Longing

Nighttime PrayerJordan’s heart is still awake, even though his body surrendered to sleep an hour ago. He’s restless. Anticipating. Watching and listening for that heart connection he once knew. In the psalmist’s language, Jordan is thirsty like a deer panting for streams of water.  He knows what he’s thirsty for, and He knows that God is faithful.  And yet in this dry season, He feels so far away.

Caitlyn waits all the time, but the nighttime seems the rudest. She waits for a change in her mother’s prognosis, even though no change is coming. She waits for that dreaded decline in respiration, though it seems her Mama is too tough and too stubborn to die. The days keep her busy, but the nights at the bedside turn up the volume on Caitlyn’s grieving heart.  She knows that ultimately what she’s waiting for is the Lord.  And He feels so far away.

Brody is exhausted. It’s been the longest night of his professional life, but the rookie firefighter forges ahead through the rubble of what once was a safe place for kids; a cruel tornado had other ideas. Keeping his own two children, ages 4 and 2, close in his heart, Brody alternately prays he will find survivors and rages that a just, loving God lets innocent children die. His faith is as weary as his body and mind. He wants to believe God.  But He feels so far away.

Cindy sorts through photos and memories of what sometimes looks like someone else’s life. She called it her “days of awakening,” and so they were.  Though she had been a believer since she was 11 years old, amazing things began to happen in Cindy’s life when she was a student in college. Unusual, near-instant answers to prayer. Life-changing mission trips where once she even witnessed a miraculous healing. Extraordinary spiritual growth.  Now ten years later, Cindy is hungry to see those days of awakening again. But it’s been a long time, and He feels so far away. [click to continue…]

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It was a year ago today.  

In one sense, as my Dad said yesterday, it has flown by.  In another, it felt like a thousand years.

But if one thing has emerged from the past 365 days, it’s that when people or Bible writers talk about the “God of All Comfort,” I can say “Amen” and turn the pages with credibility.

But it didn’t start – or end – with the events surrounding my mother’s sudden death.  In fact, the biggest lesson of all was that healing of the heart is a journey through time.

Translation:  Don’t tell me how much comfort or encouragement you’re feeling in the funeral home.  You have no clue yet about comfort.  You’re still being buoyed and insulated by kind people and the truths of your faith.

Comfort – the real kind – comes later.

In the last year, I have been blessed to live what I have preached for years – that the words we use about a Heavenly Father who is who is able to empathize with our weaknesses and invites us to boldly approach a throne of grace are all true.  And believe me, other than the promise of eternal life, I can’t think of a promise that is more vital.

How does He do it?  If you’re the one just leaving the cemetery or the courthouse or the hospital, what can you expect?  How does the Lord put the pieces back together?  While every experience of loss – whether it is through death, rejection, forced job termination, or the death of a dream – is unique, I think I have found some common elements in the way our Heavenly Father brings about His healing. [click to continue…]

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I still miss her sometimes.  Pity I’m so busy I don’t miss her more.  For me it’s mostly in passing sighs… Like now.  (-From my journal a couple of days ago, referring to my mother, who died earlier this year.)

Heard any sermons on longing lately?

I doubt it.

In spite of the fact that it’s such a common experience, and one that is treated a surprising number of times in the Bible, “Dealing with Longing” doesn’t typically generate offerings, baptisms, or slick series brochures from the local worship establishment.

And yet it’s there… right in plain sight.  The Bible’s own version of “Miss You Like Crazy.”

Paul wrote those wild child Corinthians a pretty dress-you-down letter (we call it 1 Corinthians).  Their response?  They turned their hearts, and longed to see Paul.  His reply?  Same thing[click to continue…]

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Trouble in the Waiting Room

by Andy Wood on June 5, 2010

in LV Cycle, Waiting

If you have been waiting longer than ten minutes, press eight. This will not speed up your call, but it will give you something to do while you wait.”(Message on an Airline Reservation Line)

“Waiting on the Lord is like sitting on a concrete bench.”  (Source unknown)

I’ve been known to get in trouble in waiting rooms.  Especially the examination room, where you sit there for God-only-knows-how-long before the doctor comes in.   The other day I was playing with something that looked like a collapsible chin warmer… until my wife informed me it was a barf bag.  And I’ve lost count of the number of latex glove turkeys I’ve made, or the number of peeks through those spiffy wall-mounted scopes.

And those doors that say, “Authorized personnel only”?  I just authorize myself.  I figure it’s just the doctors’ break room, where the really good snacks are.

I did say I’ve gotten in trouble, didn’t I?

There’s a different kind of waiting, however, where the stakes are much higher.  But the potential for trouble is just as real. [click to continue…]

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