KEEP WALKING…AND WAITING

But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.  Isaiah 40:31 (KJV)

 

 

 

I don’t know anyone who has flown like an eagle, but in times of euphoria, I almost think I could.  Note that this type of flight is for those who wait and depend on the Lord.  That almost sounds like an oxymoron, doesn’t it – wait in order to soar?  But God, the Creator, is the one who empowers, and he’s the one who renews for soaring, running, and walking.

I have a friend who dreamed for years and then trained for months and months to run in the Greek marathon, all 26.2 miles of it, much of it uphill. And another friend worked an incredibly long time with a trainer to run in the Boston marathon.  According to the reports of my friends, the excitement of just being part of those famous events was energizing, but the last parts of the races were absolutely grueling.  Sounds a lot like the races we are called to run.

I have observed, quite frankly, that most of our days are characterized by walking rather than flying and running.  Just putting one foot in front of the other.  Sometimes as we plod, the path becomes more restrictive and the way more treacherous while even the light seems to darken.  God brings us to those places, too, those dark nights of the soul.  He allows the plodding, but it’s only for a season, and he sustains us during those times.

That’s when waiting is essential.  Waiting for renewal.  Waiting for rest and peace.  Waiting for God to make himself known.  Waiting as he makes crooked places straight and rough places plain.  Strength comes in waiting, and when it’s time to move on, God gives the signal.  The light brightens the path, and sometimes, yes, sometimes, we even mount up with wings like eagles.

Just now, however, I’m waiting.

 

 

Father, knowing you and your Word brings rest during weary times.  You promise strength and every other thing we need on this journey.  We trust you, and we wait. Thank you.  AMEN.

UNPARDONABLE

But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.  Matthew 6:15

 

K. Chesterton writes a provocative story in his Father Brown series about an occurrence among a small clique of close friends. One has challenged another to a duel, and when a death results, the killer flees into exile. After many years, the friends learn that the runaway has returned but refuses to reenter society.  There is great talk about forgiveness and the justification of the duel (which was legal in those days).

The well-intended friends discuss how best to coerce their friend to leave his isolation even as Fr. Brown cautions against it.  Finally, they force the recluse’s hand only to discover that the living person is actually the one thought to have been killed while the dead friend was essentially murdered by the living.

The little group is incensed.  Brown chastises them saying that they forgive only those sins that they think aren’t really sins (such as a duel) while tolerating “conventional” wrongs.  Someone protests that what was done was vile, and Brown counters with, “…leave [me] to console those who really need consolation; who do things really indefensible, things that neither the world nor they themselves can defend; and none but a priest will pardon.  Leave us with the men who commit the mean and revolting and real crimes; mean as St. Peter when the cock crew, and yet the dawn came.”  By twos and threes the others left in silence.  In the story Chesterton is not pardoning the killer; he is forgiving him—while pointing out the hypocrisy of his “friends.”

Do you ever quantify sin?  This sin is worse than that—this is nothing while that is heinous and unforgivable.  If you, LORD, kept a record of sins, Lord, who could stand  (Psalm 130:3)?  And yet, it’s so easy to slip onto the judge’s bench and point fingers.  Let us leave the judging to God and become the best forgivers in the Kingdom.  After all, he forgave us.

 

 

Father, pull me up short whenever I am tempted to withhold your forgiveness from any one.  Love through me and forgive through me.  Heal through me.  Restore through me.  For your Kingdom’s sake and for your glory.  In Jesus’ name.  AMEN.

MISSING THE BUS

…to preach to the Gentiles the boundless riches of Christ…  Ephesians 3:8

 

My grandson Sam and I were en route to visit friends in Little Plumstead, a tiny village in northeastern England.  Rather than take the train, we decided on a leisurely bus tour through the glorious countryside.

We arrived at the station with minutes to spare, and Sam sought out the particular bus for our journey while I waited in the terminal for his signal.  And I waited.  And waited.  Finally, Sam came racing in, looking to see where I’d gone.

He had been on our bus, talking with the driver, explaining that his grandmother would appear momentarily.  And he waited.  And waited.  Finally, the driver said he had a schedule to meet and could delay no longer.  He ushered Sam off the bus and left while I quietly waited in the station for word of departure.

While I waited, the vehicle that would take us to our destination up and left us.  Instead of a relatively short nonstop drive, we had to purchase a new set of tickets and were put on a route where we stopped at every tiny hamlet (it seemed like dozens), prolonging and delaying our journey.  At last, we arrived and were sympathetically greeted by our hosts.  Yes, in Britain, you buy your ticket and get on the bus.  You do not wait for an announcement and for someone to escort you to your seat.  So, next time I will know.

I am wondering if we ever sit back waiting comfortably for God to tap us on the shoulder and remind us of all the provisions that are ours in Christ Jesus?  Do we ever puzzle over why he isn’t overwhelming us with his grace and bounty when all the while he’s made promises that are as good as tickets in our hands?

I must remember to claim what’s already been bought for me and to put myself on whatever vehicle God has provided.  If I don’t, I’ll miss the bus.

 

Lord, you are so merciful when I am sometimes so vague.  Poke me if I sit around waiting for you to act—when you’ve already given us everything we’ll ever need.  Help me to access all that is mine in Christ Jesus.  Humbly, I pray in Jesus’ name.  AMEN.