Waiters, Part 2.

The letter to the Romans is a fascinating read/ study. It is one of my favorites. A long time ago in a life sometimes hard to remember, I studied this New Testament jewel in my undergrad days with the guidance of Cecil May, Jr.

Romans 8 is a chapter that brings me great hope. I suspect you know these verses:

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?

As it is written:
“For your sake we face death all day long;
    we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:35-38, NIV)

There’s hope for sure.

But earlier in the chapter there is another bit of hope.
Especially for those of us who wait upon the Lord.
Patiently.
Impatiently.
Angrily.
Stoically.
With tears and without.

However you wait, Romans 8:18-22 says, I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God.

We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time.

We do not wait alone.

I find it comforting to know that even Creation itself recognizes the brokenness of nature. I find it comforting to know that even Creation understands our pain and heartache were never meant to be.

In John Waller’s song, While I Am Waiting, he sings of waiting patiently, hopefully, obediently, peacefully, and faithfully.

I love his song. I suspect I’d like him as a human being. But I am a long way from singing this song. At least truthfully.

I am more confident than I have been in the past that God is doing something in me and through me. But to be completely honest, I sure wish He would speed up the process.

My waiting is full of every inconsistency you can imagine.
In fact, there are things I await that will require a lifetime of living to get through. I want the then to be a part of my now, except it’s not.

So I wait.
I wait to see what God will do with my ministry desires.
I wait to see the redemption of what was to what will be.

Waiting is hard. But waiting is easier when you know there are others who wait also.

Some of you are waiting on God.
Some of you are waiting on life to be restored; some for time to be no more.
Some of you are waiting on hearts that just won’t heal; some for the time when life seems more real.

I can’t fix what you are waiting for. And you may or may not have the power to help end some of my wait.

But this I can do: I’ll wait with you.

Les Ferguson, Jr.

 

Throwback Thursday With Cole

Sometime in April 2009, I wrote the bulletin article below. It was a time when I wrestled and struggled with the health difficulties ever present in Cole’s life. Like every parent of a handicapped child, there were lots of implications and heartaches. Mine often took a spiritual direction.

Two weeks from today would have been Cole’s twenty-fourth birthday.
While I am glad he is now free from pain and struggle, I miss him so.
And, as it turns out, I still need to be reminded of the last few paragraphs I wrote what seems like so very long ago…

I Am Waiting

I will admit it. I don’t understand.

Sometimes my not understanding leads me to anger and sometimes to despair.

Truthfully, there are also times—more numerous than I want to admit where my not understanding leads me to a numbness of the soul where my spirituality isn’t really alive and vital—more of a going through the motions.

And yes, the theologian in me likes to think I do know the answer, but the answer I know—intellectually—isn’t always very satisfying emotionally, spiritually, and physically.

And it’s not like I don’t pray. And it’s not like it’s beyond God’s ability to answer my specific prayers in ways that would astound the world and give him all the glory.

Maybe you understand what I mean from your own unique perspective. However, my perspective is for our son, Cole.

I don’t understand why he has to go through 19 years of life with all of the difficulties, frustrations, and challenges he faces.
I don’t understand why we have to go through test after test and can’t seem to get any definitive answer.
I don’t understand why God doesn’t see fit to heal him completely…now.
I don’t understand why our prayers for his anger and out-of-control behavior seem as if they never rise above the roof.
I don’t understand why it seems at times we cannot get a single moment of peace.

Theologically, I understand sickness, disease, and death are by-products of living in a broken world.

Theologically, I understand the question isn’t “why me” but “why not me.”

Spiritually, emotionally, and physically, I am tired of that answer. But I am waiting. And as I wait, I pray that my attitude, actions, and life will reflect the words of John Waller’s song…

I’m waiting 
I’m waiting on You, Lord 
And I am hopeful 
I’m waiting on You, Lord 
Though it is painful 
But patiently, I will wait 

I will move ahead, bold and confident 
Taking every step in obedience 
While I’m waiting 
I will serve You 
While I’m waiting 
I will worship 
While I’m waiting 
I will not faint 
I’ll be running the race 
Even while I wait

In Mark 9, Jesus is presented with a healing opportunity—a boy with an evil spirit. As he talks with the boy’s father, Jesus says “Everything is possible for him who believes.” And the father’s answer has to be mine, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!”

