The theme of the last two years of our lives has been waiting. Waiting for a phone call that announces a second chance for Rachel. In the beginning, I was a vigilant, expectant waiter! I was in a constant state of alert and every single time my cell phone rang, my heart skipped a beat and I leaped toward it, expecting to see the phone number of the Transplant Team and the news we had been waiting for! I have found though, that as time slips by and that phone call doesn’t come, I am less and less expectant, and less and less sure that it ever will…
But just last Thursday, while Rachel and I were waiting for our discharge from the hospital, God’s perfect providence led me to a certain passage in my daily reading of His Word that stopped me short.
And be gracious to me and answer me.
When You said, “Seek My face,” my heart said to You,“Your face, O Lord, I shall seek.”
Do not hide Your face from me,
Do not turn your servant away in anger;
You have been my help;
Do not abandon me
nor forsake me,
O God of my salvation!
…I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.
Wait for the Lord;
Be strong and let your heart take courage;
Yes, wait for the Lord.”
A realization from His Spirit washed over me… I have been WAITING for the wrong thing!!!!
As I look back over my life and at the lives of the people around me, I am struck by how much time we actually spend waiting! Ask any pregnant mom or one hoping to become a mom through adoption, and they will be quick to tell you how long they have been waiting, and how much waiting remains before they will realize their dreams through the life of a child. Ask a single girl or guy who is waiting for their perfect match, and often you will hear desperation in their voices as they continue to wait. Will their waiting ever produce what they long for? Or ask a parent as they sit in the waiting room of a hospital, while their child undergoes a surgery that could alter the course of their lives or waiting for test results that could do the same. Waiting can be one of the most difficult things we ever have to do! There are waiting lists for the things we most want, and we hold our breath as we wait for our name to move to the top of the list and we see our desires finally fulfilled! College admission, or a scholarship, or maybe just our favorite new electronic gadget… life is so often about waiting. Check out the people in tents in sub zero temperatures and freezing rain- lined up waiting for entrance into the electronic store or the mall the night before a big sale or the release of the greatest, latest new pleasure. Those “waiters” are announcing to the world that the object of their waiting is most important to them and they will not be denied!
I’ve decided that the things we are willing to wait for reveal a lot about who we are and what is important to us. Think with me about the things that you are currently waiting for… I’m betting those things are top priority to you, or you probably wouldn’t think them important enough for waiting! But if those things never come, will your hopes be dashed? Have you waited in vain? What if that miracle never comes, or a broken relationship is not restored, or your child never returns… what then? Is God too weak? Has He failed? Or are you just waiting for the wrong things?
I’m certain that no one would fault me for my weariness in waiting for a new heart for Rachel. This waiting holds life or death for my child. And still, I could hear God whisper to me from the pages of His Word… “You are waiting for the wrong thing, Lori... Wait for ME instead.”
It occurred to me suddenly that nowhere in Scripture are we commanded to wait for anything apart from waiting for the Lord Himself! This realization caused me to dig deeper and I scoured His Word for confirmation of this Truth…
And in His word do I hope.
My soul waits for the Lord
More than the watchmen for the morning.
Indeed, more than the watchmen for the morning.
Oh Israel, hope in the Lord;
For with the Lord there is loving kindness. And with Him is abundant redemption.
And He will redeem Israel
From all his iniquities.
Ahhh! I see it now! Our HOPE is found in waiting for the Lord! Waiting for His loving kindness and His abundant redemption… It is only here that we find HOPE! Hope is found in the Lord alone! The HOPE in Rachel’s middle name and in the name of her website was never based upon the hope of a long life through a new heart…. Never!
Hope for Rachel has already come!!!! Her hope is not set on a new heart or even another miracle of healing or more time in her earthly body- but on something so much greater! So is mine!
We do not have to wait for the HOPE we possess in the person of Jesus Christ or the adoption into God’s family, purchased by Him on the cross! And because Jesus conquered death and rose again, we too will live beyond the grave and enjoy an eternity together with Him and with each other. We are only waiting to cross the threshold between here and eternity and the realization of the many promises that await us there! This waiting calls for great expectation… not dread!
So then~ what are we to be waiting for in our “waiting for the Lord”, if not the realization of His beautiful promises and His very presence in our lives? To wait is to “expect”… knowing that our HOPE is placed in something that will never fail!
Does this mean that we are never to pray for the things we long for, or that it is sinful to find ourselves waiting for the realization of our dreams? Absolutely NO! God cares about even the smallest desires of our hearts, and part of our intimate relationship is talking with Him about those things that are important to us- both big and small!
But the bottom line is this… Every single longing we bring before Him is to be rooted in a deep desire that He be glorified above all! If that is not the case… than all our waiting is in vain and our lives will lack the purpose He has designed them to have! Jesus showed us how, while in the garden facing His own immanent death. He prayed that God would somehow spare Him of the horrifying experience that lay ahead. But He didn’t end there, nor should we! Instead, He cried out “Not my will, Father... but Yours be done!” Then He surrendered His life and gave it to redeem ours.
This realization changes the way I will choose to wait and it changes my prayers as I continue waiting too...
“Lord- come near! I am waiting for YOU… only YOU! Whether you come with a new heart in your hand or to take Rachel’s hand to lead her home… I will wait expectantly, knowing that whatever your plan is, it is good and wrapped in your loving kindness and mercy! I wait for YOU, knowing that You will provide every single ounce of grace I need to glorify your name in the midst of these circumstances. In my waiting, grow within me an abiding trust in who You are. Let contentment fill my heart in knowing that your providence is perfect and not a single hair will fall from my head, or a tear from my eye, without your notice. How I long to love you in the waiting, Lord. Waiting here for You!”