The first day of a new year. Our family has a tradition of having communion and washing each others' feet on New Year's day. A time to dedicate the new year to God, remember Jesus' sacrifice for us, and to serve each other. A way to begin our year that focuses our hearts on loving God and each other. Before we washed feet, we reminded the kids that we never know what the year may bring or how we may need to serve each other. 2013 was a hard year for our family. Our son Henry became ill on December 26, 2012, and it began a nine month illness for him. Frustrating visits with doctors, feeling helpless, looking at my 10 year old boy who went from playing on a travel soccer team to spending his days going from the bed to the couch with barely any energy. Holding him as he cried when he realized that winter had come and gone, spring flowers were blooming, and he never got to go sledding. It was determined that Henry had an unidentifiable virus. He is much improved, but not quite the same boy yet. We praise God that it was nothing more serious than that.
During this last year, many times I felt that I was barely keeping my head above water. Thankful that the doctors hadn't found anything seriously wrong, but also discouraged at receiving no answers. I would awake in the middle of the night in tears, begging God for some kind of direction.
Have you ever noticed that God doesn't always answer prayer in the way we would like? The answer I feel like God has been giving me a lot over the last seven years is "wait".
Ugh. Out of all the answers I could receive "wait" is not one of my top 10. Especially when it comes to my child.
But they who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint (Isaiah 40:31). Father, you are love, so you cannot want for me anything that isn't the best. Help my unbelief.
Isn't Christmas season a beautiful way to end a year and begin another one? Celebrating the birth of Jesus...the great faithfulness and love of God. Advent is a time of waiting. And I need to continue to wait for his will to be done. Elisabeth Elliot says, "If in the integrity of my heart I speak the words, Thy will be done, I must be willing, if the answer requires it, that my will be undone."
"My will be undone". Ouch, Elisabeth. My will would be to have Henry healed now, to regain my health now, to have our marriage be all I want it to be now, to have smooth friendships now.
Waiting is hard in so many areas of life. Waiting on health, job, relationships, finances. And there is that line of being proactive, but also surrendering to God's will. I don't want to be passive about my health or the health of our children, yet I have learned that after many doctor visits, questions without answers, symptoms that linger...there is the time on my knees of releasing to God what is his in the first place. These moments when he tells me to wait.
I've found the same is true in relationships. There are seasons of life when I may be close to people. But then there have been seasons in my life when intimate friendship was scarce. It's easy to be hurt, feel overlooked, left out, and begin to blame others. However, just as God brings people into my life, I believe that those times of loneliness have also come from his hand. Times when he has told me to wait and has drawn me into a deeper friendship with himself.
I started writing this post last night. For my devotions I am reading a book by Corrie ten Boom. Interestingly, this morning I came to a section where Corrie tells a story of a lost brooch. A lady went to the theater and lost a precious brooch. She realized it was missing when she had arrived home late that evening. The next morning she called the theater and asked the manager if he had found a brooch. He said he hadn't, but would go look. When he came back to the phone, he told her that he had found it, but she was not there. She had impatiently hung up the phone. She will never know that her brooch was found.
How many times have I impatiently given up on waiting on God? I opened my Bible not knowing what I was going to read yet and there in front of me was this verse, "Since ancient times no one has heard, no ear has perceived, no eye has seen any God besides you, who acts on behalf of those who wait for him." (Isaiah 64:4) I began to cry after reading all of what God had for me this morning through Corrie's book and through his Word. Oh, how he loves us! That the God of the Universe would speak so personally and tenderly.
I think it's pretty obvious that God wants me to learn to wait. I desire to love God with all my heart, soul, and mind--and to love others as myself. May 2014 be a year of waiting on the Lord and trusting in God's great faithfulness.