I am waiting, Lord, sometimes impatiently, sometimes angrily, sometimes with a deep, deep numbness. But I am waiting. Help me over come my waiting that really isn’t.

May God help each of us move through life bold and confident, even when we are waiting…

Les, Jr.

On Being Ignored

It is a rainy day as I sit and write. I wish I was doing this at the table in the cool of the house, coffee cup close at hand. (Really loving this new pecan praline flavor)

Unfortunately, that is, at this moment, a wildly self-indulgent fantasy.

Instead, the surroundings in which I write are far from conducive. At this moment, there are four of us sitting in the waiting room of an MEA urgent care clinic.

Two adults and two sick kids. The sound of violent expulsion of all ingested food matter has reverberated through our home for days.

Did I say days?

Yes, days. It has been a round robin of sickness. Only one kid out of four has not been ill. I sure hope he stays healthy. I am not at all willing to entertain the idea of another round… As if I get a choice.

At least in the lethargy of kids sickness, there is an excuse for ignoring all requests, questions, etc.

I hate to be ignored.
Hate is a strong word that does not quite describe how badly it irritates me to be ignored.

I hate to be ignored!

The youngest among us has the aggravating habit of ignoring what is being said to him. To give him credit, he is sick and sometimes he is super self absorbed in whatever he is doing–he hears and sees nothing going on around him. He wouldn’t hear a bomb if it went off beside him. But at other times, he doesn’t want to hear or doesn’t like what is being said… And he will turn his head and pretend to not hear.

Can you say immediate transformation into mad dad?
Yeah.

I unfortunately don’t have much patience for being ignored in any circumstances.

In my last post, I asked God to give us some redeeming knowledge of You we can touch and hold on to when it feels as if we’ve been abandoned.

Or ignored.

I have never been the person who prayed and demanded God to change or undo something I had done. When I was up to my eyeballs in debt, I didn’t ask God to manipulate the accounts so that suddenly they showed zero. Instead, I prayed for God to help me be a better steward, to change my attitudes, and where possible, to mitigate the pain my family might feel as a result of my personal stupidity or mismanagement.

And in those kinds of circumstances, even though the situation might feel hopeless, I never felt abandoned or ignored. I always felt as if God pointed me in a new direction or helped me see something to bring relief.

In the here and now, I am not so sure I feel abandoned. But ignored? Yes, I feel like I am worshipping the kind of God Elijah taunted on Mt. Carmel. One who is too busy, or asleep, or on a far journey.

Ignored.

Can God not see all of the ripple effects that never seem to end?
Can God not see or hear the pain of my children?
Can God not see all the difficulties inherent in trying to build/ start an entirely new career–new life out of the ashes?

I know He can.
So I am left wondering why I am not as worthy of His love, protection, and guidance than the other guy? (That is how it feels…)

Why God, do you ignore?

I am not yet ready to quit believing in God. Not even a possibility. And in the discomfort of questioning and wondering without answers, I am trying hard (patient I am not) to sing, believe, and act out the words of John Waller’s song, I Am Waiting, even as I am ignored

I’m waiting
I’m waiting on You, Lord
And I am hopeful
I’m waiting on You, Lord
Though it is painful
But patiently, I will wait

I will move ahead, bold and confident
Taking every step in obedience
While I’m waiting
I will serve You
While I’m waiting
I will worship
While I’m waiting
I will not faint
I’ll be running the race
Even while I wait

I’m waiting
I’m waiting on You, Lord
And I am peaceful
I’m waiting on You, Lord
Though it’s not easy
But faithfully, I will wait
Yes, I will wait
I will serve You while I’m waiting
I will worship while I’m waiting
I will serve You while I’m waiting
I will worship while I’m waiting
I will serve you while I’m waiting
I will worship while I’m waiting on You, Lord

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bb7TSGptd3Y

Have you ever felt ignored?

Les Ferguson, Jr.