A Letter to Those Who Wait

I woke up this morning and spent some time in God’s word. And the word that stirred my heart, that jumped off the page was “wait.” It seemed to be the heart of what God was speaking to me, “There is no shame in waiting, only faithfulness.” I thought about how this world sometimes makes us feel like a failure for waiting. Like we should be seeing instantaneous results and if we aren’t, we must be doing something wrong. But, David seemed to be saying something entirely different. I prepared to write a blog on waiting.20160126_100707

And then I read this blog. A Letter to Those Who Wait

And I knew the blog had already been written.

I hope you will find it as powerful and moving as I did.

Serving Through Suffering… With the Joy of King David

O Lord, You alone are my hope.

Ive trusted You, O LORD, from childhood.

Yes, You have been with me from birth;

from my mothers womb You have cared for me.

No wonder I am always praising You!

My life is an example to many,

because you have been my strength and protection.

That is why I can never stop praising You;

I declare Your glory all day long.

And now, in my old age, dont set me aside.

Dont abandon me when my strength is failing.” Psalm 71:5-9

I would love to be able to say this now, let alone in my later years when my health is failing. This is part of Psalm 71, written when David was elderly and very ill. It still shows his strength of purpose and character, as if he was still the young David, ready to take on the world. If you read the full Psalm, as his health fails, his competition is keen on killing him to take hold of power. Despite the challenges of pain and an aged body, he is determined to remain the victor, sitting securely within God’s will.

“Now that I am old and grey,

do not abandon me, O God.

Let me proclaim Your power to this new generation,

Your mighty miracles to all who come after me.

Your righteousness, O God, reaches to the highest heavens.

You have done such wonderful things.

Who can compare with You, O God?

You have allowed me to suffer much hardship,

but You will restore me to life again

and lift me up from the depths of the earth.

You will restore me to even greater honour

and comfort me once again.” Verses 18-21

One of the most inspiring talks I have heard on David was by an elderly Rabbi, who was encouraging his congregation to “serve with the joy of King David!” He spoke about moving through our spiritual lives with love and a smile on our face; as well as the gratitude which manifested in David’s Psalms. The point to his message was that those in the world with no faith would see that joy, and it would become a witness.

Every so often I think about what he said, and I can see the promise in it. Being able to praise God through hardship, blesses God, helps empower us to move forward and also, shows others the goodness of God in our lives. If we had nothing at all to be happy about, we would not praise. Onlookers can see that.

David had a great deal to be grateful for, and he let nothing stop him from sharing it.

“As for me, I will always have hope;

I will praise You more and more.

My mouth will tell of Your righteous deeds,

of Your saving acts all day long—

though I know not, how to relate them all.” Psalm 71:14-15 (NIV)

You know how it feels to be ill. Your energy is drained, you don’t want to move. How David survived so many foes, battles and long-term health problems, is an incredible testimony of the provision of the Lord. He did not **die until the nation of Israel was secure. From the symptoms described in the books of Samuel and the Psalms, it appears that David suffered from diabetes from mid-life; then he most probably passed away from diabetic heart disease. Both explain the extreme cold he suffered in his last few years, [Ref. 1 Kings 1] and the ups and downs in his health, that the Bible records.

David had the help of a local plant named sharp varthemia (chiliadenus iphionoides) to control his diabetes, but I cannot begin to image living through those conditions with not so much as a paracetamol tablet, let alone insulin and cardiac medication. In addition, as someone who had been a warrior for many years, he would have suffered chronic pain and possibly, some debilitation, from orthopaedic problems caused by the extreme wear and tear of warfare on his body.

