Friday, November 7, 2008

...And Waiting

Several years ago, our pastor and his wife came to our house to pray for our family. We were living through a period that some might refer to as “Under Attack.” One blow came swiftly on the heels of its predecessor, allowing no time for recovery in between. Unrelenting stress and crisis were the normative conditions during this time. My husband and I were both exhausted, sick, and very close to the end of our ropes. We were shocked and disappointed that God didn’t seem to hear our cries for relief.

After talking for a while, our friends began praying for each of us, moving around the room to place healing hands on us one at a time. When they prayed for me, it was comforting, but I didn’t experience any major ‘bells and whistles.’ Then I sensed them moving around the room towards Katherine. I started getting chills. We heard the prayer momentarily cease as they whispered to each other something like, “Wow, did you get that?” accompanied by sounds of murmured wonderment.

When the prayer was over, our pastor said to Katherine, “I feel that God is singling you out for some special purpose...that you have a 'divine destiny.'" His wife corroborated, saying that she was startled by how strongly that impression had been made upon her as well.

We were slightly weirded out. With my active imagination, it was a pleasant fantasy to picture Katherine giving God the glory from the Academy Awards stage one day. At least it was a little distraction from the chronic pain that pursued me. Unfortunately, the prayer seemed to have had little efficacy for me. But later that evening, my husband, who is not in the least prone to exaggeration, reported a remarkable improvement in some of his physical symptoms. I try to keep an open mind about this kind of thing. “Well, good,” I thought/prayed, “at least he deserves some answered prayer.”

That night was a strange one. We had a terrific winter storm, and the power went out. We stumbled around the house by candlelight, trying to pick through the piles of stuff we’d been going through before the lights turned off. Katherine was scheduled to leave the house at 5:00 a.m. to catch a flight back to California, and her sisters and I had emptied our closets for her to pick through our hand-me-downs. It was chaos in the dark.

We finally gave up in the wee hours, and all crowded into the master bedroom for what little warmth the gas fireplace might provide. Unable to find my pain meds in the dark, and not able to use my heating pad because of the power outage, I ‘slept’ in the bed with my mother while the rest of the family crowded together in sleeping bags. I fitfully dozed off and on for a few hours, assuming that the pain would be so severe in the morning that I would be unable to move.

The next morning, I stumbled into the shower, still half asleep, and began washing my hair. Suddenly, I became aware that I was using both hands. I had not been able to lift my right arm above my head without severe pain for almost a year prior to that. Several health-care professionals had told me that it was likely that I’d never have another pain-free day, but we would learn how to “manage” it.

I was miraculously pain-free for the rest of the day. Although the battle was not completely over at that time, my pain level remained greatly diminished for months afterwards. (So much for bells and whistles.)

I began taking those spiritually-intuited words about Katherine more seriously, wondering if they actually might prove to be prophetic in some way.

What could God possibly have in store for her?


Obviously, it was nothing we could imagine.

***************

...And so we continue to await the unfolding of His plan, remembering that “His ways are not our ways, His thoughts are not our thoughts...”

The Waiting Room is not a new place for me...I’ve signed my name in here a few times before. So while I wait to be called back to the examining room, I thumb through the stack of old stories on the table to assuage my apprehension.

I start with the Big Daddy, Abraham. He always makes me feel a little better. (The whole Ishmael thing... pimping his wife not once, but twice...laughing at the angel...!!) According to my calculations, it was 25 years between the Promise and its fulfillment. Twenty five years of believing, doubting, trying, failing, trying again. And just when it seemed completely impossible, The Blessing came.

Then I look at Joseph. Oh, the arrogance of youth! We’re just so cocky until we get the stuffing knocked out of us a few times. I cringe at the remembrance of what a know-it-all I was in my teens and twenties. Maybe young Joseph was just impulsive and lacking in some social skills. Nobody likes a braggart. But it wasn’t all his fault that he was spoiled; parents should never have favorites. He had plenty of time to think about his own mistakes, however, in the 20+ years he awaited the fulfillment of his dream. Years of betrayal, imprisonment, false accusations, broken promises. His character was purged through the fires of burning disappointment until he was a man big enough to forgive the unforgiveable...a man worthy of being a prototype of the One who “blessed those who cursed him.”

Moses: From the decadent palaces of Egypt to the obscurity of the boondocks. Feeling like a pauper instead of a prince, he languished for 40 years of exile in Midian before reluctantly receiving the Call for liberation.

