… but they who wait upon 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.
Waiting is one of the most difficult things to do in this fast-paced world we live in.
So much is accessible.
God, however, is not in a hurry. In fact, the Bible says much about waiting.
Every Christian’s hope is living with the expectation of God fulfilling his promises to us and making everything right.
But that takes waiting.
Waiting to be reunited with your loved one.
The days go by slowly, don’t they? But our lives are very short in comparison to eternity.
We can spend them being frustrated most days or we can decide there is nothing to do but wait.
Before you resolve to wait, you have to trust what God tells us.
When I began this blog, I was purposeful to make sure I did not throw out the Christian catch phrases or stamp a scripture on someone’s pain without heartfelt explanations.
In church circles, we are told not to be bitter – what a horrible thing it is, how it is destructive, and then of course, the scriptures pertaining to such.
But when you are hurting really, really bad…like with my-child-died kind of hurt…you need more reasons to not be bitter.
Oh, yes. I value the scriptures. They are foundational truths to build our lives upon. And if God had to prove himself to me, he sure has over and over again.
Yet, sometimes, unknowingly, Christians can almost be flippant with their application in terms of quoting them and moving on.
You mean like the Priest and the Levite who walked by the wounded man on the side of the road? Heck, they didn’t even look. At least giving someone a scripture is better than nothing.
Well, do we want to do the bare minimum? Or do we want to do (and be) the most we can be?
The Good Samaritan did look. He stopped. He did not move on. He did more to help the wounded man. Not just at that moment, but thought about the days ahead.
I also wanted to keep my blog posts short since I don’t have the time to read long posts, either. I like tidbits of solid information. So, I apologize for so much background today.
Back to bitterness.
When I lost my son, there were “other” situations that came about, exasperating my already weak, emotional state. It is called secondary grief. But that’s for another day.
When we’re hurting, we think with our hearts and our heads and it goes back and forth during those tumultuous days.
Somewhere in the emotional chaos, I knew because I knew, I could not get bitter.
It’s like that splinter in your finger. Ever have one that is long and deep? Your first reaction is to protect. But then you know you have to have it dug out and it is going to hurt. If you don’t, it will get infected.
That is a small example. Any wound not taken care of can cause serious problems. Even amputation.
Bitterness is like that.
It begins to fester when the pain you feel turns to resentment, anger, revenge, and any other number of things.
When I first realized I could get bitter over the circumstances I felt (and they were numerous), I wouldn’t allow it. And the only way to combat it is to trust God no matter how bad it hurts.
Here is where building your life on the foundational truths of scripture is important. I had believed already and had spent my life building. Like building your house on the rock – the wind and rain came in great strength – and the house did not fall.
But then the emotions come flooding in and things can look quite different. That’s when we have to reach out for what is true no matter how we feel.
I have seen bitterness on people. They are miserable. And if God says he is with us when we are hurting, supplying all we need to get through it, well, we have to take it or leave it.
Bitterness takes root if you let it and it will grow. It is destructive, clouding good, healthy thinking (despite circumstances), unable to filter out the lies, pulling you down with the weight of its growth.
Bitterness takes away a soft heart and hardens it.
I have scars. Some things will not be corrected or resolved on this side of eternity. I have changed and I know it. But I continue to face each day as it comes, knowing God is with me, and it’s not the end of the story. Because God has more to come.
I hope you will know it, too.
Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.
Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.
“Doing something over and over again doesn’t just make it easier. It actually changes the brain.” – Learning Rewires the Brain; Science News for Students”
Research says our brain has the ability to change over the course of our lives; that learning can rewire our brain.
If learning can rewire our brain in terms of mastering a new skill, can I learn to think in a new way which will benefit me? Make me less anxious or fearful? Lonely or insecure? Angry or bitter?
If we think in one way for a very long time, does that create paths of a particular mindset?
Perhaps that is why the Bible tells us how we should be thinking.
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.
It matters how we think.
Practicing can make perfect wrong thinking, too.
When the Bible tells us to give thanks in all things, it doesn’t mean we quip rote words. God wants us to grasp the deeper meaning here because he knows how easy it is to lick our wounds for too long and what it will do to us.
When I have a splinter in my finger, I don’t feel like having it removed because it hurts. I have to decide it has to come out.
Following God’s guidance is just that. A decision. It is not necessarily going to feel right.
After our initial shock, reaction, confusing, anger .. pain, we will have to decide.
Will I continue to leave that splinter in my finger?
Or will I remove it?
How we feel is important to God. But he was upfront with us. He told us we would have trouble in this world but to take heart because he will have the last say.
We keep this in our sight. The Creator of the universe has a plan and a solution.
Practicing the words of this promise makes perfect thinking.
It’s been a difficult couple of weeks.
Not because of any one thing, but an accumulation of many things that have worn me down.
You know how things just catch up with you?
While doing the dishes this morning, I thought, “who am I?”
Who am I, when tornadoes have leveled whole towns, with loss of homes, businesses, and family?
Who am I, when those who protect us are murdered and will not return to their families and friends?
Who am I, when children are recruited to fight for terrorism?
This doesn’t mean my personal pain is not valid. God does not place limits on what upsets us.
It means sometimes we have to look up to see the masses, otherwise we feel very alone, only exasperating our pain.
Who am I?
I recognize pain is universal and everyone of us are facing something.
I recognize God didn’t leave us without anything to rest our troubled minds upon.
I recognize the need for frequent reminders.
I recognize the need for all of us to trust in something. If we avoid trusting God, no matter how much it hurts, we will find something else to trust in. Even our own right to be angry and bitter.
Who are you?
Being in-between is uncomfortable.
You are not here and you are not there.
Caught between a rock and a hard place.
Our lives can be like the 4 seasons. We experience times of highs and lows. It’s the in-between that gets me.
The calendar might say it’s the beginning of a new season, but all around me says the opposite.
The end of summer’s faded colors of spent flowers and overgrown vines, the heavy gray skies and leafless trees of late autumn, and the barren, sleepy spring landscape. All in-between the next season.
Are you in-between?
Just knowing you’re there can mean all the difference. Knowing it’s even part of how seasons come and go will help you to be patient.
You are not alone.