The aged David must have been very uncomfortable, yet, he didn’t slow down much. Even when King Solomon had taken the throne, David invested his time in his great passion: preparations for building the temple. Reading through 1 Chronicles, they were extensive and David gave his personal wealth to help fund the building, inspiring others to give as well. [Ref. 1 Chronicles chapters 27 to 29]

Then David praised the LORD in the presence of the whole assembly:

“O LORD, the God of our ancestor Israel, may You be praised forever and ever! Yours, O LORD, is the greatness, the power, the glory, the victory, and the majesty. Everything in the heavens and on earth is Yours, O LORD, and this is Your kingdom. We adore You as the One who is over all things. Wealth and honour come from You alone, for You rule over everything. Power and might are in Your Hand, and at Your discretion, people are made great and given strength.” 1 Chronicles 29:10-12

The suffering that David went through only served to build his gratitude and enhance his relationship with the Lord, which is something that I find amazing. At times, people who have had hard lives become bitter, both with others and with God, but not David. He was able to look back and see the wonder of how the Lord had brought him through.

Psalm 119:71-71 is believed to be David’s work. In it he says:

My suffering was good for me,

for it taught me to pay attention to Your decrees.

Your instructions are more valuable to me

than millions in gold and silver.”

Bless the Lord for the work and legacy of his faithful servant, David, the sweet singer of Isra’el. He is a great example of how to meet hardship head on, and still come out rich and fulfilled, no matter what age you are, or what conditions you suffer from. As I know David would say if he were to be writing this, put your trust and hope in the Lord. He will never abandon those who are faithful to Him. Look to Him for help, you’ll never be unloved, unprovided for or forsaken.

Footnotes:

**“He (David) reigned over Israel for forty years, seven of them in Hebron and thirty-three in Jerusalem. He died at a ripe old age, having enjoyed long life, wealth, and honour. Then his son Solomon ruled in his place.” 1 Chronicles 29:27-28 Long life, or being full of years, is a sign of the favour of the Lord. Other Biblical heroes who enjoyed the same favour, in those terms, are Abraham, Isaac and Job.

Read more about King David and diabetes: http://articles.faithwriters.com/reprint-article-details.php?article=32037

 

Except where marked, all verses are from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996, 2004, 2007. Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.

 

This article by Cate Russell-Cole is under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International (CC BY-SA 4.0)

 

About Cate and the King David Project

Cate Russell-Cole has been a Christian since 1981 and is a qualified Creativity Coach, Author, Editor and Social Worker. She has been actively involved in church life and ministry, since her teenage years. Until early in 2015, Cate coached writers online through her CommuniCATE Resources for Writers blog, with a blog and social media following of over seven thousand people. Her commercial work had to be stopped due to chronic health problems, so instead, she followed her heart and devoted all her time to King David.

Cate lives in Brisbane, Australia with her husband and two cats and habitually writes everything in Australian English.

“From Despair to Deliverance: the King David Project,” is a non-profit ministry, that seeks to make the life of King David easy to understand and relevant, so that believers gain inspiration and comfort from the life of King David.

The King David Project website: http://cateartios.wix.com/kingdavidproject

Masada Rain Blog: https://masadarain.wordpress.com

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/fromdespairtodeliverance

Twitter: @Masada_Rain

Pinterest Boards (including free images for bloggers): https://www.pinterest.com/MasadaRain/

 

 

 

