I hate to wait.
Invariably I’m the guy who gets stuck in what I thought was the shortest check out line at the supermarket and then watched as the cashier needs to change the tape in the register, or the 2 items the person in front of me needs “a price check on isle 4!” After what seems like an eternity, I finally get checked out.
Now that’s irritating.
But last week I was sitting in yet another “waiting” room.
I was awaiting the outcome of another serious surgery for my wife. This was her third. A tumor in her abdomen 8 years ago. A thyroid cancer scare just 2 years ago. And now a surgery to reattach all 3 of her hamstring muscles on her right leg that she tore in a fall.
At the same time, I was texting back and forth with my brother on the East Coast regarding my mom’s deteriorating condition after being recently diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer and getting the news what she only had a few weeks to live.
I’m waiting for the outcome of two very serious situations to the two most important women in my life. And yet, while I hate waiting, I had a strange peace. Not strange in a weird way, but in a good way.
I felt hopeful for both situations.
Hopeful that my wife’s surgery would go well, that she (after much physical therapy) will be able to again take long walks on the beach or hikes in the woods that we love and have many plans for.
And, yes, hopeful for my mother whose 81-year journey in this world is coming to an end and celebrating her escorted entrance into the presence of Jesus who she told me last week was the first person she wants to see in heaven.
This morning, the text that God reminded me of was Paul’s words in 2 Corinthians 1:8-11 when he spoke about enduring hardships which is what the last several weeks has felt like:
We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired even of life. Indeed, in our hearts we felt the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us, as you help us by your prayers. Then many will give thanks on our behalf for the gracious favor granted us in answer to the prayers of many.
That’s it! The internal peace that has and is sustaining our hearts is because our hope is set on the One who raises the dead! It’s impossible for us to endure on our own. But our hope in Christ empowers us to endure.
The other amazing this is that much of this is because of the incredible support of the prayers of friends and family, coworkers, neighbors, and many whose faces we will never see in this life who have lifted us up during this time.
As much as I hate waiting, I’m grateful that it’s “in the waiting room” that I’ve witnessed first hand a gracious peace that defies description (Phil. 4:7) “in answer to the prayers of many,” and for which I’m eternally grateful.
This morning I was reading 2 Corinthians 1: