I was so encouraged and impressed recently when my dad casually mentioned how he has learned so much in the past twelve months. He was talking about the Sunday morning programs he watches on TV, among other things.
At 83, he is still growing.
Since my mom died in November 2016, Dad has lived alone. I’m sure he feels lonely sometimes, but he reminds me that no one is ever alone when they know Jesus. At the same time, his encounters with loneliness make him feel sad and concerned for all the lonely people. No doubt, the loneliness epidemic (Covid making it worse) is on his regular prayer list.
Dad has a few of us in his bubble and he gets out every day for walks and to shop or go to the bank, but things are not the same… far from the same… and I’m sure many of us can relate.
One of Dad’s priorities during these latter years of life, is to do the missionary work he was called to do when he was in his forties. More specifically, the drilling of water wells he started in Malawi, Africa, about fifteen years ago. That is where his heart is. So, he waits patiently until he can return.
It was a year ago last month, when Covid was still so new, Dad, my sister Elanna, my husband Chris, and I had to turn around, come home, and postpone our trip to Malawi. We were so disappointed. The good news is ten wells still got built. But it wasn’t easy for Dad to do that remotely, so he can’t wait to get back to the place and people in Africa he so dearly loves.
A phone call I received back in the fall inspired me to write about waiting; here I finally am. It was one of those phone calls you get where you hear the voice on the other end and nausea immediately sets in. I recognized the familiar voice from my doctor’s office. The receptionist said that my doctor would like to discuss with me the results of my latest mammogram. It was the first time this had ever happened.
I’m not a big worrier, but even still, it’s amazing how quickly your mind can go places it wouldn’t have gone if the phone never rang. I was so grateful and relieved when I talked to my doctor and it wasn’t anything to be overly concerned about.
Around the same time, I was praying for a couple of friends who were also waiting for test results.
Everyone says the same thing: waiting is the hardest part.
I’ve recently wondered about my mom’s eight months or so of waiting after she learned of my conception. It followed a stillborn baby that followed a miscarriage that followed the healthy birth of my beloved big sister, Elanna (five years earlier). Was Mom able to wait out the pregnancy patiently (she and Dad), with hope and excited expectation, believing in a better outcome? Or was she nervous and scared of a repeat experience of another heartbreaking loss? I don’t know, I never asked. I wish I had.
Thankfully I’ve never had to experience the death of a baby. Nor can I fathom living without the clean water I take for granted every day. But I have experienced some difficult waiting. For instance, the waiting leading up to a terminal diagnosis—my late husband’s death sentence. When we suspected Mike had ALS, waiting for the neurologist appointment and then the diagnosis, was brutal. I explain in my book that the waiting seemed as hard or even harder than actually hearing the diagnosis. Just knowing brought some relief even in the midst of shock and devastation.
What are you waiting for?
Basic necessities of life like clean water?
The ability to breathe again after losing a son or daughter… or life partner?
Perhaps it’s an apology you are waiting on, or the ability to forgive without one?
Are you waiting for the pain to subside, the anxiety to pass, the fear to disappear, an end to this pandemic?
Clarity, direction, healing, an answer, a solution, a friend, a job, time off, rest, peace?
The list goes on…
Tom Petty hit the nail on the head when he wrote the lyrics to the song, Waiting is the Hardest Part. But check out these lyrics from a song called, Yes I Will, by Vertical Worship:
I count on one thing, The same God that never fails, Will not fail me now, You won’t fail me now. In the waiting, The same God who’s never late, Is working all things out, You’re working all things out…
If you think you are going to fade away while you wait, here is some great news: You can actually gain strength…
But those who hope in (wait on) the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. Isaiah 40:31
He’s working all things out…
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28
In the waiting, He is our help and our shield and His unfailing love surrounds us…
We wait in hope for the LORD; he is our help and our shield. In Him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in His holy name. Let your unfailing love surround us, LORD, for our hope is in you alone. Psalm 30:20-22
We don’t understand, but He has a plan…
Jesus replied, “You don’t understand now what I am doing, but someday you will.” John 13:7
Mike and I kept these ones close too:
Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Romans 12:12
Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. James 1:4
We also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. Romans 5:3-4
Okay, it’s time to close. I started this one a few months ago – writing a little here and there, and recently just waiting. I’ve been praying for more – something special from the Lord to wrap this one up. But this is all I’ve got.
So, I’ll just end in prayer.
Heavenly Father, for every person here, who is weary from waiting, and who feels like they are fading and maybe failing, I pray you would strengthen them and grant them peace and rest. Help each one to trust in you with all their heart, to walk by faith, to seek your face; to be hopeful, prayerful and patient. Wash over each one with your comfort, mercy, grace, and love. Thank you! In Jesus’ name, amen!
Dad turned 83 on March 30. Check out my last post for more birthday photos, and my story about how joy and sorrow are close friends. It’s titled, Man of Sorrows: The Source of Lasting Joy (in case you missed it).
Dad/Project Wellness is nearing 80 wells drilled! We are thankful for the many donors. Check out the website: projectwellness.ca
Here is the link to the song, Yes I Will by Vertical Worship