Do you have a drawer that is a bottomless pit? I have a dresser drawer that makes me insane. It is twice the depth of the other drawers, and I seem to always need the shirt at the bottom. Then, I find myself constantly pulling from the bottom of the pile and leaving it in a shambles. My sweet, sweet husband is meticulous at lifting (with the precision of a professional cake decorator) his stack of shirts to get to the exact shirt he wants (or he just makes himself wear the one on top). He does this, daily, but not upsetting “his side”. This became one of those joke-to-keep-from-growling marital irritations. (Yes. This is a ridiculous thing to fuss about, but we never had a fight about toothpaste!)
Early in spring of our second year of marriage, Brian went to get donuts for us one Saturday morning. He brought the box in to me without really looking inside.
I opened it up to sneak a bite before carrying it to the table… Y’all! I laughed so hard, I nearly choked on my coffee! It was a personalized box of donuts just for us.
We laugh often about it now. We will find ourselves in a bit of a stressful situation, and I will have my jumbled pile all spread out in front of me. Brian will have everything categorized, alphabetized, and cross-referenced. Often, I make my sweet husband crazy with my happy-go-lucky stance on life. I am not easily flustered, or annoyed by daily minutia. But, it doesn’t translate to patience. I am NOT a patient person. I get irritated and frustrated and grumpy as all get out if I am left feeling out of control… especially if it involves waiting!
Waiting can be a kind of hell unto its own. It can rob you of joy. It can detract and distract you from the present moment’s goodness. It can lead you down a path of sinful, worry-filled resentment at God himself. And, friend, I have been guilty of each of these more times than I can count. In spite of this, I have learned through these waiting moments to be more patient. Even if only slightly more…
This week, I had a biopsy done. I don’t know of a single time in my life where I felt more vulnerable or helpless. I don’t really do vulnerable well. But, I was blessed to already be invested in a study of Job when I found the lump. I confess, I have never really studied Job before. I knew the premise–God points out how upright Job is to Satan and then gives permission to Satan to try to cause him to stumble–but it’s not a book I had really dug deep into. Oh, y’all, I was missing out!
See, the lesson of Job, and what God wanted me to learn, is how to wait well.
I don’t know if you have read Job lately, but that man’s friends are loooooooong-winded, y’all!! My daily reading was feeling rote and dry. I was praying and asking God for the passion to thirst for His Word. He answered–as He always does. It just came in the form of a cancer scare. Every day, waiting for the biopsy appointment, and then later waiting on the pathology report, was spent turning it over to God. Sometimes it was breathe in–worry, breathe out–trust God. Other times it was complete peace about the sovereignty of God.
My dear friends, I wish I could give you a “Three Steps to Freedom from Worry” pamphlet. I wish I could show you where the super secret elevator is to take you to that next level of trusting and growing up in your faith. But, it is the act of climbing, one step at a time, tripping, scraping your hands and knees, that matures our spirits. So, the best I have to offer is this:
Therefore, since we have been declared righteous by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. We have also obtained access through Him by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. And not only that, but we also rejoice in our afflictions, because we know that affliction produces endurance, endurance produces proven character, and proven character produces hope. This hope will not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us. Romans 5:1-5 HCSB
Also, don’t have friends like Job’s. Have friends who love you and are willing to just come over and be with you. To bring you some flowers and soup. That aren’t interested in finding/pointing out the Why behind your suffering, but are interested in holding you up to the one who is able to do something about it.*
This beautiful view was what I woke to the day after my biopsy. I have stared at it every morning since. I have thanked God for the blessings of this life, the beautiful ladies who brought me these hydrangeas, and the reminder to be still. As the hymn says:
Be still my soul the Lord is on thy side.
Bear patiently the cross of grief or pain.
Leave to thy God to order and provide.
In every change He faithful will remain.
If you find yourself in a helpless situation, remember that God is in control. And, though my results were benign, God has used this past week to chisel just a bit more rough off my edges. May you use your Waiting to Worship.
* If you are looking for ideas and ways to love on people in sickness or sorrow, may I recommend a website? I met the ladies who introduced Wisdom of the Wounded to me at a conference recently and have immensely enjoyed the materials I received from them. I have especially enjoyed a book they handed out on care-taking ideas. You may find their book here.