We wait. It is a part of life that can be terribly unpleasant.
A popular theme, fiction, non-fiction, and plays have wait in their titles. Tom Petty, whose band Mudcrutch played at my high school dances and events, sings about how “The Waiting is the Hardest Part.” He’s right, and I love his song.
The scriptures contain plenty of verses about waiting. A favorite comes from Isaiah 40:31. 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. I want to mount up with wings as eagles, but I do not want to wait. I have grown weary. Frustrated. Exasperated. Somewhat confused.
This morning I was listening to Jeremy Camp’s song, “Dead Man Walking.” Most of us are familiar with the expression and how it refers to death row, a convicted person walking to his or her appointment with execution. I thought of all the times I begged God to let me die. I wanted to wake in His arms in Heaven, to be relieved of suffering. I had trigeminal neuralgia, and sometimes it was difficult to live through the next minute. I was a dead person living, barely able to walk and not able to talk.
Long after the Lord healed me, I began to experience terrible pain from glossopharyngeal neuralgia. I had learned too much to pray for death. From my previous experience, I knew that God would not leave me in such terrible pain. I saw the present suffering as temporary. I had assurance of God’s love, and I was well acquainted with Hebrews Eleven. Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see, states the chapter’s first verse. It happens to be the following verses, however, that fill me with faith.
By faith, Noah built an ark and saved his family and himself from the great flood. By faith, Abraham, whose body was as good as dead, had a child with his aging wife, Sarah. Abraham became the father of the world’s largest nations. By faith, Abraham offered his son as a sacrifice, and the Lord honored his obedience by providing an alternative. By faith, Moses’ mother hid him, and he became part of the Pharaoh’s family. By faith, Moses led the Jews of out of Egypt’s bondage. By faith, the wall of Jericho fell, and the Lord’s people gained control of the city. Kingdoms have been conquered and the mouths of lions have been shut by faith.
We recover by faith. We win by faith. Sometimes all we can do is thank God for an answer that hasn’t come yet, by faith.
Whatever you and I need today might require waiting. Perhaps we will be used and abused in the process. I feel weary, and you might, too. But by faith, we are more than conquerors. By faith, we ask for more strength.
By faith, we walk, not to death but to life.