Surviving a wait takes courage. I used to think waiting simply took faith and trust and patience but it takes more than that. I suppose the truth is that faith in and of itself takes courage but having faith that endures a prolonged wait takes more!
Waiting for a call on a new job can cause a level of anxiety but continued delays or disappointments when the calls do not result in a new role or the medical diagnosis does not change or the house does not come can all rob us of our strength and resolve. Our prayers don’t seem to be answered. The problem, when it goes on long enough may overwhelm and temp us to give up.
Intentional determination is required to stay the course. Courage to face the unknown standing alone on the promises and very nature of our heavenly father requires daily resolve. Charles Stanley states in his devotional: “enduring the challenges of life with a steadfast and fearless confidence in God’s provision and protection is courage. And it’s your courage that’s stretched and refined in your darkest and most painful times.” Courage is a state of mind that’s absolutely essential for the child of God to triumph.”
I like the phrase Triumphant Faith. So how do we attain what seems a lofty goal when we are in the trenches of delayed answers to the cry of our hearts for rescue?
In this present circumstance I have to do the same things I have done in the past. When our checkbook was empty, when I had no business on the books, when my son lay paralyzed, when I thought I had made a huge mistake….regardless of the challenge and please know that so many are much greater than others, we have to buildcourage into our hearts. It’s a process and it begins with a foundation. That foundation is the nature of God as good. He is a good God, a loving father and He does have great plans for his children. He is with us. Walking beside us. He may make us rest in green pastures where He alone is able to feed us. He will lead us beside still waters. As I meditated on Pslam 23 night after night in this difficult season the Lord gave me the most interesting picture of the still water. When I leaned over to look at its mirrored surface I saw two faces, mine and His! He was right there with me and that is what looking into still water reveals, His presence. The scripture goes on to promise that He leads me in paths that are right for His name’s sake. As I follow he reveals all his name represents, a banner over me for protection, provision, healing my heart and so much more. Of course then you come to the walk. Yes right through the valley of the shadow of death. Through the dark night of challenge, this is where the enemy loves to strike at our minds. Perfect timing as we are waiting on God. He knows those points that will lead you to despair. What will others think? Did I make a mistake? Are His promises really Yes and Amen, even this time? It is on this walk that we have to remember that it is His rod and staff that will comfort us.
I spent a few minutes looking up what a staff and rod actually represented to those hearing the 23 Psalm.
A shepherd might use a staff as something to lean on in case the ground is not dry or safe for sitting or for support when he needed rest during long shifts tending the sheep. We can lean of Jesus as we walk through the valley of trial and waiting. The staff was also used to lead the sheep. It can also lead us to avoid pitfalls along our path. The rod was actually not a second stick but the curly end of the staff! A shepherd used it to pull the sheep our of danger or out of the water (ever feel like you were drowning in this valley?) It was also used to defend against enemies so it symbolizes God’s protection.
These truths protect our minds. When the enemy whispers lies to us that are so easy to believe when we feel helpless or down, the truth that God is there, leading and protecting us gives us the ammunition to fight the lies with the truth. He provides the table filled with all of His promises on display before the face of our greatest enemy. As we look to Him our heads will be anointed with the oil of gladness and our cup of joy will be refilled and then run over. Surely goodness and mercy and unfailing love will follow of us all the days of our lives.
These along with so many other truths build courage into our hearts to keep going the distance during the wait. Courage is built brick by brick on the foundation of who He is and all His promises.
For your meditation:
A Psalm of David.
23 The Lord is my Shepherd [to feed, to guide and to shield me],
I shall not want.
He lets me lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside the still and quiet waters.
He refreshes and restores my soul (life);
He leads me in the paths of righteousness
for His name’s sake.
Even though I walk through the [sunless] [a]valley of the shadow of death,
I fear no evil, for You are with me;
Your rod [to protect] and Your staff [to guide], they comfort and console me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.
You have anointed and refreshed my head with [b]oil;
My cup overflows.
Surely goodness and mercy and unfailing love shall follow me all the days of my life,
And I shall dwell forever [throughout all my days] in the house and in the presence of the Lord.