Yet those who wait for the Lord
Will gain new strength;
They will mount up with wings like eagles,
They will run and not get tired,
They will walk and not become weary.
At Christmas, we feel we should celebrate, should be happy, should be caught up in the joy of our savior coming to the world. But the reality is that even as the world was in darkness waiting for a savior to give them hope, so many of us find ourselves in a season that is fraught with some heartbreaks that others may not see. We have longings that are not fulfilled, or prayers that seem unanswered, or stories that are, for the moment in dark places.
And we find ourselves in a place of waiting--waiting on a job, waiting to get pregnant, waiting to get married, waiting for our prodigal to come home, waiting to figure out how we will pay our bills, ..., waiting, waiting, waiting.
This is the very reason our precious savior Christ came. He looks at us and has compassion, mercy, kindness, love. He saw the longings of our heart, heard the cries of our prayers. And the people who were longing for the issues of their lives to be settled, were the very ones He came to give light and hope to, to carry their burdens.
I am not good at waiting, never have been. Yet, along the many times I have had to wait for God's own timing in light of my own prayers, I have learned that waiting actually has purposes for our own well-being that I did not understand as a young woman.
For so many of you who find yourselves waiting on God for answers or help this Christmas, I hope and pray these thoughts will encourage you. I hope you will enjoy the podcast today and share it if there is anyone in your life who finds themselves waiting for God's answers.
"Be strong, let your heart take courage, yes, wait on the Lord."
Psalm 27: 14
Daily duties cry out each Monday morning, as I slip down the stairs, still sleepy and in need of my morning cuppa. Still after all of these years, last nights late night dishes accost me--coffee cups, plates with dried on snacks, all sorts of Sunday evidence that we spend hours together relaxing, eating, laughing and messing--and now it must be dealt with, again.
Then there are the issues of life still there to greet me--the worries, money issues, problems with children, pressures on family and marriage--all still there, piled on when Monday morning comes and has a new week of challenges to greet me. Seems in the midst of all the chores that daily need to be done, there are always those bigger ones also hovering over us. Each of my older children are in a crucial period of waiting on God to move His hand of providence. Car purchases, waiting on marriage, jobs, taxes, bills, futures, as well as the demands of a teen fresh out in the world armed with her driver's license and looking for places to venture to--and still each day, they live in my home, wanting to eat again, and wanting to wear somewhat clean clothes and still leaving trails of life all around.
When they were little, there were so many issues to worry about--discipline, training, health, education, exhaustion, loneliness...
Waiting, waiting,working, fretting, wondering--what is going to be the end to all of this? These people in my home with various issues, strengths, weaknesses, hopes, dreams and legacies of difficulty and more work?
Waiting on the Lord for answers and for life to change and for help to come has been my most common challenge throughout life--waiting to get married, waiting to get pregnant, waiting to have the baby, waiting for them to sleep through the night, waiting for them to be out of diapers, waiting for them to become more mature and responsible, waiting for them to read, waiting for life to someday be easier, more manageable, waiting for me to be mature some day...
How do we manage to exist through all of the mundane, the fretting, the fears and waiting times with grace?
Learning to wait is a grace for a woman who fears God.
Waiting with a gentle spirit is a miracle--a beauty, an acquired habit that comes with practice and experience. Choosing to take today in its stride--choosing to see the glory of the moment in the midst of frantic children, choosing to look for beauty and the fingerprints of God in the midst of the messes requires a heart decision--Psalm 27 says, "Let your heart take courage--let it--make it, choose to let your heart fill up its boots to the power of God's abiding grace. Choosing to believe that my prayers have not hit the roof of my home and gone no further, but that God indeed is present.
I love Psalm 103--He is mindful that I am but dust. He knows my limitations. He knows my flawed personality. Yet, He is a Father who has compassion on his children--on me. He does not require my perfection, He requires my heart, my eyes turned toward Him. He is the grace that will make this day possible, this moment livable.
Always, my only hope and my only strength and my only way to cope has been an utter abandonment to God, knowing that if He doesn't work, if He doesn't move in the midst of us through His Holy Spirit, if He doesn't take m paltry fish and loaves and make it into more than it really is, I do not have a hope of making it. I relinquish my desire to control and yield this moment, this day and hope that He will show up.
Feeling overwhelmingly weary, desperate and fearful in life is not a sin.
But what we do with the weariness or fear or doubt is when sin becomes a possibility.
"For evil doers will be cut off, but those who wait on the Lord will inherit the land." Psalm 37: 9
"Those who wait on the Lord will gain new strength, they will run and not be weary, they will walk and not faint." Isaiah 40: 31
One of the most important ways my children learn faith is to watch me wait on God's timing-- in grace, through all the trials of my life--but to wait with grace in my living. They learn the grace of making it as they watch me put a flower in the vase, lighting a candle, surround our home with music, life, hope that says,
"God will show up. He is with us. He hears us and will answer, and I am going to prepare the day by celebrating life looking to the time we will see and know His presence and faithfulness."
And yet, when I look back, I am amazed at how much I see how faithfully He has worked--to see the miracle of children grown, fine, loving, passionate about ideals--how did it all happen? To see the His hand that seemingly, seamlessly sowed my years together into a grace of a beautiful life of blessing, love and life--how did it all come about? One day at a time as He faithfully, lovingly brought all of my child-heart love and faith into a work of eternity.
Waiting with hope, in courage, patience, in love and humbly--it is the grace of the life of a godly woman that ends in seeing the miraculous hand of God, and she bows before Him, as the child with the basket of fish and says, "Thank you for allowing me to be a part of your miracle."
May God grant you the faith to wait for His answers, His work, His steadfastness as you give Him this season the gift of a submissive, loving heart, which is our spiritual work of serving Him.