Saturday, May 21, 2016

A Word


Hahaha, while I had just started typing this title, a pop up screen appeared on my computer with the dashed circle churning and the words, “Please wait” encouraging me to do a Windows update.  Do we always notice the “wait” messages in life? Do we cancel the prompt as I just did with Windows? Isn’t waiting against the American lifestyle?  Remember Burgess Meredith’s famous line from Rocky, “What are we waitin’ for?”

What ARE we waiting for?  A graduation, a wedding, a birth, a check, a trip, a raise, a healing ,a Powerball win, a break in the clouds, a sign in the stars…and what do we do WHILE we wait?

Back in January my pastors had been preaching on spirituals disciplines. Ewww, no one appreciates the word, dis-ci-pline.  But I listened.  And some ideas stuck with me.  One of the topics was meditation.  I had tried it before, never settling in to feeling right with the practice.  Always getting distracted, abandoning my set aside time.  Pastor John simply described some of his own & some of his known methods – use a candle, focus on a word or a scripture or a song.  A friend brought me a simple prayer candle from a church of healing in south Texas,  The Basilica of Our Lady of San Juan, Del Valle National Shrine.  She had paid a visit there with her father to give thanks for her own successful surgery, taking along a prayer card from me containing requests for my own healing and others. 

This candle became a useful object in my quest to meditate.  As I stared into the changing color glow of the lit wick I would think through Bible passages that I knew by heart – the Lord’s Prayer, the 23rd Psalm, the 2 greatest commandments, Genesis 1:1.  Word by word.  Mixing in lyrics from hymns like Holy, Holy, Holy or How Great Thou Art.

Pastor Cindy had spoken in her sermon about spiritual journaling - writing down points of gratitude, questions, experiences, prayer list.  And here’s the kicker.  She asked God for a word!  A word of direction, guidance, comfort, etc.  I wanted that too but was terrified to ask.  What if it didn’t work for me?  Maybe I wasn’t worthy to receive a message from God.  Because, you know, Cindy is a pastor and is paid to receive and dish out these direct messages.  But I am just a regular person.  Would God send me a word?

It happened!  Every time I meditate and ask for a word, I am given one.  The latest word given was one I didn’t want – Wait! So what is that supposed to mean?  Wait a little longer for health to be restored.  Wait for the day to see my grandchildren again. Wait for the freedom to travel.  Wait to be able to drink at a celebration.  Wait, in this season of waiting, for the next stage of my life.  What is that next stage going to look like? And how do I even know that this is the word God wants me to know?  How do I assure that my puny brain did not just think this up myself?

One of my favorite contemporary writers, Margaret Feinberg, writes this on a recent blog post:  4 Questions to Ask Yourself When You Think You Hear From God.  1.  Does what I hear line up with scripture? 2.  Does what I hear line up with wise council?  3.  Does what I hear leave me with a sense of peace?  4.  Is what I hear blanketed in love?  Great.  Now all my questions meet more questions.  She wrote a whole book called Sacred Echoes.  In this she tells that God repeats himself to us.  When we doubt with, “no that can’t be”, he tells us again through a different source. 

So after my confrontation with the word, “Wait”, these are the repeated messages that came to me.  I did not seek them out.  They found me anyway.

In my devotional reading of Jesus Calling was this Bible verse:  But as for me, I watch in hope for the Lord, I wait for God my Savior; my God will hear me.  Micah 7:7

My email inbox had a daily posting from Max Lucado:  To walk in the Spirit, respond to the promptings God gives you!  Don’t sense any nudging?  Just be patient and wait.  Jesus told his disciples “wait for the gift my Father promised – the Holy Spirit”.  Acts 1:4-5

A letter received from Linda, my supported orphan in Kenya, referenced these verses, Psalms 62:5-6, For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from him.  He only is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be shaken.

Another subscription blog appears in my inbox, Pearls of Promise, containing these words:  Waiting for his direction is one of the most difficult things God asks us to do, but there are blessings.

The next Sunday’s sermon was about the day of Pentecost where all the disciples were gathered together again following Jesus’ command to wait for the gift. This gift of the spirit did come to them as promised, causing them awe and wonder beyond what they could have imagined.

So in this season of waiting – for health, for energy, for birth of next grandchild, for travel, for celebrations – I prompt myself to be aware of moments of grace that will suck my breath away as I whisper, “Wow”!