Memos from the Middle

Smack-Dab in the Middle of Living

20 Years

My son slips sleepily from bed, grabbing his green blanket, draping it over his head and wrapping it loosely around his body. He looks for a second at the big screen television before crawling onto the couch, nestling his blanketed head in the dip of my waist as I type.

“Good morning, Handsome,” I say, bending down to kiss his forehead.

“Good morning, Mommy,” he yawns.

“Boy did I miss you while you were sleeping!” I excitedly whisper.

“I missed you, too, Mommy,” he replies.

This is our ritual. Nearly every morning, he meets me here on the couch. Sometimes he has a strange dream he wants to relay. Other times, he just lays here quietly as I type away. But at some point, he inevitably gets to the point.

“Mommy, how long are you going to be working in here?”

“Why do you ask?” I counter, knowing the answer already.

“I want to play the Playstation.”

Depending on the day and what’s on the calendar, my response may vary, but it usually results in some amount of time he has to wait. The worse for him, though, is when the wait is indeterminate. With that comes the constant checking, fake interest in what I’m working on, lots of karate moves in my field of vision with the hope that I’ll finally give in and move to some other part of the house. But there can also be frustration and maybe even anger. Waiting is never any fun!

I recently found out that David spent about 20 years waiting on the promise of his kingship to come to fruition. I have read first and second Samuel, and I knew he was a boy shepherding in his father’s fields, so seemingly insignificant that even Jesse didn’t bring him to the house when Samuel came to visit, but it never occurred to me that all those verses in between that his becoming king over Israel was about two decades in length!

Listen, Friend, when I am hungry and I know my husband is in the kitchen cooking, I am like my karate-chopping son, “How much longer is it going to be? Did you really start the chicken when you told me you started it? What temperature is the oven on?” I know I am being a pest, but I also know that I am hungry! And my husband is just as patient with me as I am with my son when I am working:

“Babe, I know you’re hungry and that you have been hard at work all day. I’m cooking. You’re going to have to wait.”

I was floored when I learned about how long David waited because I know how impatient I am. I can usually put on a good front. After all, I’m an adult now, so I know my brattiness will only be tolerated by my husband who, by the way, is a saint among men when his wife is hungry or in the passenger side of the car when he is driving. But God did not give David a timeline, and He rarely gives us one. We probably couldn’t handle it even if He did.

The key for us is learning how to wait. David was ever faithful to God. When he worked, when he had to flee, when he counseled others, when he comforted himself, he never lost sight of the power, faithfulness, and love of God, and that is such tough work, especially when someone is out to kill you!

In the 18th Psalm, David says, “The sorrows of Sheol surrounded me; the snares of death confronted me” (v. 5, NKJV). I’ve been in some tough spots before, but I don’t know if I have been in the thick of it like David, where I felt like the very desolation of hell itself is all around me and that death has set its traps to catch me. To still trust God at His word when you know with absolute certainty that the most powerful people on earth are hunting you down, not those who look like you or those who come from where you are from, but you yourself, that’s faith, Friend. And not only that, but in his desperation, with all the chaos and anxiety that comes with running for your life, he still had time to compose hymns unto the Lord. That’s the kind of faith to which I aspire.

So many of us are waiting on God to deliver us. So many of us are waiting on Him to usher us into what He has already promised. But like David, we have to allow God to do His work in us, which means that we have to be refined in some oftentimes excruciatingly hot fires to make us ready for the work He has for us. And we cannot bemoan the wait. We cannot give up and give in to the Saul’s of the world, accepting defeat and death, because we are too tired. We cannot yield to the voices of iniquity, taking matters into our own hands, believing that God wants us to walk into His purpose by any means necessary. No, we just simply have to wait, but that waiting must be faithful, going about our Father’s business in the way our Father wants us to do it.

No shortcuts, Friend. No pouting. Just patient, faithful service, in the midst of it all, remembering our God and knowing that His word is true. And one day, perhaps like David, you’ll find yourself being plucked out of the very waters suffocating you. The hands of the Mighty God will deliver you and escort you Himself into the promise He laid out for you before anyone ever knew your name!

“…He has rewarded me. For I have kept the ways of the Lord…” (Psalm 18: 21-22, NIV).

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