We prayed for healing.
We anointed with oil.
We waited and we waited… And we waited some more.
Have you been there? Have you done that? I should probably back up a bit, so you can get the whole picture.
On November 23, 1991, I married the man of dreams…literally. Tall. Blond hair. Blue eyes. Drove a fast red sports car. (OK. I know this is little vain, right? But I was in my late teens.) A Christian. There. Yes, God, that kind of guy will do just fine. Yep. That was him, the man I wanted to marry. So standing before Scott on our wedding day, you can only imagine how divine blessedly I believed my marriage would be, since God answered my prayers down to eye color. With great confidence, we danced into our life of bliss.
Fast-forward to our earlier 40’s, you know, that time when we start noticing lines around our eyes, loosen the belt to the next hole, and a grunt when we stand up. These are the typical signs of normal wear and tear that come with age, but my healthy husband seemed to have aches and issues beyond the norm. Without warning, we were thrust into a season of sickness and revolving doors of medical experts.
We started this health journey with hope; but for eighteen months doctors probed, prodded, and stuck the body of my once strong and healthy husband. This specialist treated his symptoms with that medication. That specialist treated his symptoms with a different medication. The seemingly never-ending roller coaster of meds and doctor visits finally stopped when we heard two life-altering words to my worn-out and weary husband: rheumatoid arthritis. Finally, a diagnosis…finally, an answer. Oh how we wanted our medical wait to end; but let’s face it, sometimes our wait doesn’t end as we expect. Sometimes it seems our wait will never end.
The wait is more about experiencing God, than enduring the delay. Instead of getting distracted by the object of our wait, a medical diagnosis, we can grow closer to God, the Person of our faith. Here are three truths, we can tuck deep in our heart, to help us wait without losing faith.
- Maintain your spiritual strength through prayer and reading God’s Word. I realize this is the Sunday School answer. I also know that when waiting has stolen your peace, praying and reading your Bible is not at the top of the to-do list. Long waits can drive a wedge in our relationship with God. Even though I didn’t feel like spending with God, spending time with God was exactly what I needed. Peace will fill our circumstances when we push through our feelings to stay close to God, and allow His Word to navigate us through our wait. Your Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path (Psalm 119:105 KJV)
- Fight for praise. On the days Scott could barely walk, praising God felt like a huge sacrifice. I wanted answers from God. I didn’t want to offer applause to God. Through my Bible reading, I fell in love with David’s psalms. This man knew about suffering and waiting, yet praised God. We can be certain that even on the bad days, God is still good. He will carry us through our season of waiting. Even though it is hard to praise God when the future is unknown, there’s always something worthy of praise. You are my strength; I wait for you to rescue me, for you, O God, are my fortress (Psalm 59:9 NLT).
- Find small and simple ways to love people. Our churches, neighborhoods, and communities are full of individuals who need a touch from Jesus. This truth is number three for a reason. It is only when we have immersed ourselves in the Word, spent time with God in prayer, and made praise part of our routine that we can help others. Scott and I didn’t have to look far to find someone in need. Our troubles seem to be minimized when we focus on someone else. Whoever refreshes others will be refreshed (Proverbs 11:27 NLT).
When we find ourselves in a holding pattern, it’s easy to ask, What was I doing wrong? Is God holding my past against me? What do I have to do to earn His favor? Rest assured, God never presses pause out of spite. Sometimes waiting has less to do with the strength of your faith and more to do the perfection of God’s timing. God makes us wait at times so we can glean valuable lessons. In the wait, He is preparing us for what He has already planned for us. Waiting isn’t wasting time; it’s training time.