For we live by faith, not by sight. II Corinthians 5:7
We were headed for Hawaii to meet my brother who was flying in from Viet Nam for R&R. My parents had been told by the Army that Jack was due for a break from the unrelenting fighting in the jungles where he and his men had spent the last six months. On this weak assurance, my dad bought airline tickets for us all in expectation of reunion.
I’ll never forget the oppressive mixture of fear and anticipation as we awaited Jack’s arrival at the international airport in Honolulu. There had been no guarantee Jack would even be on the plane, but we had come in hope.* The first bus unloaded its cargo of expectant soldiers as their eyes scanned the crowds, looking for familiar faces, but our soldier was not in the crowd. Then the second bus came, and still no Jack. As two more buses emptied their precious load, Mom was on the verge of despair. At the end of the line a final bus slowed at the curb, and the jostling men made their way through the folding doors. Still that beloved face wasn’t to be seen until from the very back of the bus my brother emerged to his family who had come in anticipation, just hoping he might come.
I’ve often thought of that experience through the years as I’ve trusted God through difficult times, just praying he’d be present. To intervene in situations where no one else could make a difference. I’ve trusted his Word that he would be faithful to make a way where there seemed to be no way. And sometimes, like my mom, I’ve despaired that maybe, just maybe, I had acted in presumption. Maybe the promises were not to be claimed for this situation.
It’s taken years to learn that we DO live by faith, not by sight. God presses us to move out of that familiar comfort zone into a more dangerous place of trusting him in circumstances that only he can resolve. And in moving, living by faith, we often must move ahead of feelings that threaten to wash over us in waves of panic telling us we were expecting too much of God. We were trying to live too far beyond ourselves and our predictable existences. Sometimes when we indulge fear, we fall back where it feels more comfortable and breathing is easier.
But then the time comes that we finally push beyond fear, and we get ahead of emotion, saying, “My God can…” We trust him to do what he said he will do. And we wait. And wait. And trust. And the waiting and the trusting are excruciating, but now we can do nothing else. And then, in his time, he appears.
And our feelings have to catch up.
Father, I’ve lived too long being pulled and jerked around by my feelings. I’m ready to live by faith. In Jesus’ name. AMEN.
*We learned after the fact that Jack wasn’t supposed to be on the plane after all because he had been wounded in Cambodia, and the military typically didn’t allow soldiers to go on R&R with wounds. When he returned to Viet Nam, he was checked into the hospital and recovered.