in the waiting
No ear has heard and no eye has seen a God like you, who acts on behalf of those who wait for Him. – Isaiah 64:4
Have you ever been on route to a destination, making good time, and suddenly stopped in your tracks? Maybe it’s a detour sign on the road, or the alert on your traffic app suddenly goes red: estimated time in traffic . . . 40 minutes! Whether it’s a mild inconvenience or complete upheaval of your plans, the ETA to your destination is suspended.
I’m currently in the midst of such a holding pattern. Surgery for a much-needed total knee replacement has been scheduled and re-scheduled five times in as many months. The question isn’t whether I should proceed, as this has been deemed the right plan for my ongoing arthritic pain. If all had gone according to plan, surgery would already be done and I would now be several months into post-op therapy, progressing toward full and pain-free use of my new knee. But for now, surgery remains “penciled in” for an unconfirmed date several weeks down the road.
While I am disappointed, this is not a crisis situation with tragic loss or heartbreak as others may be facing. I am thankful for that. I continue to experience God’s abundant grace in my home, family and ministry. This is simply a setback—a waiting place the Lord is allowing to instill me with deeper levels of His goodness. His plan and love over me.
Everything He allows, including disappointment, is an opportunity to grow in Him.
But we don’t always see it as such, do we? Friends, sometimes we let trials and disappointments gnaw at us and eat away our joy. We focus on our frustrations rather than trust God will work His purposes through the circumstances and settle our hearts in peace.
In the waiting, I want so much to have a healthy perspective that honors God. May I share two simple reminders with you? I think of them when I wear two sweetly delicate bracelets my daughter-in-love gave me for Christmas.
I am grateful that God always has a plan. As a child of God, nothing that happens in my life is left to chance. His plan for me is good, to give me a future and a hope (Jeremiah 29:11). I am letting go, little by little, of the need to have every step of this earthly journey googled-mapped out for me. The Lord knows perfectly how to lead me. I am learning to listen and respond to His voice for daily direction. Turn by turn. To stop or go, as He allows and leads.
I am grateful that His grace is sufficient. On the eve of my last scheduled surgery, I went to bed more aware of the physical ache in my knee than I typically experience. Laying there in the dark, I had a little pity party for one. I began to cry out to the Lord again over my disappointment—and once again He comforted me with assurance that HIS grace is sufficient. Just like the apostle Paul, who repeatedly asked the Lord to remove his thorn (2 Corinthians 12:8-9). God graciously reminded me that even when I am weak, His grace IS sufficient. His power rests on me in my weakness.
I am grateful that I can trust Him to open or close doors. For me, this has been a recent question. I commented to my husband Jeff that perhaps I’m trying to kick open a door for surgery that the Lord has closed. Valid question. So together, we continue to pray that the Lord will guard our plans and decisions through every twist and turn of this journey. And if at some point He confirms a closed door entirely, I don’t want to kick it open. I love that about our Savior’s care! I needn’t stress that I will make a wrong move when my plans are totally surrendered to His ways.
Be A Light
This isn’t a solo journey. As Christians, every trial and triumph we experience is a witness. Does our attitude and response reflect the hope and light of our Savior? Or do we bitterly display harsh irritation when we encounter disappointment?
Last week I sat down with my surgeon and his office manager. They were filled with compassion and sympathy toward me for all the continual setbacks. I said I was sorry for what the delays meant to them. I appreciated so much that they were doing their best to move forward and the hospital closures were out of their control.
My response was so simple, but evidently it was what they needed to hear and aren’t told very often. They said they wished all patients could respond that way. Wow. That hit me. Because honestly? I could have easily spilled out my disappointment in complaint mode. I’m so thankful the Holy Spirit directed my response in that moment. I walked out of that office challenged. And so encouraged!
When we let our light shine, and prayerfully use it to lift others in spite of our setbacks, Jesus will honor that! He will lift us out of the despair and disappointment.
Friends, let this be our prayer when the journey is smooth or when we encounter delays and detours. In the waiting, may you shine!
Help us Lord, in our countenance and response, to reflect Jesus and be a light in this weary world.
When troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. – James 1:2