Friday, August 08, 2008

And So We Wait...

What are the circumstances or thoughts that most remind you of the fleeting nature of this world? What compels your heart most to crying out thanks for this life, but longing for the one to come? I can testify to a number of such instances, a few of which I have seen or experienced in the past 24 hours...

The first instance came about while watching Larry King Live last night as tears formed in the corners of my eyes. Steven Curtis Chapman's family was featured for the entire hour, anwering questions from both Larry King and guests who either emailed or called in to the show. As the famous host asked questions pertaining to their faith - "Did you ever doubt?" - "Did you wonder if this could be prevented?" - "Were you ever angry at God?" - I was encouraged by the family's responses during what is still a very dark hour for them. They did not waver once, even when it was clear that the host was baffled by their answers. They are thankful to the One who gave them their precious daughter, sister, friend, and yet often long for the day when they will meet her again. What grief that is seemingly impossible to explain, and they continually hope and trust even when they don't understand or have all the answers to Why all of this has taken place. We don't have the answers, we don't know why such tragic events occur in our lives, but we trust in the One who causes all things to work together for our ultimate good and His glory. Marybeth Chapman answered a viewer's question regarding doubt. Her response was this - even in our darkest hour, when we were at rock bottom, even if we hit rock bottom face first, we always knew we were landing on a solid foundation.

The second instance occurred today while going through the motions of another day at work. I spent the day trying to distract myself with the tasks covering my desk and computer screen, while in reality I was struggling to think of anything but a particular phone call. This is the circumstance that reminds more often than any other of this fleeting life. I have been diagnosed with an uncommon medical condition, and I am currently waiting for lab results on something that is probably unrelated. Doctors aren't certain at this point, and I am in the waiting process of not knowing anything at all. Physical flaws and sickness have the incredible ability to do one of two things; they either send us into a self-loathing, self-pitying downspiral, or they draw us to the One who knew us before time began. I find myself continually preaching the truth to myself, the truth which only comes from His Word. His Word remains true when my heart is prone to doubt, worry, or not like what I see in the mirror. My mind becomes flooded with the faces of those I know personally who have walked through dark valleys of serious illness, and I am reminded of how a mere phone call from a doctor can make one's life feel as if it's been turned upside down. I am reminded of how relatively small my medical concerns are in light of those of others I know. I am also reminded that these outer bodies are continually in the process of aging, and no one can reverse the inevitable.

The third instance took place this evening while watching a prominent news channel. My husband and I couldn't help but notice that every major news network was not reporting on the Olympic Games, not reporting on the turmoil in the country of Georgia, but on the news about John Edwards' extramarital affair. We paused briefly on a particular station after resolving that it was the only item receiving attention, and I became so angry that I had to leave the livingroom. A recognized contributor to the station was giving his two cents about this affair, and attempted brushing over the ordeal with the excuse that "he's only human." This was the second of two men, one of whom is a former employee of the Edwards campaign, who tried not fousing on the affair, but wanting instead to focus on his supposed efforts and causes in the political sphere. I didn't know whether to put my fist through the television or get sick to my stomach, so I made my exit from the room until I was calmed down. I don't bring this up as a conservative individual give my political opinion of a prominent member of the opposing party. Rather I bring this up with utter disgust at how the choice to brush aside issues pertaining to man's integrity has become seemingly effortless. Does the Lord judge someone based on whether or not he managed to get universal healthcare implemented without acknowledging the thoughts and intentions of the heart? Last I checked, the truth is that it's actually the opposite. That a man can completely dishonor his family, engaging in infidelity while simulteneously denying such actions, all at the altar of success and fame, makes my blood boil. This is more than a political game during an election year but is rather an issue of man's sinful, corrupt heart. May all be made right in the Lord's sovereign timing.

The fourth instance is one which grieves me in a very personal way. I began watching the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games tonight, and honestly could not watch the entire program. I watched choreography and music performed so perfectly, order and precision that seemed impossible in the realm of human ability. That many people dancing in such uniformity seemed truly impossible. I began thinking of how many hours must have been put into practice in order to perfect the show. These thoughts then led me to remembering my time spent years ago with Chinese students. The ones I met were so harshly disciplined, and had such high standards set for them by others, that it was hard for them to simply be kids. As I listened to the news commentators describe the performances at the start of the opening ceremony, I was reminded of how many issues have been ignored. Seemingly countless orphans, unrest, and religious persecution are pervasive. I want to watch the women's gymnastics as I do every year, but I wonder if I will be able to this year. Whatever I decide to or not to watch, I can't help but recollect the images I saw in East Asia. Faces void of any emotion, individuals seemingly numb to surrounding pressure and events, and young students afraid to voice their yearning for freedom are still fresh on my mind... No amount of impressive light shows can erase reality.

So we wait for the Lord.
His grace strengthens
His presences comforts
His promises assure
His power activates
His rule guarantees
that someday rest, real rest, pure rest, eternal rest,
will reign once more.
No violence in creation
No weed or thorn
No cleft between God and man
No reason to hide
No cause for fear
No need unmet
No grief to face
between God and man.
Yes, rest, true rest, will live again and last forever.
So we wait for the Lord
to restore us to that place.
Bright Son, pure love, unfettered peace, unstained beauty,
God and man together forever.
Until that day,
with hearts that are strong
and hope that is undimmed
and joy that embraces the future,
We wait for the Lord.

What are the circumstances in which you find yourself longing for Christ to come quickly? What spurs you on to crying out for His justice and mercy?


Colorado Dreamin' said...

Thank you for that post. It spoke to my heart and was in total agreement. I have long been sad over the state of morals our country has especially for our "leaders". When our former president was splattered all over the new saying he didn't do what he did do and then when he finally admitted it and our country did nothing about it. Friends argued that he was human and we couldn't judge him. (I know judging someone is wrong but God set the standard and we should not say that because we are human it is excused.) Our former president set a new standard for the world that it was OK to do those things.

Sorry, this is something that has always bothered me. I am sad that our country is the way it is but I know that Satan is running rampid trying to distroy all that we know and love.

Ashley said...

I experienced the same emotions as I watched the Opening Ceremony. My mind was flooded with images from East Asia and my heart was truly heavy.

anna said...

love you girl! thanks for sharing this! very thought-provoking post!! thank you for your honesty! for i'm longing for His appearing too! may He come quickly!! may we hasten' His return! How gracious He is to use all things for our good to help us long for Him and our Final Home with Christ and to see His glory!
...i'm glad we get to share a class together, starting next week! i look forward to catch up with you! grace and peace in Christ, anna :)