Thursday, March 14, 2013

Making the Most of Waiting

"Wait on the LORD: be of good courage,
and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD."
Psalm 27:14

What are you waiting for?
Anything you are wishing would happen,
and things just don't seem to be moving fast enough?

We're still waiting for one of the two unmixed blessings 
that God promised us last December to be finalized
One of the promises has been fulfilled.
It is here, and we are enjoying the wondrous benefits.
The one that involves Kevin being able to work from home 
is still in the making and taking a bit longer.
We're getting there, but it may still be a little while before it actually happens.
Knowing it will happen eventually gives us something to look forward to.

I am not patient.
I confess.
Long-suffering is not one of my strong suits.
I just don't like to wait.

The other day, I asked Kevin about it....again.
His patience level and mine are worlds apart.

"It will happen.
It is just going to take time.
But, we know it is coming, so it's okay."

I wish I could be more like him.

The other day, Zach and I were talking.
He was telling me about something he is wishing for and wanting to happen
and how it just doesn't seem like it ever will.

I said, "Zach, you know it is going to happen.
You just have to wait."

Little Mr. Wisdom answered me quickly....
and with Scripture, to boot.

"Mama, now what does the Bible say about waiting?

I did.
I knew where he was going with it, but I let him go ahead and tell me.

"I'll tell you.
The Bible says that hope deferred maketh the heart sick."

It was all I could do to stifle the laugh that was screaming inside of me.
It just struck me so funny...
he sure knows when and how to apply the Word of God....
most effectively, I might add.  :~)

"Yes, Zach, you are right, the Bible says that.
Hope deferred does make the heart sick.
But, what does the rest of that verse say?
You didn't finish it."

He reluctantly quoted the rest of the verse 
he recently memorized in school.
"...but when the desire cometh, it is a tree of life",


If it is worth having, it is worth waiting for, right?
It is hard to wait.
It makes your heart sick to have to hope for something you don't have.
But, if you know it's coming, you can wait, right?
And, when it actually happens, it will be like a tree of life to you."

Now if only I would practice what I so fervently preach.:~)
If only I would do what I say, instead of just saying what I say.

Why am I so impatient?
Because it runs in my family to be so?
Let's face it.
The McCoys have never been known for being the most patient bunch.
We have zero intolerance for incompetence,
we like things done when we want them done,
we are meticulous perfectionists who have to bite our tongues 
when others don't put their whole heart and soul into what they are doing.
I could go on and on.
It is just the way we are.

"That is no excuse, child.
I have victory in this area for you, also."

The Potter is doing His utmost to teach me to be more patient...
in my times of waiting.

"I want you to learn to enjoy the wait.
Make the most of it.
Instead of staying so focused on what you are waiting for,
look around you...
in the process...
while you are waiting.
Find the good things...on your journey.
Cherish and savor life...while it is happening.
Be productive and stay the midst of your waiting.
If I promise you something, you know it will happen sooner or later.
In My time.
In My way.
When I see best.
There is no reason for you to wonder if I have changed My mind.
I am the Lord.
I change not.
Once My Word is spoken, it is settled...
forever in Heaven.
Never to be reversed.
I don't break My promises.
They are as guaranteed as if they have already happened."

I know this is true...first-hand.
God has never broken a promise to me.
So, I know, in His time and way,
things will fall into place exactly as He said they would.
Having His promise and His rock solid track record gives me hope.
It's just the waiting that is so hard.

There is a "fullness of time" (spoken about in Ephesians 1:10)
that is attached to each of His promises.
When God makes a promise, He already knows when that promise will be fulfilled.
He knows when it will reach its fullness of time.
The date of fulfillment is already in place.
He doesn't divulge that information to us.
He simply expects our complete trust....while we are waiting.

When Adam and Eve committed the first transgression in the Garden of Eden,
God made His very first promise concerning His plan
to send a Savior Who would suffer and die for our sins.
That first promise is recorded in Genesis 3:15.
He was speaking directly to satan, who had taken on the form of a serpent.
"And I will put enmity between thee and the woman,
and between thy seed and her seed;
it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel."

"It shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel"
was a prophecy concerning the plan of salvation and how it would be administered
and it took thousands of years to be fulfilled.
Estimates vary on just how many thousands,
but based on the recorded number of generations,
we can safely say it was at least 3,400 years from the time
God promised a Redeemer until the actual time of Jesus' crucifixion,
which completely fulfilled the promise God gave in Genesis 3:15.

It must have felt like an eternity....
as the years and generations passed
and the people of God were bound to rituals,
dependent upon yearly sacrificial ceremonies for the remission of their sins.
All along the way, God continued to make promises to His prophets...
reinforcing the original promise He had made in the Garden of Eden.
No doubt, the prophets hoped the promise would be fulfilled in their day.
How they must have longed to see its fruition!
All those years.
Hope deferred.
Sick hearts.

Still, God waited.

