2014-08-20 - Waiting
Our oldest child was on a trip all summer long, interning at a Christian camp in the Dominican Republic, mainly working with kids and volunteers in a school for special needs. She looked forward to whatever it was God intended for her in that ten weeks, and we were excited for her to be able to go. I must admit, though, that in the time she was gone, I often found myself thinking about different stories in the Bible that are talking about "probation". Dictionary.com describes probation as the state or period of a time of testing.
The flood of forty days and nights (Gen 7:9 KJV) in Moses' time, the wilderness for forty years (Deut 29:5 KJV), the forty days before the commandment stones were received(Deut 9:11KJV), and scattering of the tribes for forty years, were all probation times. "Yet this is what the Sovereign Lord says: At the end of forty years, I will gather the Egyptians from the nations where they were scattered(Ezek 29:13 KJV). Jonah began by going a day's journey into the city, proclaiming, "Forty more days and Nineveh will be overthrown."(Jonah 3:4 KJV). Jesus was being tempted by the devil ' where for forty days he (Jesus) was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing during those days, and at the end of them, he was hungry (Luke 4:2 KJV). And there are many more.
The probationary time for our family, separate from our daughter, was this summer. In that time, our son worked more hours, my husband needed a summer job, to cover unexpected medical expenses that came up. I continued doing some things I felt led to pursue on more of a volunteer basis, while looking for some part-time work. I think each of us, including our daughter in the ER, felt somewhat tested from time to time, even in the midst of blessings each of us had while in that waiting period. Each of us has different times of testing in our lives. It feels at certain points, that the waiting is endless. It can be difficult to imagine what the point of all of it might be.
Well, for us the waiting came to a conclusion in this way. My husband was able to end his time at his summer job, while feeling blessed by sharing the love of God with several coworkers. He used his connections and influence, in order to help one of them get a job at another company; it was a job that better suited his skills and passion for caring for customers and taking care of his family. Our son formed some lasting friendships with a few people, including someone at his job, as well as deeper connections with his band mates. I learned some things about why God puts us in a place of waiting, to take care of ourselves, and so we can be blessed and a blessing to others. And finally our daughter came home. She, too, was blessed in unexpected ways by her time away from us, and also overjoyed by being able to reconnect with family and dear friends. Soon she will be back with her housemates at college, enjoying her senior year. None of us will be the same after this latest probationary time, yet it's part of our journey, and as Amy Grant said in the chorus of her song "Somewhere Down the Road": " somewhere down the road, there'll be answers to the questions, somewhere down the road though we cannot see it now; somewhere down the road, you will find mighty arms reaching for you; and they will hold the answers at the end of the road."
God has a purpose for everything, and He knows waiting is hard for us. And so this reminder helps me keep it in perspective:
" so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it. (Isaiah 55:11)
All scripture references are from the New International Version (NIV) unless otherwise noted.