people of the Houston area have recently experienced, I wanted to take a moment to qualify the analogy used in this post. I had written and formulated this post before Harvey took it's toll and through much prayerful consideration I decided to post this scheduled piece. I cannot claim to relate to or understand the devastation and loss that so many have experienced. I can only say that through other avenues, I can also relate to hurt and loss. For some, this post could be more relevant than I anticipated when I wrote it, but my hope is that the message comes across the same way in the end... whatever your circumstances are... know that you have a great God who loves you and trust that He has plans to rescue you from the waters of heartache. As we examine whatever hurts we find ourselves in the throes of, whatever pain we are overcoming, let us remember one another in prayer and in acts of kindness.
I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits, and in his word I put my hope.
There is a theme flowing through my life at the moment. Not only my life, but dear friends as well. Actually, to say that it is ‘flowing’ is a gross understatement. A stream flows.
A tidal wave surges. It overwhelms. It crushes.
That is a much more accurate description.
And what is that theme? It depends on who you ask. The enemy would say destruction. Faith annihilation. (Good thing I’m not asking him.)
More importantly, I am asking the Lord what this season is all about. I know there is so much more than this, but at the moment, the main entrée that He keeps placing in front of me is this: Listening. Waiting. Trusting.
Waiting on the Lord…. And his perfect, circumspect, sometimes agonizingly torturous timing.
That last part really isn’t fair. In the end, we are always grateful for His understanding and how He rescues, connects, and restores.
But in the moment when you are waiting and listening and up to your jawline, just treading water, your arms and legs frantically jerking to keep your head above the surface… and you are supposed to just stay there? Indefinitely? Where is the life raft? Where is the very present help in time of trouble?
I remember when I was a young child at summer camp, learning to swim. With all the lakes surrounding the camp’s property, they made sure that we knew what to do in the event that we somehow found ourselves in the middle of a large body of water and waiting on rescue.
What amazing life giving action would be the most likely to save us? Just lying there. Yup. Floating.
I cannot think of a more vulnerable position to be in. Laid out on your back on the water’s surface, arms and legs spread, chest out and jaw slightly tipped up.
Personally, I have kind of a hang up in these scenarios. I am a doer. I love being the lady with the plan. I will carve out a way, somehow. So, in learning this survival method, I always found myself wanting to revert back to treading. I was more comfortable having my line of sight directed at my surroundings than straight up at the sky, where apparently, nothing urgent was happening.
Looking at the water on all sides does nothing for me, though. On my own, I am overtaken. I cannot stare at the water and will it to recede. Infact, keeping my eyes on the circumstance only serves to dishearten me. It kills my faith. If I continue to kick at the water, I will eventually lose that battle.
I don’t need to see the water to know that I am in it. I feel it all around. It stifles. It will take my breath from me if I submit to it.
But on my back, face to the sun, limbs surrendered in trust. That is sustainable and I have come to a place where it is the only option that makes sense.
It doesn’t mean that it isn’t uncomfortable. It doesn’t mean that I’m in denial about the potential dangers. It just means that I am more certain of my God than my circumstance.
It means that His promises are my life raft. His Word is my oxygen. My whole being waits.
Deuteronomy chapter 8 was a reminder to the Israelites that they can do nothing apart from God. The entire chapter was about how they should always be grateful so that they do not forget Who is upholding them.
He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your ancestors had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.
This Old Testament scripture was significant enough that Jesus quoted this verse in Matthew 4:4, while He was being tempted by the enemy in the desert. He had not had anything to eat or drink for 40 days. He was in a harsh and unyielding environment. He was alone and vulnerable and his only company was someone who would have given everything he had to see Jesus fail.
He was fully man which meant that He was more desperate for food than any of us have likely ever come close to being. He was fully God which meant that He was more than capable of doing what the devil suggested and turning those stones to bread. But Jesus, the Son of God, did not come to this earth to serve Himself. He came to save us.
The time for Him to be attended to by angels would come, and He would be refreshed. Until then, He had to hold on a little longer. He had to endure a little more. I’m not going to pretend to know why that is, but I know that for what He did, I will stand in eternity and praise Him for not selling out my salvation for a piece of bread.
This is another picture of our faith survival hinging on the Lord and His steadfast promises. We can keep our physical body functioning by providing it with bread, but we cannot truly live without every Word that flows from the mouth of the Living God.
He spoke the earth and all it’s inhabitants into existence. With a 3 word sentence Jesus declared the finality of every hardship we will ever encounter. His word goes out to accomplish what He sends it to do and does not return back to Him without merit. (Genesis Ch. 1, John 19:30, Isaiah 55:11, respectively.)
With a single word, God can save and sustain you. And He will. And He already has.
We just have to listen to Him and trust His process. We have to know that listening = feeding on the Word and waiting on Lord.
How we listen to Him spills over into how we listen to others - more on that in the next post.
For now... We will wait for the Lord. With all of our being, we will wait. And in His very precise and effective word, we will always put our hope.
Set aside some quiet time and write down all the things you are waiting on the Lord for, big and small. Make another list and write down every time that you have waited and He has come through for you. Take time to reflect on these lists. Does seeing how He has met you in the past influence your faith and ability to trust Him for what is ahead? Pray over both of these lists... praise Him for his faithfulness now and always.
Waiting can be hard, but when we look back on the process we can often see how rewarding it has been. Share and inspire - how has God taken the simple task of waiting and used it to profoundly change you or an area of your life?