Do you ever find yourself asking the question, “Why?” Sometimes this questions feels as if it is eating my insides. It can literally rob me of my breath and sour my stomach. It gets caught in my throat and won’t let me swallow.
“Why?” is such a difficult way to live. It’s grueling and cruel, it punishes you at every step and will rob you of any joy. And it’s partner question, “how?” isn’t any easier.
My daughter wrote the verse 2 Tim 4: 17 on our chalk board in the kitchen weeks ago.
“But the Lord stood at my side and gave me strength.”
I looked this verse up the other night, I was looking for some sort of answer from God. I was undone reading the next few lines.
“And I was delivered from the lion’s mouth. 18 The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack and will bring me safely to his heavenly kingdom. To him be glory for ever and ever. Amen.”
“I was delivered from the lion’s mouth”… There are times in life that feel like we are sitting in the bottom of the lion’s den just like Daniel. It’s midnight, the sun hasn’t shown in hours and there are still long watches of the night to go through. It made me ask myself, did Daniel cry and fret and scream? Did he feel the anxiety that I’m burdened with right now? Did he wonder what the future would be for him? Did he wonder what God would do? Was he scared?
I am scared. There are situations in my life where I am terrified. I don’t know what is going to happen, I don’t know how it is going to happen, I don’t know if I will make it. Sometimes it certainly doesn’t feel like I will. I wonder if the sun will ever come up. Did Daniel worry too? It seemed inevitable that he would die. There seemed to be no other way out.
But the truth is he didn’t die. The sun rose the next morning and he was still alive. Miraculously, he was still alive. There was no explanation, what seemed inevitable didn’t come to pass.
We aren’t promised inevitable lives, we are promised lives where God takes care of us despite the inevitable. We see it over and over in the Old Testament, Hebrew’s 11 is a perfect accounting of all the times what seemed inevitable didn’t happen. Abraham and Sarah left even though they didn’t know where they were going because they felt God calling them to do so. Sarah got pregnant even though she was old. Moses called on God and he sent mana from Heaven, that couldn’t have been predicted. Moses also saw God give him water from a rock, twice! Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, were rescued from the fire pit, who saw that coming? David became king, Job lived in happiness after so much loss, Elijah saw fire reign down from heaven and burn up the alter, the widow’s flour and oil never ran out, Lazarus woke up from the dead, the leper was healed. None of these things would have happened if life was always inevitable.
I have so many questions but one big one is, “What am I suppose to do while I’m waiting?” How do I trust? What is my heart suppose to do while I’m waiting for the dawn? This place of waiting in torture for me. It eats me up inside and I get so pissed because I can’t find peace. I want to know the middle of the story…why doesn’t the Bible describe the middle of the story? How one got from here to there?
I guess the Psalms do show us some of the angst that David felt while he was waiting.
Out of the depths I cry to you, Lord;
2 Lord, hear my voice.
Let your ears be attentive
to my cry for mercy.
3 If you, Lord, kept a record of sins,
Lord, who could stand?
4 But with you there is forgiveness,
so that we can, with reverence, serve you.
5 I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits,
and in his word I put my hope.
6 I wait for the Lord
more than watchmen wait for the morning,
more than watchmen wait for the morning.
7 Israel, put your hope in the Lord,
for with the Lord is unfailing love
and with him is full redemption.
8 He himself will redeem Israel
from all their sins.
I’m looking for an easy answer and I just don’t think there is one. Being a watchman waiting for the morning, is not an easy job. It’s long, it’s difficult, it requires sacrifice and it requires waiting. No one can make the morning come any faster. But it will come, this I know with certainty. David says, “put your hope in the Lord.”
Today I’m claiming that I don’t live an inevitable life and I’m waiting like the watchman for the morning and I will put my hope in the Lord.
I have a feeling some of you are waiting with me.
“Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see” Hebrews 11