And then there’s Saul. I used to be under the impression that after his moment of enlightenment, when the scales fell off his eyes, he took off running to spread the News. But no. In “The Conversion of Saul,” Robert Deffinbaugh writes, “There may well have been a long time between Saul’s conversion and his arrival at Jerusalem.” In Galatians, Paul (formerlyknownas Saul) tells us that he did not go directly to Jerusalem to connect with his new brothers, as would be expected. Instead, he went away to Arabia and then returned to Damascus. It was over three years before went to Jerusalem and finally met Peter. First he went into the desert. Then he revisited the place where his life had been turned upside down. As driven and Type A as he was, Saul had to wait humbly until he had learned what he needed to learn. I’m sure he was chomping at the bit as the wild horses of his fiery, impulsive nature were being tamed. Snorting and pawing at the starting line, he learned the hard lessons of obedience and submission. And the even harder one of surrendering his will and plans.

Later, after much character growth, he would write, “...we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us. You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us." (Romans 5:3-8)

At just the right time, God’s plan and purposes for Katherine will unfold.

As they will for all of us who wait.

***************

This is what the Lord says:
At just the right time, I will respond to you.

On the day of salvation I will help you...
Through you I will reestablish the land of Israel
and assign it to its own people again.
I will say to the prisoners, ‘Come out in freedom,’

and to those in darkness, ‘Come into the light.’
They will be my sheep, grazing in green pastures
and on hills that were previously bare.
They will neither hunger nor thirst.
The searing sun will not reach them anymore.
For the Lord in his mercy will lead them;
he will lead them beside cool waters.
And I will make my mountains into level paths for them.
The highways will be raised above the valleys.
See, my people will return from far away...”
(Isaiah 49:8-12)



The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness to mean...
(II Peter 3:9)

6 comments:

Melissa said...

Hi Kim-
I've been reading through Jeremiah and he, like the others, prophesied for 23 years. As I study through his words, the Lord keeps directing me back to the places where He constantly encourages Jeremiah. He tells him, "they might listen this time...what you're doing is not in vain, trust me." We truly are a people who are not used to waiting so long...but oh how faithful He is! I will lift you up today...and tomorrow...and look forward to hear how the Lord sustains your Katherine and your family; God's blessings be showered upon you! Melissa Chappell, Samford alumni

Brittany said...

Congratulations to Katherine and Jay for their anniversary. Katherine has already made such a lasting impression for Christ on so many of us. (even before April 08)I am thinking of you also Ms. Kim and praying that you and your husband are physically holding up right how as you are the support system for Katherine, Jay and James. You haven't mentioned much about your current physical condition but I pray you are feeling much better.
Brittany Bolemon (samford friend)

Kerin said...

AMEN! I am so inspired and in awe of your family's devotion and belief in Christ. How you all have dealt with this crisis and are continuing to deal with them all is a lesson for us all about God's love and grace. Jay's love for Katherine is nothing less than awesome. I pray each day for her continued restoration. We don't know God's plan for our lives and we can't begin to understand why things happen in this life as they do. We can be assured that HE does have a plan and He does know why things happen as they do. "With people this is impossible, but with God all things are possible." (Matthew 19:26) "I am the Lord who heals you." (Exodus 15:26) I pray that every day for Katherine.

tatiana said...

God made u special....
i wish 4 u....
comfort on difficult days,
smiles when sadness intrudes,
rainbows 2 follow the clouds,
laughter 2 kiss your lips,
sunsets 2 warm your heart,
gentle hugs when spirits sag,
friendships 2 brighten your being,
beauty 4 your eyes 2 c,
confidence for when u doubt,
faith so that u can b lieve,
courage 2 know yourself,
patience 2 accept the truth,
& luv 2 complete your life.
God bless u!
i asked the Lord 2 bless u,
as i prayed 4 u 2day,
2 guide u & protect u,
as u go along your way....
His luv is always w/ u,
His promises r tru,
u know He will c us thru....
so when the road u r travelin' on
seems a difficult test,
trust in God & He will do the rest.
katherine & kim,
Jesus luvs u always & he will always wait right along side u 4 your "divine destiny" 2 unfold....
xoxo,
tati

WOW power leveling said...

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Kim Arnold said...

wow is right...another internet mystery...