Humility in Humiliation

“Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time: Casting all your care upon Him; for He careth for you.” 1 Peter 5:6-7 (KJV)

I stood there, mustering all the strength I could to stay and not fight back, but wishing the floor would open up and swallow me. Have you ever felt this way?

According to vocabulary.com, “Humiliation comes from the Latin word humiliare, which means ‘to humble.’ So if you are caught in a situation that causes humiliation, you are humbled.”  Humiliating someone to make a point is never right.  You can be humbled by someone through humiliation because of a wrong-doing or someone can humiliate you for doing what is right.  It is also different when you humble yourself for the cause of Christ.  Humbling yourself is challenging.  Boasting and bragging are effortless.  We saw this in the life of Joseph (Genesis 37).  First, he was favored by his father Jacob.  Then he was given dreams of a future life of eminence.  He bragged about it to his brothers, and the results were not good.   I can easily see this in me.

I recently launched a nonprofit organization called Flowers for Elders, a ministry that provides floral arrangements to patients in convalescent hospitals. Toward the beginning of this ministry, God made me cross paths with a manager at a local grocery store that carried flowers. I asked him if the store would be willing to donate flowers to my nonprofit. He was enthused! He saw the good in what I was doing, and so right there and then even without showing him my credentials, he provided me with several bouquets, “to start me off.”

He escorted me to my car with all my groceries and had the chance to see the two dozen roses I bought for the same purpose. He reassured me he would check with the head store manager and schedule regular bouquet pick-ups. I did a few Saturday pick-ups but was informed by him that he learned they already were obligated to another ministry. However, he still wanted me to come by and pick up every other Saturday.

My Saturday pick-up time came but this was different.  There I was at the back of the store, following directions to pick up flowers, and I was given a third-degree by the person who was marking the flowers. He told me that they were already giving them to another ministry. I tried to explain that I didn’t want to take away from anyone, but my words bounced back like a ping pong ball. There was just no getting through to him. My flesh would have stomped, left, and vowed never to shop at this store again. Pride would have claimed its crown. After the first explanation, I stood, did not argue but expressed my gratitude for whatever I would be given. I walked away, bouquets in my arms. Even with the bad taste in my mouth, I felt victorious–not because I got something, but because the Holy Spirit enabled me to think more of who I was doing this for and not of–me.  It is  the Holy Spirit who gives us the power to humble ourselves and overcome our natural tendencies to boast.

 

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.”