Come Close

I sat in the flimsy black chair, exchanging pleasantries with the young doctor at my follow-up appointment. We’d go over my test results; he’d say they were fine—- my new symptoms surely the result of Lyme and then he’d tell me what to do about them. After all, that was why I’d come, for relief from the sudden, new joint pain that was crippling at times, causing my fingers to swell and preventing me from typing or texting, sometimes even bringing tears to my eyes.
But instead, he opened his mouth and formed different words. Words I hadn’t been expecting, the weight of which crushed my soul. In addition to all the other fun I’d been enjoying, the markers for Rheumatoid Arthritis had come back positive. I’d be sent to a Rheumatologist to confirm, but it seemed quite clear to him.
I drove home in a stupor, working up a good cry. What I wanted most at that moment, more than I wanted to unhear those words was for my husband to come close. I wanted him to tell me that we were still going to be okay. I needed him to say that one more diagnosis didn’t change the commitments we’d made or God’s goodness.
He was on a conference call when I came home. (As he often is) I did my best to hold my cry in. But the second his finger touched the “end call” button, tears streamed my face, and I said, “Can you come over? I need a hug.” The rest was a blur of blubber and snot. But I heard the words I needed to hear. “We’re still okay.”
This morning, I stood in the shower, and I whispered to Jesus, “Come close.” I’ve been drowning in a sea of symptoms and struggles, and I’ve just needed to feel the Lord near. I thought about the wonder of the cross. What a bold, demonstrative move of “coming close.” Is there any doubt that he longs to be close to us?
It’s the goal of every marriage, the coming close. It’s why we commit our lives to one another so that we can live all of our days up close to one another. And maybe somewhere along the way, hurts and disappointments come in and crowd out this goal of coming close, but it is the starting place.
And so it is with our walk with Jesus.
The desire on both sides is the coming close to one another. How many times have I heard the still small voice of my Savior inviting me, “Come close“? And maybe somewhere along the way, hurts or disappoints come in and crowd this desire out and we no longer want to come close.
But today, he’s still whispering to you, to me, “Come close.”
What if we laid our hurts, our disappointments, and our busyness down and we let him embrace us? Maybe the rest will be a blur of blubber and snot. I don’t know. But what I do know, is that we will hear the words our hearts long to hear. “We’re still okay.”

Celebrating Progress

I had a moment this weekend. I crossed a mile marker, albeit an unusual one. I was standing in my dark bathroom (it hurt my eyes too much to have the lights on), staring at the reading on a thermometer. I hit 100. For most people, this isn’t much of a fever and fevers are lame anyway. So what crazy person would be celebrating this? Me. Or anyone like me who hasn’t had a properly functioning immune system in years, or maybe ever and their body just isn’t able to rally enough of a defense against invaders to muster a fever. Until now. So while for most people that thermometer might have just said, “You have a crummy fever.” To me, it read, “You are making progress, big time.”

Progress, I’m not sure we give her the glory she’s due. We really like finish lines. And we are great to announce that we have taken on some new feat. But gritty, fight-it-out-in-the-day-to-day progress? I’m not sure we’re that into her. But we should be, because she’s the one that carries us to the finish line.

Maybe you joined a heap load of other folks in committing to some sort of growth or change in the New Year. At some point, you’ll stop and evaluate your success. Have you crossed the finish line as intended? But what about those checkpoints along the way, called progress? What if you never make it to the intended finish line or it takes two years instead of one…but you make progress. Wouldn’t that still be worthy of celebration?

The thing about progress is it’s uniquely ours. What’s progress for me, may well be standing still for you. That’s why if we compare our progress to that of others we’ll only end up defeated, discouraged and ready to quit. This journey is ours alone. Let’s own our progress and celebrate it. We often celebrate those struts across the finish line and we fully recognize that they were hard-fought and well-earned. But what about the progress along the way?

It turns out progress is often hard-fought and well-earned.

I’m typing this piece with my right eye patched. As we work to rid my body of Lyme, the Lyme gets very angry and puts up a fight. Right now, part of that fight means my eye is insanely sensitive to light and hurts like Hades 24/7.

Sometimes progress is hard-fought and well-earned.

And what about the pace of your progress? What if it’s not fast enough for others…or for you? Progress rarely happens as fast as we’d like. But are you following the course that’s been laid out before you? Are you doing your part and letting others do theirs? Then celebrate that!

The other cool thing about progress is that, like a snowball, it sometimes picks up speed and force over time. So your blood, sweat and tears for that tiny bit of movement, in the beginning, may well be multiplied the closer you get to the finish line.

We are often told to keep our eyes on the finish line, but the simple truth is that, often times, the finish line is just too far away. Instead, if we just run this mile, if we just give it all we’ve got until that next mile marker and then the next and the next and the next… We can celebrate so much progress along the way.

Chances are, whatever you are doing is pretty amazing. Others might not see it, might not fully understand but you know that this progress you are making has been hard-fought and well-earned and that’s worthy of celebration.

So celebrate my friend, all the way to the finish line. No matter how long it takes.