It will be said in that day,
"Behold, this is our God;
we have waited for Him, that He might save us.
This is the LORD; we have waited for Him;
let us be glad and rejoice in His salvation."
Isaiah 25:9, ESV
My little family has dwelt under a particular burden for years now. Some trials grow so prolonged that one ceases to pray regularly for change and focuses on prayers for endurance and patience with joy. Andrew Murray's words helped me again with this recently:
One of the chief needs in our waiting upon God, one of the deepest secrets of its blessedness and blessing, is a quiet, confident persuasion that it is not in vain; courage to believe that God will hear and help; we are waiting on a God who never could disappoint His people (Waiting on God, Kindle location 285).In the last two weeks, wholly unexpectedly, this burden has lifted in a perfectly timed turn of events. In addition to answering the specific prayers for guidance regarding a significant change of circumstances, this one provision has answered a constellation of other requests I would have thought unrelated. Amazing, isn't it, how He can devise a better answer than the fifteen blueprints I offered Him in my impatience?
It feels like walking into a finely appointed hotel room and discovering that every need and wish has already been anticipated and met. Is this how Joseph felt when he was ushered so precipitously from the prison to Pharaoh's palace?
Even so, the Puddleglum part of me murmurs, "If something seems too good to be true, it probably is. What's the catch here?"
The Lord replies, through a Bible study lesson, with the examples of Caleb and Joshua, the faithful scouts whose regard for God's power and faithfulness surpassed their assessment of the obstacles to taking the land promised to the patriarchs of Israel. "Faith brings rest; unbelief brings unrest," said the teacher on the DVD.
Again, in the homework on Numbers, I hear this from the medieval mystic Julian of Norwich:
This word: Thou shalt not be overcome, was said full clearly and full mightily, for assuredness and comfort against all tribulations that may come. He said not: Thou shalt not be tempested, thou shalt not be travailed, thou shalt not be afflicted; but He said: Thou shalt not be overcome. God willeth that we take heed to these words, and that we be ever strong in sure trust, in weal and woe. For He loveth and enjoyeth us, and so willeth He that we love and enjoy Him and mightily trust in Him; and all shall be well (from Chapter 68, Revelations of Divine Love).Today, then, we celebrate answered prayers and find in them renewed strength to bear those for which the answer yet remains, "No." The many clear marks of God's hand in this change provide no assurance of an easy path ahead, but they do assure of His leading, and because of He who leads loves us and has quite the track record of power and faithfulness, we can move forward in trust in Him who gives rest and victory.
Dear crumble, some of you I know are also in a waiting place; in prayer we wait together for the help you need. God has not forgotten you. He will answer in the best way and time. May He do so in a way that glorifies His name, strengthens your faith, and gives you a story to share of His faithfulness. Even when the answer is no and no and no again, a day is coming, as in the Scripture heading this post, when we will see the God we await and all our hopes will be fulfilled.
It has been a roller-coaster week here, and a mere few of the things for which I thank our Lord include
God's clear guidance::answers to prayer::His patient faithfulness to correct and bear with me::eucatastrophe in action
:lovely mail from two different crumbles who, unbeknownst to one another, sent postcards from their travels:
so much encouragement and affirmation for my beloved::desire even for a particular coffee fulfilled
health insurance::first hollyhocks blooming in the garden::first monarch sighted on the lawn
choosing yarn for a friend's baby::tangible expression of hope::lunch with my mom and a mutual friend
::prayer support::appointment with Dr. Honeycomb::stable asthma::bag full of prescription samples::
watching soccer (futbol) with my two favorite guys::waiting over for a permanent pastor at our church
::a gracious compliment from an acquaintance at church::listening ears::mysterious bruise on the ball of my foot::
no appointments with orthopedist until April 30::new opportunities to exercise trust::our trustworthy God
(taking the Joy Dare, #5520-5544; photos to follow separately)