One day, after Jesus had started His earthly ministry,
"...He turned him unto his disciples, and said privately,
Blessed are the eyes which see the things that ye see:
For I tell you, that many prophets and kings have desired
to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them;
and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard them."
(Luke 10:23,24)

In A.D. 27, at the time of Jesus' death by crucifixion
and subsequent resurrection from the dead,
the prophecy of Genesis 3:15 was finally fulfilled.

Satan's head....his power, dominion, and rule over mankind was forever bruised.
It took a fatal blow when Jesus walked out of Joseph's sepulchre alive.
In the process of stepping on and successfully crushing satan's head,
 the heel of our precious Redeemer was deeply, violently, and irrevocably bruised.

Jesus Christ, the Son of God,
had to condescend, leave the splendor of Heaven,
become one of us, and take upon flesh as our flesh.
He had to be born through natural childbirth,
grow through every stage of infancy, childhood, teen years, into adulthood,
suffer every emotion, every temptation, every type of physical pain that we suffer,
and at the end, He had to be willing to be bruised....
beyond recognition...
to deal that final, annihilating, bruising blow to satan's head.
He had to walk willingly to Pilate's court,
allow muscular Roman soldiers to bind Him to a stake,
endure the most intense, unbearable, violent scourging of all time,
and at the end lay down His life on an old, splintery, rugged cross.
The bruises He endured in the process of permanently bruising satan's head
were beyond any physical torture you and I will ever be able to comprehend.

It took literally thousands of years for the promise of our salvation to be fulfilled,
but God fulfilled it.
In the fullness of times.
When it was right.
God bruised satan's head,
bruising His Own heel, in the process....
just like He said would happen.

That bruise...prophesied thousands of years before,
is the bruise that made eternal life possible.

"Hope deferred maketh the heart sick: but when the desire cometh, it is a tree of life."
Proverbs 13:12

In December of 1991, God gave me a sweet promise
that we would one day have a child of our very own.
Years went by, and my infertility issues did not disappear.
Each doctor's diagnosis was more grim and less encouraging.
From time to time, I would think of God's promise,
and, admittedly, there were moments I wondered if I had really heard God's voice.
I wondered if He had changed His mind.
I questioned His timing.
He seemed to be taking a very long time,
my biological clock was ticking louder by the minute,
and we weren't getting any younger.

Then one day, out of the blue,
His personal promise to me became reality.
It was completely unexpected....
to find out I was expecting.
But, I was.
God did what He said He would do.
On December 26, 2000,
nine long years after the promise,
and twelve and a half years after Kevin and I made vows to God and each other,
God fulfilled His promise....
in the form of a round-faced,
sweet-natured, bouncing baby boy!

For years, my heart was sick,
as I longed to hold our own baby in my arms.
But when the desire of my heart came,
as the life inside me grew,
as I heard his first cry drawing in his first breath of life,
Zachary brought and on a consistent, daily basis brings
joy and life and happiness to us and our home.
He is a continual tree of life...growing daily like a weed...
much quicker than I would like!

"Hope deferred maketh the heart sick: but when the desire cometh, it is a tree of life."

When Jesus left the earth,
He promised His disciples He would come again.
They must have thought it would be soon....
during their lifetime.
Reading the Apostle Paul's writings,
one can plainly and definitely see that he also believed it would be very soon...
in his lifetime.
Fast forward.
Here we are almost 2,000 years after A.D. 27...
when Jesus first made the promise.

Just because He hasn't fulfilled it yet,
surely doesn't mean He has changed His mind and isn't coming.
He won't forget us.
He knows what is going on.
He sees the conditions.
He senses the yearnings...the longings in our hearts to be with Him.
To be delivered from the evil in this present world.
He told us not to despair.
Not to hang our defeat.

His exact words?
"And when these things begin to come to pass,
then look up,
and lift up your heads;
for your redemption draweth nigh."
Luke 21:28

Don't look down.
Don't hang your head.
Look up!
He said He would come back for us.
He will.

In the meantime, we can be so heavenly-minded,
that we are of no earthly good.
Deferred hope can leave us so sick of heart
that we give up and stop fighting the good fight of faith.
It is no time to be discouraged....
no time to lay our armor down.
We have to keep busy.
We have to make the most of waiting.

Remember Jesus' parable found in Luke 19?

"A certain nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom, and to return.
And he called his ten servants, and delivered them ten pounds, and said unto them, Occupy till I come."
Luke 19:13

He wants us to keep busy.
He is coming.
We know not when.
Many believe it will be in our generation.
Just like the disciples and St. Paul thought it would happen in theirs.
They died and passed off the scene.
It has been a long time since then.
One thing for certain,
we are much closer to Jesus' coming than they were.
And just as the prophets hoped the Messiah would make His first appearance during their life span,
so we hope He will make His second appearance in ours.

So far, our hope, like so much of theirs, has been deferred.
The more evil things get,
the more heartsick we become.

Lift up your head, my friend!
While there is still time, let's make the most of our waiting.
Spreading the Gospel.
Showing His compassion.
Fulfilling His mission.
Loving one another.
Enjoying our journey...from here to there.
Making the most of every second of life we are given.

One day, His promise will be fulfilled,
and we will see Him as He is.

Believe me, it will be worth the wait...
and the steep climb to get there.

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