Noah’s Wait

Isaiah 40:31 (NKJV)

“But those who wait on 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.”

We live not only in a “material world” as Madonna’s song goes but in a fast-paced world as well, where immediate gratification is sought after. Fast foods, bullet trains, instant messaging are the words of the day.

However, as many as there are innovations, gadgets and gizmos that help us get things done in lightning speeds are situations that cause us to have to wait. We wait at the doctor’s offices. We wait at the DMV. We wait for all our papers to come in to be able to file our taxes; and in most public places, as women, we wait to use the restroom.

Waiting is hard.

Cambridge defines wait “to allow time to go by, especially while staying in one place without doing very much, until someone comes, until something that you are expecting happens or until you can do something.”

Just recently, I had to go through a time of waiting. I have been experiencing some pain on the right side of my upper abdomen. My doctor and I agreed it might be my gallbladder. To rule it in or out, he sent me for an ultrasound and blood tests. That was on a Thursday and Saturday.
I got the results early the next week and both the ultrasound and blood tests had some not so good results. My doctor usually sends me results but this time it was silent on his end. Having had medical training I knew this was something I shouldn’t just dismiss, but why has my doctor not emailed me as he usually does? My mind raised, “maybe he is consulting with other physicians before he gives me the bad news? Or could it be he is just sick, busy or preoccupied with some family matters?”

Another time of waiting happened at the emergency room. It had been four hours since I was triaged and in the waiting room. I was not the only patient waiting, there were many others. Towards one side of the room, in a wheelchair was an older woman who was sobbing and complaining to herself in an indistinguishable language. As I paid attention more closely, I realized she was speaking a dialect I knew and spoke quite fluently. I approached and started to talk to her. Unburdening herself, she shared that she was dropped off by her caregiver and was just left by herself. Then she continued to tell me about the pain on her knee, her panic attack and other symptoms she was experiencing and how long she had been waiting in the ER. Waiting is hard, especially when we feel so alone even in a room full of people.

At the end of 2016, I decided to commit to reading through the entire Bible this year. Rereading Noah’s story in Genesis 6: 9-8:22 inspired me to ponder on the idea of waiting. In Noah’s mind, God’s command for him to build a boat probably did not make sense, but without question he immediately got to work obeying God’s command (Gen. 6:22). He was “600 years old when the flood covered the earth (Gen.7:6). It rained for forty days and forty nights and the floodwaters covered the earth for 150 days (Gen. 7:12,24). It took 12 1/2 months for the earth to be dry. It took 12 1/2 months of waiting before God told Noah, his family and all the animals to leave the boat. Talk about waiting!

Our key verse, Isaiah 40:31 (NKJV) says, “But those who wait on 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.” God sustained Noah, his family, and all the animals in the ark throughout their wait. Noah was 601 years old, had been cooped up in the boat for more than a year and he waited for God to say, “Go”. When they got out, the first thing Noah did was build an altar to the LORD. He recognized God was God and he revered Him. God provided and was faithful.

Waiting is hard but God is in control of time and His timing is always perfect. When I wait on the LORD time will never be wasted, for in His perfect appointed time ~ waters part, babies are delivered, flowers bloom, we see His blessings and our wait is no more.


Psalm 130:5 (NIV) “I wait for the LORD, my whole being waits, and in His word I put my hope.”

The Tortoise and the Hare in Me

Hebrews 12:1-2a (NIV) “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.”
Have you read Aesop’s, “The Tortoise and the Hare”? This was one of my favorite childhood stories.

The hare boasts of his speed and taunts the tortoise for his lack thereof. Tired of the incessant bullying and arrogance, the tortoise challenges the hare to a race. The hare agrees. Armed with his strength and knowing the weakness of his opponent, the hare takes a nap while the race is in progress. The tortoise keeps on in his slow but steady pace. The tortoise wins!

Distinct as they may be, the tortoise and the hare both remind me of me.

At times I find myself in the hare’s shoes–arrogant and a know-it-all. I dash through things without first seeking the LORD’s guidance. Distractions come my way and I take bunny trails, forgetting where I’m headed and not getting there on time. Sometimes I take on ministries God didn’t commission me to and discover I neglected what was most essential (Luke 10:38-42).

I take naps, too. Rest is good. “And God blessed and made the seventh day holy, because on it He rested from all the work of creating that He had done” (Genesis 2:3). A good thing can turn bad with the wrong attitude. The hare rested because of his overconfidence in his ability. I can have the same attitude.

At other times, I can relate with the tortoise. He might be slow but he sure got his sights on the target. The Chinese philosopher Laozi said, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” The tortoise did not concern himself with his limitations. He commenced with the first step and kept on moving. As we continue to read Scriptures, listen, obey, and make decisions with discernment from the Holy Spirit, we move closer towards what God intends for us.

I am most like the tortoise when I give my talents and limitations to the LORD for His glory and honor. I grew up with anxiety but I was able to obtain a medical degree to the astonishment of many. This is a testimony of God’s faithfulness and power.

