I have inherited Your testimonies forever,
For they are the joy of my heart.
I have inclined my heart to perform Your statutes
Forever, even to the end.
Psalm 119: 111, 112

Sunday, February 24, 2013

What are YOU waiting for?

I know what I'm waiting for! I want my boys home! Sheesh. Rhyan says she "misses" her brothers in Ethiopia, like she's known them all her life. Well, maybe she has. Sometimes I feel like I have. Even so, I can't wait to study their little faces, hear their voices for the first time, find out which hand they like to hold their fork in, take pictures of them playing baseball with Ty and sitting on the couch while their sister reads to them. Sniff, sniff... I am waiting...

Isn't this exactly what God asks us to do? I mean, since the dawn of time as we know it, He has told His children to wait. Wait Noah! I will send the rain. Wait Abraham! I will make you a father of nations. Wait Moses! I will deliver my people through you. Wait David! You will be King of the Israelites. Wait Elizabeth! You will have a son and he will baptize My Son, in My name. Oh yes, and - Wait Son! Your time to serve and teach my people will come, and then you will die for them. Whoa.

You will die... Have you ever thought about that wait? Hhhhmmm... What did that feel like? Ouch. Here's the thing. I find myself almost being ashamed of any kind of "complaining" or "anxiety" over this wait for a court date and our Gotcha Day. (That refers to the day we "get" our boys forever. :-)) It's going to happen. God has made promises all throughout history and I trust that when we line up with His will and plans, He continues to deliver. The wait that I sit in now is a joyful, expectant wait. I get giddy knowing that we are adding LIFE to our family. Just like a pregnant woman knows that child in her womb before she sees what color each strand of hair on his head is, I know my boys and eagerly await the precious gift of tangibly loving them as sons.

You will die... Really. My week started out rough as I learned that it might be another month before we receive a court date in Ethiopia. Boo. But my lament was put to shame when a childhood friend passed on Wednesday morning; a victim of an evil disease. Let me add that he was younger than me, father of two boys, husband of a best friend from junior high, and just a really great guy. Ugh. Pain. My heart breaks for all his loved ones. My heart breaks thinking of their wait. They didn't wait for life to start anew. They didn't wait knowing that joy would invade their home in a few short months. When the diagnosis came, they waited in anticipation of loss. They prayed and hoped for a cure, but ALS is unforgiving and we live in a world broken and damaged by sin. The truth hurts and the disease took Gary way before what we think his time should've been. How can I come to grips with that? How can I make sense out of the wait that was necessary on the part of all of Gary's loved ones? I can only rest on the knowledge that waiting is what God calls all of us to do, because He has something good waiting for all of us who love Him and are called to His purpose. (Romans 8:28) He knows the plans He has for us, even when all we see is the pain and the loss. How can He ask this of us? Because He experienced it Himself FOR us, through His Son.

You will die... What did that wait feel like to Jesus? Well, we know a couple things. We know that Jesus chose to spend his last hours on this earth with his loved ones. He broke bread with them, drank wine with them, and celebrated the time they had left together. Matthew the disciple also tells us that they sung a hymn before they went out to the Mount of Olives. (26:30) They sung to God - led by Jesus is my guess, as He waited to be executed! While Jesus waited for His impending death He felt and experienced all that any other human would feel being diagnosed with mortal finality. Yet, He praised His Father and worshiped Him in song. He seized life and He loved without fail. He didn't try to change the inevitable. He didn't question His Father. He simply waited.

We know Jesus was scared and filled with sorrow. The gospels tell us that He voiced His sorrow to His disciples. He said, "My soul is exceedingly sorrowful..." (Matthew 26:38) Then He went a little farther and fell on His face and prayed, saying, "O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will." Matthew 26:39 Jesus waited in agony for His flesh to be destroyed. He cried out to God in His sorrow, yet He submitted in obedience. He prayed not simply for His life to be spared. He prayed for God's will to be done. And I believe He asked His Father to give Him strength and perseverance to endure what needed to happen knowing that the end result was so worth it all! This is LOVE fellow Christians. This is knowing how to wait on God.

Be still and wait. How are we still when waiting on God? We take each day for what it is and what it brings us. We cherish the moments with loved ones and celebrate life with them. We live in mercy, practicing forgiveness and grace; knowing that which flows from us also returns to us. We pray and spend time with God sharing our thoughts, feelings, desires, fears. Laying it all down and listening for His still small voice - or earth-shaking revelations. I learned even further what it means to be still and wait this week. I learned that we are all waiting for God to move in our lives and we need to see the goodness of what is on the other side of the wait. For some it's bittersweet. The goodness may be the promise of eternal rest from pain and suffering, and the bliss of heaven with Jesus. There is sorrow in that waiting as our human hearts break at the expectation of loss. We grieve at the close of these waiting periods, BUT I pray that the grief passes into a promise fulfilled of something beautiful. A gift from God who rewards our waiting when done in faith.

For others, the wait is one that has us on pins and needles knowing that a new chapter of life that isn't entirely about loss is upon us. The waiting time must be a season of rest but also of preparation. I've come to understand there actually is a loss to prepare for in our family. It's a loss of what we know; how we do things. The old will be gone and the new will be here, and we'll have to learn how to do life and family differently. Is it amazing and joyful and miraculous? YES! Will it be easy? My guess is, no. There will be difficult days and new challenges. Yet, the reward and goodness of what comes after the passing - the death of our old family and the birth of our new family - is priceless.

Jesus waited for his death on the cross to come to fruition. There was pain and suffering. His family waited and mourned. Can you imagine what His mother felt, knowing her son would be put to death an innocent man? Huge ouch. I know a mom who experienced that same emotion and pain. God bless and strengthen you, Kathy Demarino. What we all need to see is what the purpose of our waiting really is. In the end, it's really about God's love and grace for His children. His plan for His Son to be crucified was all about His rescue mission for us! When we are waiting on God, whether we are waiting on something joyful or something tragic, let's be still, listen for God, and know He has something so good on the other side He's just waiting to do for us.

Worshiping in the waiting,