This is Seasons Part 2: The State of Waiting.
I’ve been in a sort of grave for the past three days. The stomach flu hit me fast and furiously on Friday afternoon, and I have finally risen this morning, feeling normal again.
It was the kind of flu that tears you down, strikes you quickly to your knees, and leaves you frail, weak, and empty. As it violently hit me and I fell to my knees, tears spontaneously filled my eyes, as I couldn’t help but think that it was 15 years ago this month that my namesake and Oma was approaching her death bed. She had fought cancer for two years, chemo, sickness, weakness, ups and downs…and she knew what it meant to live on her knees, literally and figuratively. She knew what it was like to not be able to hold anything down. Then on March 25, 2001, she passed from death to life into eternal peace. She had wondered when her hour would come, and she had waited for freedom from her earthly body and the pain and sickness she had battled.
I don’t know why, of all times to be thinking about someone you love, it hit me while I had the flu. Perhaps it was because another dear friend’s mother passed away from cancer this week, too, and March always reminds me of Oma’s death, but also the hope of healing and new life…waiting to be healed…waiting to be free…waiting to awaken again and rise.
I couldn’t help but think of Hosea 6:1-3:
“Let us return to the Lord; he has torn us, that he may heal us; he has struck us down, and he will bind us up. After two days, he will revive us; on the third day, He will raise us up, that we may live before Him. Let us know; let us press on to know the Lord; his going out is sure as the dawn that breaks; and, he will come to us as the showers, as the spring rains that water the earth.”
Ironic, isn’t it? It never occurred to me that this passage reflected the Resurrection of Christ, the three days of stillness, quietness, and waiting that Christ experienced in the grave. The disciples buried him, the tombstone had been locked into place, and Jesus had died. Sometimes in our waiting, I think we don’t want to experience being struck down and torn and brought to our knees in weakness. We don’t want our life to be placed in Another’s Hands, at the mercy of our Father who will revive and raise up back up again. We want to do, not be still, waiting for Him to truly heal us — not just physically, but emotionally and mentally — from whatever has torn us down.
To be strong in our waiting is not the epitome of physical activity and productivity. It is the essence of stillness. Only the Father could raise the Son to new life. And only we can be raised by our Savior in His resurrection power. To know and trust that “Aslan” (CS Lewis reference to the Chronicles of Narnia) is “on the move,” is not easy. He is working behind the scenes, in our stillness, to make all things beautiful in His time. But, we KNOW He is on the move – that the ice is melting, that the winter is fading, that green is springing up, and that He is the Great Physician who is ensuring that all of our wounds are healed before we rise up and “live before Him.” And, He asks us in our waiting, Child, be still – take heart – wait for me.
Psalm 31 is a beautiful reflection of Christ’s suffering on the Cross, entitled “Into your Hands I Commit my Spirit.” This is what He cried out on the Cross in his moment of death and separation from the Father.
Of Jesus, David says, “I have become a broken vessel. But I trust in you, O God; I say, You are my God. My times are in your Hands. Rescue me. Save me in your steadfast Love. Oh, how abundant is your goodness, which you have STORED UP for those who fear you, and worked for those who take refuge in you. In the cover of your presence, you store me away in your shelter. The Lord preserves the faithful. Be strong, and let your heart take courage, all you who WAIT on the Lord.”
In our waiting, God is so very wondrously busy. He is busy with His goodness. He is busy with His Glory and His kingdom. He is busy sorting out the details. He is busy preparing our “times” and storing up abundant goodness for His children. He is holding us strongly as the Rock of Ages, behind the cleft of His rock, so that we can be made whole again and strengthened in that Cleft, and be prepared to “live before Him” and others when the time to Rise Again is at hand.
As we approach Easter, and the reality that the tombstone was rolled away, the door to Christ was opened up again, let us joyfully ponder 1 Corinthians 15:
“If Christ had not been raised, our faith would be in vain. We would be found to be misrepresenting God, because we testify about God that he raised Christ from the dead. For if Christ had not been raised, our faith is futile and we are still captured in sin and death. In Christ, we would have hoped in this earthly life only.
But in fact, Christ HAS been raised from the dead! For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam we have all died, so also in Christ we shall all be made alive. What is sown, is perishable; what is raised, is imperishable. What is sown in dishonor, is raised in glory. What is sown in weakness, is raised in power. What is sown as a natural body, is raised a spiritual body. Thus it was written, “The first man Adam became a living being; but the last Adam became a life-giving spirit. Just as we have borne the image of first man of dust (Adam), so shall we also bear the image of the last man of heaven – Jesus Christ.”
In the season of Lent, we wait for our blessed Hope to rise. In every season of our waiting, our faith is NOT in vain. In fact, it is being primed, positioned, empowered. And, He is already on the move…we need only stand still, trust Him, and let His strength shine in our weakness, for we know that our Savior is not held down by death or sin or the grave. He has already conquered it forever.
What a hope, that what we sow in weakness, He raises in power.