To Those Who Wait

I have found a theme song for “family rehab.”  The words of To Those Who Wait by Bethany Dillon seem to sum up the plea of our sanctioned Family Rehab.  Everything from the laid-back and slow tempo, to the crazy time signature of the verses, to the resolution of meter felt in the chorus seems to resonate with my heart.  If I was technologically savvy, I would attach a link to the song so you could hear it…but well, the lyrics will have to do for now:

I am waiting on You,
I’m waiting on You.
You say You’re good to those who wait.My heart’s discouraged,
So I come to You expectant.
You say You’re good to those who wait.Lord, today You know what I need to do,
But You can do more in my waiting than in my doing I could do.
So I won’t run anymore.
I’m waiting on You.

Oh, wretched man that I am!
Free me from my distractions.
You say You’re good to those who wait.

Then confession and repentance
Find me in the quiet.
You say You’re good to those who wait.
Now I know You’re good to those who wait.

Lord, today You know what I need to do,
But You can do more in my waiting than in my doing I could do.
So I won’t run anymore.
I’m waiting on You.

Oh, my soul,
Wait on the Lord.
Keep your lamp filled with oil.
Oh, my soul,
Be not deceived!
Wait for Him.
Don’t be quick to leave.

Lord, today You know what I need to do,
But You can do more in my waiting than in my doing I could do.
So I won’t run anymore.
I’m waiting on You.

I’ve had to remember that we are taking this time to slow d-o-w-n.  This past weekend we were super busy with ministry related things: a wedding rehearsal, a conference, the wedding, Sunday service, and a funeral.  It was non-stop.  Come Monday morning we were all tired and emotionally and physically done.  So I had to remind myself that taking Monday off from school was okay, and one of the reasons we are taking a different approach to school this year is that sometimes weekends just don’t exist for us.

Today, getting back to work went so smoothly.  I thought that if we had tried to do this yesterday, the results would have been catastrophic.  Today we had another breakthrough in math for Helen.  She has been just storming through concept after concept, really mastering each new step.  She has been so proud of her progress, and I, too, am have been proud of her.  Today we worked on subtracting two-digit numbers from other two-digit numbers.  Trying to understand that you can steal a ‘ten’ from the ‘tens’ column when you don’t have a large enough number in the ‘ones’ column tested her abstract mathematical mind.  But she got it!  Pretty soon she was ‘renaming’ all those numbers in the ‘ones’ column and subtracting with no problem whatsoever.  (It may have helped that we sang a little math genius diddy after every problem and downed a few M&Ms.)

Ava is also doing well in math, though the time she spends on it is still frustrating to her.  She is used to getting done with assignments in record time, but with more complex problems that require multiple steps, having to slow down makes her anxious.  She doesn’t like that each of her growing multiplication problems has more and more steps.  I tell her that with each one she gets closer to the answer.  I also tell her that each step is like a part of a secret code that unlocks the answer.  Following the code is a lot quicker than making tally marks for 376 X 45.  I mean, really, can you imagine all the paper and all the time used to count those little lines to figure out that answer?!  And then, you’d probably have to recount several times just to keep track of all those little chicken scratch markings.  That would be far more frustrating.  Despite my reasoning, it is still frustrating to her that her math isn’t just quick and easy anymore.  I think it’s a matter of growing up, right?  I wish life were still quick and easy. 🙂

Oh, Ava…we are so much alike.  The times when I am forced to slow down and wait, I can feel unproductive and anxious to get back to work on the next easy thing.  There are just some things in life that need to be pondered and drawn out.  There are just some life lessons that have multiple steps and each step has to be carefully and purposefully executed.  If only every life “assignment” could be simple one-digit addition.

What a good reminder to sit and wait on the Lord.  As the song says, God can do so much more in our waiting, than in our doing we can do–to trust that takes courage and surrender.  Surrendering all control, all anxiety, and all earthly wisdom and reason over to Jesus is a scary thing.  But in doing so, we are able to reach new understandings of abstract concepts, and in the process some of our desires and needs are renamed. My ‘lack of financial freedom’ is renamed to ‘freedom of time that would otherwise be taken by material things and their upkeep.’  My ‘pile of laundry’ is renamed to ‘mindlessly folding clothes, yet finding myself in the quietness of confession and repentance.’  My prayers for ‘a break and rest’ are renamed to prayers for ‘more oil in my lamp as I wait patiently on the Lord.’  Taking a slower pace and realizing that I’ve got lessons to learn, and that those lessons might take some time, puts me in a posture of receptivity and not in anxious doing.  I am thankful that God indeed does do more in my waiting than in my doing.  I don’t have to run anymore.  I don’t have to go, go, go.  I don’t have to keep up with the worldly standards of success and the schedule that will get me there.  I can slow down and trust that God is doing the work: all of it–the work on my heart, the work on my children, the work the kids are supposed to learn, and the work of renaming us daily as His treasured children of God.

Our bible verse for this week is Isaiah 41:10: “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”  I think this verse describes some of the many things that God can do when I am waiting.  He can strengthen me, help me, uphold me.  When I am busy fearing or dismaying, I forget that I have a God who is with me, and who has promised to do so much for me.  I have to sit still long enough to let him do.  His quiet is more powerful than my noise.  His stillness more productive than my marathon.  His peace more satisfying than my attempts to rest or sleep.  There is such a good and gracious Father ready and willing to do so much for and to those who wait.  I pray that he renames my desire to be productive–that he transforms my inner wheel that spins uncontrollably.  I pray that He gives me oil in my lamp to wait on Him, and to not be quick to leave–that I may stay and sink into deeper understanding of his abstract and wonderful nature.  I pray for patience and stillness, especially for those times when my “breakthrough” seems to never come.   I pray that during this time of rehab, we learn to wait, not do…and that He truly is good to those who wait.

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