I used to read Isaiah 40:31 and wonder what in the world it meant. “But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.” I knew many people would name this verse as one of their favorite scriptures. I’ve seen it on t-shirts and keychains and Bible covers, but I had no idea why people were waiting on the Lord. I had no idea why this verse was a comfort to them.
A long time ago, I learned in Bible class about Sarah, Abraham’s wife. You probably know the story. The woman was old and tired. She had not been able to have any children but was now in the twilight of her years. God changed her name and told her she would have a baby. When the angels of the Lord said she would have a baby in the next year, Sarah laughed. The angel asked Abraham why Sarah had laughed, and she denied doing so. If you don’t know the story, it’s a good one. It starts in Genesis 15.
There are a few things I’ve always thought about this story. First, that would be my luck that I would lie about laughing, and the angel would call me out on it. Poor Sarah. She and I might be kindred spirits as we both seem to get caught in a pickle occasionally. And second, I would be horrified if, at age 90, I found out I was having a child. I just can’t imagine.
Then, the other day, as I listened to a sermon that included the details of Sarah and Abraham, another thought crossed my mind. Sarah had waited. She had waited on the Lord a very long time. As silly as it might sound, that had never occurred to me before. I had always focused on the “here and now” of the story of Sarah. It had not dawned on me that Sarah had experienced years and years and years of trying to get pregnant and failing. Bless her heart. She may have even had miscarriages, but she certainly faced the comments and disappointment from other people. She had waited her whole life, and just when she knew it was too late, the Lord answered her prayer. He answered the prayer she had probably stopped praying years ago, because at age 90, pregnancy was impossible. Or so she thought.
I waited a year to get pregnant with the Beetle and a year and a half to get pregnant with the Goose. Both of those waits seemed like an eternity. I can’t imagine waiting 70 more years!
Anywho, back to my first thought…waiting on the Lord.
Though my little family of four had experienced many struggles in life, I had never found myself waiting on the Lord. Perhaps, I should have waited instead of taking action on my own. Perhaps, I should have waited for guidance and answers, but I didn’t. I thought I had. I prayed and things happened, so I thought that was God’s answer. It might have been. I don’t know. I’m not sure whether those things were my answers or how God wanted things to turn out. You see, I wasn’t really giving the power to God to let him handle it. Instead, I would just solve it in on my own. However, a few years ago, I learned what it meant to wait.
In April, 2012, Mr. Everything was put in the hospital with really high blood pressure. It was scary-high. The doctors sort of got it under control, but not really. They sent him home with instructions of what to do if it shot up again. That wasn’t very comforting.
Two weeks later, the storage building that housed our mobile pottery business burned down. The fire took all our equipment for pottery and all of Mr. Everything’s tools. He was a handyman, so losing his tools was a terrible loss. In one fire, we lost 2/3 of our income. Poof. Gone. We had already been surviving on much less that we ever thought possible, so for 2/3 of that to be gone was devastating.
Besides the comfort of prayer, our only comfort left was the fact that we would be receiving our income tax return very soon and that would carry us through. Then, a week after the fire, we got notice that my social security number had been stolen and someone had already taken our return. I looked around for the hidden cameras, but there weren’t any. This was my life.
Over the next several months, as we dealt with the little bit of insurance we had, we held on tight to God, and He carried us through. We did not starve to death. Our children did not go without. We were okay. How, I had I no explanation, except for through the grace of God.
As the months went by, other people began asking what we were going to do. They weren’t trying to be ugly or to frustrate us. It was just natural to them, as they were on the outside looking in, to think we would just get back to normal. Whatever normal was.
Meanwhile, I was in a daily struggle. I kept praying to God and turning my concerns over to him, but at the same time, I had no idea what we were going to do. People asked if we would re-start the business. I didn’t know. They asked if Mr. E would get a job. I didn’t know. They asked how we would support ourselves once the minuscule bit of insurance money ran out. I didn’t know. I found myself saying a silent prayer each time I was asked a question. In my mind, I would say, “Waiting on you, Lord. I’m waiting on you.”
For months, I was waiting on the Lord. I wanted Him to give us a clear answer of what we were supposed to do. I wanted a sign. I wanted to see clearly what my future was. The longer I waited, the more frustrated I got, but the longer I waited, the more I understood Isaiah 40:12. I had never waited before, but I sure was this time. I truly had no answers. I could not fix anything. I was paralyzed with the inability to do anything about the situation. It was too big for me. Thank goodness God was there.
Now, I’d like to tell you that after I waited a certain number of months, the Lord wrote my answer in the clouds in the sky, but that’s not true. Well, I guess, sort of, it is. There is an airplane that flies over this area often, and it writes messages in the sky. It writes, “God loves you,” and, “You + God = :).” I hate to break it to anyone else who has seen them in the past, but I’m pretty sure those messages were for me. Okay. I can share. They were for you too, but God definitely wrote them there for me. It was His way of telling me that, no matter what would happen next, as long as I was with Him, I could be happy. More importantly, He loved me, so I was going to be okay.
Other than my love notes, I have not really seen any clear signs from God. I’m still waiting. I don’t know what it is I’m supposed to be doing or not doing or saying or not saying. I don’t know where my life is going to take me. I thought we were supposed to live at a Bible camp and work, but I was clearly wrong about that. Now, I just don’t know. What I do know is, the longer I wait, the more joyous it will be when God answers me. I just hope I don’t end up 90 and pregnant.
If you are waiting on the Lord, just know you aren’t alone. You and I are in the same boat. It has occurred to me that maybe this wait is the answer. There is no answer. Maybe you and I are learning what we need to and doing what we need to just by waiting and having patience. I don't know about you, but I’m pretty sure I needed a good dose of patience. Maybe this is God’s way of teaching me. I don’t know. What I do know, is, God is in control, and I’m still here. Waiting. -Al