Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Waiting When We Don't Want To

My best friend invited me and my young boys on a hike last week. She provided each child, her two pre-school-aged girls and my two pre-school-aged boys, with a jar to fill with whatever struck their fancy as we walked the trails. 

Unfortunately, and despite a heavy hand with the bug spray, we were attacked by swarming mosquitoes as soon as we were out of the car. Really, the attack started as soon as we opened the car doors. The little pests flew into my car within seconds and I was still shooing them out of my window while driving days later. 

But, we were determined to trudge along and enjoy the path. So we walked, swiping at ourselves and our kids as we went. It wasn't long before the children were hurting and itching so much that we had to put an end to our hike. Just 10 minutes after we'd begun!

Everyone was on board except my youngest, Caleb. He was insistent that we stick it out and follow the path. After all, he hadn't even filled his jar half-way! 

He was willing to ignore the bites he was covered with and stick it out. Perhaps to see what would come 'round the bend. Perhaps to catch more bugs. Maybe just because my little guy loves to explore. Whatever the reason, he threw a fit and as the rest of our troop ran to the safety of the car, I ended up having to pitch Caleb over my shoulder and carry him back!

I thought about our little walk of horrors today as I read Isaiah 26:8. 
"In the path of your judgements, 
O Lord, we wait for you; 
your name and remembrance are the desire of our soul."

In the path of your judgements. 

The image that brings to mind is one worth contemplating. Much like in the picture above, when I hear the word, "path" I picture a trail with a definite beginning and end. If you're on the path, you're heading to where it leads. When you follow the path, you're at it's mercy. Another version calls it "walking in the way." To me, it implies action. Almost like I can imagine the moving sidewalks at the airport being our path or our way. We hop on one and we're ready to go where it takes us. When we get on a moving sidewalk we have every expectation that it will lead us to an end. Whether the route is scenic or not isn't up to us. It's been predetermined by the architects who built the path and the airport. We have just one expectation: take me from point A to point B. 

And so here we are on the great journey of life (if you'll allow me such cheesy symbolism) and we choose our path and, well, there we are. "Giddyup!," we might say. Or "Git er done," for the less couth crowd. And so what does it mean for us, as followers of Christ, that Isaiah says once we're on the path we should... WAIT

As humans, we are naturally curious. Why else would Adam and Eve have tried the one and only forbidden fruit that existed in their world? They wanted to see what would happen. Have you ever made a decision that you knew was unwise or hasty? And after you made it you felt a bit of contentment or excitement despite the possible error in judgement? Maybe you thought that even if it turned out that you'd made a wrong call, at the very least you'd get to see how the story would unfold. 

I think it's that curious drive in us that keeps us barreling down the path at break-neck speed. Maybe we've encountered some problems lately. Maybe our spiritual walk is lagging. Maybe our marriage is on bumpy ground. And we decide to put our heads down and push through. We keep trudging along thinking, "If I can just get around this bend... If I can just get to the end of this path, I'll be alright." 

It takes more strength to stop amidst a difficult situation than it does to ignore the circumstances and bullheadedly walk on. When the mosquitoes come out in full force, when the air gets thick with their buzzing and your legs sting from their bites, what will you do? Will you bow your head and tell God that you'll wait? 

He designed your path and He knows what lies up ahead. Checking in with Him for directions is the wisest move we can make. But it isn't the move of the impulsive and it isn't the move of the proud. It is a move of faith. "I will stop moving," we have to say. "I will wait on the path."

Later in the book of Isaiah, the prophet goes on to say this in the last verse of chapter 40: 
"...But they that wait for the Lord,
shall renew their strength.
They shall mount up with wings like eagles.
They shall run and not be weary.
They shall walk and not faint."

See that? If we pause in the middle of the mosquitoes and wait long enough to hear from God, we won't just be walking on the path anymore. Our God-given "wings like eagles" will carry us through and fly us over. What a sight we'll see when we follow the path as God intended it!

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  1. I was in such a rush to get the girls back into the car I didn't even notice you carrying Caleb over your shoulders! haha! I am sad I missed that. :)

  2. Since I read this, I've had that chorus going through my head. And it's Bro. Shows singing it. Can still hear him singing "Teach me, Lord, teach me, Lord, to wait". A really sweet rememberance so thanks for jogging my memory. Happy you've returned to this blog. I've missed it.