Christ followers, we know Christ has already been born. And yet…our lives continue
to be defined by waiting. Waiting for an answer to prayer, waiting for a better
job, waiting for renewed health, waiting ...waiting.
Due to a surprise and scary health condition, my life the past three months has been shaped by doctors visits and a period in the Intensive Care
Unit (ICU). In
the ICU, all you seem to do is wait. Wait for a nurse to come turn you, wait
for your next meal to be delivered, wait for pain to subside, wait for independence
to return, wait for dignity to be restored.
waiting are not passive…waiting can mean agony, frustration, bitterness, even
The letter writer of James indicates that in the midst of sickness and illness, I am to feel fortunate. This is hard to
accept. How can I consider myself fortunate while lying in a hospital bed or going
in for surgeries? Is it really so fortunate that my physical pain makes it
hard to go to work and be able to support myself?
And yet, I
cannot turn away from this scripture text. I cannot escape the truth that is
revealed in it.
Ten years ago my brother died at the age of thirty-two. His death was sudden and unexpected. I never felt like I had the chance to express to him how important he was to me. His death marked an awful time of
suffering and pain for myself and our family. We could not see past our grief
or even imagine joy filling our lives ever again. We, of course, felt no
gratitude or good fortune in such a terrible loss.
Two years after my brother’s death, my nephew was born. He was the first grandchild born to my parents, my first time being an aunt. This birth was such an
incredible renewal of hope for all of us in the family. My parents, my sister, my nephew and I are very close. While the birth of my nephew could not replace the loss of my brother, he drew us together, and enabled us to turn and face hope again. God had turned us toward hope again.
months of medical treatment have been, as James describes, “a trial,” but, I’m seeing God’s
blessing in it as well. While hospitals are not exactly fun places to visit, I’ve had
so many friends and family take the time to visit me. My nephew, now eight, visited often and insisted on being my “nurse.” He wanted to stay at the hospital all day and help take care of me! I’ve
been so humbled by the outpouring of love. And, in the midst of this medical journey, I became an aunt again! A beautiful, amazing little girl was born to our family. Just knowing she exists brings joy to my heart.
How fortunate am I!
I've learned our lives
are going to be full of waiting…full of suffering…full of the agony we’ll wish
we didn’t have to endure. We cannot take these things out of our lives, so we
may at least look for the gifts and blessings that will also emerge from these trials.
In the agony of waiting, God gives new life. God can turn us to hope again.