Meanwhile…We suffer

“Fiddler on the Roof” was our favorite movie, and Yente, the matchmaker had one of the best lines as they were all leaving their homes for a life in exile:

Maybe next time, Golde, we will meet on happier occasions. Meanwhile, we suffer, we suffer, we suffer in silence! Right? Of course, right.

I’ve known people like Yente, who think they are suffering in silence, but it’s anything but that. You find yourself less compassionate because you’re given too much information on their sad estate. Then, there are those who are going through as difficult a time, and you know nothing. They don’t reach out. They suffer in silence. When the reality is known, it leaves those who love them at a loss and even feeling guilty for not knowing more sooner.

Either situation leaves much to be desired.

So, I turn to the Word, to a great verse, not a great line, but a verse — because it’s Truth:

But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint. (Isaiah 40:31)

When we are tired and struggling, what do we do? We wait on the Lord. In waiting on Him, we are promised renewed strength, the ability to keep running the race without weariness, walking without fainting.

Does He renew that strength right away? Will I never grow weary? How long do I have to wait on Him?

I do not believe from looking at the entire scope of Scripture that as followers of Christ, we are promised complete health or strength. No, because we still live in fallen and corrupted bodies. They grow tired, are susceptible to illness and disease, or just plain wear out (as my daddy would say). Does this mean that this verse holds no hope for us?

As the Apostle Paul would say: “God forbid!”. We serve a God who carries us in our weakness, who renews our strength to enable us to face each new day, who goes before us to guide us in the race of this life. But I have to “wait” on Him…and in the meantime…?

He may ask us to go through more than one hard, difficult day — so that we can draw closer to Him in fellowship and prayer. Or, so that we can say to our suffering neighbor: “I know how you feel, and I know the One who can help you through.”

He may allow us to face weakness or illness to teach us to depend on Him more than on ourselves. Or, so that we can learn to lean on others and give them a chance to be His hands, voice and ministers in our life. Or, so that we can give Him glory in both good times and in bad, sickness and in health, life and in death.

Today, as I am feeling weariness of soul and body, I will choose to wait on Him and let Him bring to mind one of my favorite psalms, which brings to mind a beautiful memory that makes me smile:

I lift up my eyes to the mountains—where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lordthe Maker of heaven and earth.                                            

He will not let your foot slip—he who watches over you will not slumber; indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. 

The Lord watches over you—the Lord is your shade at your right hand; the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night. 

The Lord will keep you from all harm—he will watch over your life; the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.

I choose to wait upon the One who is my source of help, who does not slumber, who is my shade, and who watches over my life in this world and in the world to come. Because of that I can say with Paul, once again:

Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

And in the meantime…what will you choose?

Grace and Peace


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