Are We There Yet?
On Sunday, April 12, 2020, I was at home resting on my sofa. Earlier that day I had celebrated my risen Savior from that same sofa. It was odd, but I was relieved; the season of Lent was over. And I was ready to enter “ordinary time”—a season marked on the Christian calendar. To my dismay, I discovered that ordinary time was still 50 days away! The season of Easter continues through Pentecost. I felt like I was in the back seat of my parents’ car, whining, “Are we there yet?” I wanted to arrive at my preferred destination—normalcy—but it was not yet time.
One week later, my understanding deepened. I heard my Father answer, “No, we are not THERE yet, but we are HERE, and I am here.” My focus immediately shifted from a future destination to my present reality and from a place to a Person.
“Be where you are” is advice I often hear spoken in our distracted and hurried culture. We are consistently encouraged to be fully present. Now that my normal routine is interrupted and so much of the future is uncertain, I admit my need to refocus. Restlessness, impatience, wanderlust, and—let’s be honest—complaining need to be noticed, confessed, and cleared from my soul. Now is a good time to ask, “What have I overlooked or ignored that needs my attention?” The “here and now” is a good time to repair a broken relationship or finish an incomplete project.
When I hear, “And I am here,” my paradigm changes. I am not held hostage, waiting to reach a destination. Instead, I see myself on pilgrimage with the God who has promised, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5). While sheltering at home, I am not in a holding pattern. A deeper work is taking place. With the Psalmist, I pray, “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me and lead me in the way everlasting” (Ps. 139:23–34). This is my opportunity to be made new.
Here We Are
Here we are. Today. On the other side of Easter. The transforming Resurrection power of the gospel is available—today. For me. For you. For all. “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts” (Heb. 4:7). Let’s make the most of the opportunities God has for us in the present.
Teach Me, Lord, to Wait
“Dear Lord, You know my pain, You know how desperate I am for You to heal me. I ask You to help me and teach me to wait on You. I know your timing is perfect and I will wait on You to do your miracle in me.” This was my son’s prayer one night as he faced a chronic illness two years ago. I was humbled by that prayer. Tears ran down my face, not only because of the sweetness of his prayer, but also because at that moment my child trusted in a God Who could do immeasurably more than what we can imagine – but I didn’t.
My son had understood something I had, for a while, forgotten: to trust and wait. I was tired of hearing my child moaning in pain all day. I was tired of having to watch what he ate, tired of having to spend two hours at the grocery store reading every product label yet not able to find much food that would not harm him more. I had to go on medical leave and homeschool him. I had detached myself from a set routine and I didn’t like it. Our whole family dynamics had changed and I was becoming desperate. I had asked many times for a “right now” miracle to ease my desperation. I wanted everything to go back to the way it was. But that night I understood the source of my despair. It made sense and it hurt. A 10-year old’s humble prayer had reminded me that I was not in control of the situation. I wanted it done in my time and not God’s, and I was ashamed.
Waiting on the Lord can test our faith. I realized that not wanting to wait meant I was not recognizing Him as the source of all authority.
In one of her blogs, Sylvia Gunther puts it like this: As we wait, God is revealing His perfections, His impeccable ability to be in charge of every detail. His timing is split-second. He is omniscient, omnipresent, and omni-caring. He works all and in all. He gives confirmations of His ever-present-ness. He gives us assurances of His real power over the enemy that is not seen. His Holy Spirit focuses us. We want proof, but faith is the substance (not the evidence) of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen (Heb. 11:1). The Holy Spirit says, “I am giving you the substance of faith.” He gives the grace to await His purposes until the precise moment when He gives evidence that He was working all along. Without this faith, it is impossible to please Him, for all who come to God must believe that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him (Heb. 11:6).
In Scripture I was reminded how to wait on the Lord:
Quietly and Patiently: “Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for Him.” (Psalm 37:7); “But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.” (Romans 8:25)
I was reminded to wait only on Him: “Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from him.” (Psalm 62:5)
I decided to wait on the Lord like my son, and, like Abraham, who “…after waiting patiently, … received what was promised (Hebrews 6:15).” When I finally became obedient and waited, I was able to experience God’s power and grace through my son’s illness and eventual healing.
May we all learn to wait quietly and patiently on Him for His perfect timing and answers to our prayers!