Have you ever been like the tortoise? Have you ever been like the hare?
Or maybe both, like me.

We are all in the same race. How we allow the LORD to use our lives, makes the difference. We are all on equal footing in God’s loving eyes “for God does not show favoritism” (Romans 2:11). Those who “fix their eyes on Jesus and run with perseverance” finish the race (Hebrews 12:2 NIV). May it be you and me.

The Possibilities of Impossibilities

 

Matthew 19:26 (ESV) “But Jesus looked at them and said, ‘With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

Peter walked on water.
When I think about this story of Peter walking on water, I am often reminded of the more obvious lesson: Peter’s failure to keep his eye on Jesus caused him to begin to sink. This is a very important teaching, but I want to rewind the story and go back to the very beginning.

MATTHEW 14:22-30 NIV
Jesus Walks on the Water
“Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of Him to the other side, while He dismissed the crowd. After He had dismissed them, He went up on a mountainside by Himself to pray. Later that night, He was there alone, and the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it.

Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. When the disciples saw Him walking on the lake, they were terrified. ‘It’s a ghost,’ they said, and cried out in fear.
But Jesus immediately said to them: ‘Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.’
‘LORD, if it’s You,’ Peter replied, ‘tell me to come to You on the water.’
‘Come,’ He said.
Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, ‘LORD, save me!’

Jesus allowed Peter to see His miracle. He was even allowed to see the wind. I remember the poem by Christina Rossetti that we recited when I was in primary school, ‘Who has seen the wind? Neither I nor you.’ God equipped Peter with the ability to go beyond his humanity. To see the impossible become possible. It is our LORD who creates possibilities of impossibilities. Nothing is too hard for Him. Nothing is impossible for Him. It is not just about us. It has never been about us solely. We could never please God on our own efforts, “for it is by grace you have been saved, through faith-and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God-not by works, so that no one can boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9 NIV).

Growing up in a strict family, my siblings and I were always told to look at whoever was addressing us in the eye. Not keeping our eyes locked in with the one who was talking to us was disrespectful and could also mean we were hiding something or not telling the truth. In my 20 something years of teaching, I have always taught my students the same lesson, to look at their audience and establish eye contact when they do presentations or even when they are talking to each other. I also have them look at me when we are having a lesson or discussion. It validates their interest in what we are doing and it makes me see the depth of their understanding. Where our focus is, is important.

I am sure a lot of us have heard of the profound saying, “the eyes are the windows to one’s soul.” In our main verse, it says, “But Jesus looked at them…” Jesus, looked at them! He showed them they were important. He also wanted them to focus on Him; to establish that relationship with Him and to show their readiness to engage with Him.

I could just imagine what it felt like to gaze into Jesus’ eyes. Moses in the Mt. Sinai was not allowed to see God as he wanted to. But here are Peter and the other disciples, given the chance to see a glimpse of God as revealed in human flesh through Jesus’ eyes. What a privilege!

How do we see God turn impossibilities to possibilities? We need to gaze into His eyes. We need to keep our focus on Him. We need to see beyond the mountains and surmounting challenges that come our way. We need to maintain our gaze and lock into His. God’s eye is always on us for “Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.” (Hebrews 4:13 NIV). We need to do the same with ours.

Here we go!

How do I launch my blog?

This was the question that bugged me for days.  Finally, I decided to start it the way I commenced my summer break this year.  I asked the LORD and He lead me exactly where.  His Plan.  His Redemption.  Our Response.

His Plan

His plan has always been for our good.  When He created the heavens and the earth; laid the foundations; brought light and darkness; the land and the waters; the plants and animals; man and woman; He deemed them all good (Gen. 1).  He created all things for our good.  Until that day when the deceiver was allowed to deceive.

His Redemption

God is a Holy God.  He will not, and cannot allow sin to continue to plague His creation.  This is what caused a separation between Him and His created ones, what destroyed the good that He has always purposed, and caused a chasm too wide and deep to traverse.  He needed to provide a sacrifice that would cover all the sins of this fallen world.  A sacrifice that would bring back the good that He intended for all mankind.  It was to be no ordinary sacrifice.  It had to be one that was unblemished, untarnished by the world of sinfulness.  Only One fit, His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ.  The One who dwelt among us and knew no sin.  He was the sacrifice that could wipe away the sins of the world and bring redemption to us whom God has always loved.  The One who loved us enough to lay down His own life.  It was by His blood that we have salvation.

Our Response

Ephesians 5:10 says, “and find out what pleases the LORD.”  You will never know what pleases someone until you have a relationship with that person.  When we get attracted to another person and want a relationship with him/her, we pursue him/her, spend time, and make a conscious choice to establish that relationship.  In the same way, until we come to the foot of the Cross and surrender our lives to the LORD, Jesus Christ; acknowledge our sinfulness and need for His saving grace, we will not have the privilege of getting to know Him or what pleases Him.      He says in Revelations 3:20, “Here I am!  I stand at the door and knock.  If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.” NIV.

He is waiting.