© 2014, Lynn Abbott
It isn’t difficult to understand how the twelve felt on that stormy passage across Galilee. Jesus had suggested that they cross by boat, and when once underway, had drifted off to sleep.
However, as was frequent on the sea, a sudden storm threatened to swamp or collapse their craft. Yes, Jesus was present, but “Why isn’t He doing something?” I can almost hear them cry.
Actually, the situation, in essence, was not unlike the one in which Mary and Martha found themselves in the book of John, chapter 11. Word had been sent to Jesus: Lazarus was very ill.
Yet, while Jesus deeply loved Lazarus and his sisters, Jesus nevertheless tarried a few days. Of course, when once He arrived, both Mary and Martha expressed their perplexity: “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died…”
I have to admit, sometimes I am with the twelve in that boat, or I am aching with Mary and Martha. Why does God delay?
He truly loves and He is certainly all-powerful. So why must I sit in fear, dread, grief or pain in the waiting room?
I began to catch another glimmer of God’s grace in 2007 when I was diagnosed with stage 3 cancer, and later when my mother was diagnosed as well.
During that time, I spent more hours in God’s waiting room than I ever imagined possible. Was it about “learning” something?
No. Not really.
I was too ill to contemplate the “lessons” I might gather from my medical condition. And when my mother also became ill, I spent what little energy I still possessed in serving and caring for her. Yet, during all that time, circumstances drove me into my Abba-God’s throne room.
I ran daily into that great hall, shoes clattering on what I imagine to be beautiful, polished, marble floors. I sprinted without fear, and boldly climbed into my Father’s lap.
Once there, I leaned back and cried–content to be in my Father’s arms. And so it was that I came to see “through a glass dimly” that what Abba cares about is His relationship with His child.
Long ago, in that beautiful, serene garden, our trust was broken. Humanity disobeyed Abba, and as a result, we came to fear the One who created us for a close and intimate relationship with Him. Jesus calls us back to paradise by way of renewed relationship with Him. He offers a place of pure comfort, peace and joy.
As He did for the twelve and for Mary and Martha–step-by-step and miracle-after-miracle– He gradually restores our faith in the One who created us.
Of course, on the cross, the sin barrier was torn away; even so, the residue of brokenness remains in each of us.
For this reason, our journey with Him must necessarily be one of practical restoration. With each path we face, and even in the waiting, He longs to strengthen our faith, our love and trust in Him.
Indeed, in the waiting room, He weeps with us. He cares for us. He increasingly and gently draws us back to Eden’s relationship. He invites us to rest in Him.
And for Christ, the restoration of that kind of relationship with you and me supersedes everything.
Infinitely wise, He knows that we cannot have true joy without the primary relationship for which we were created. All, then, that comes into our lives is designed to draw us home to Him. We need only respond to His call, His gentle whisper in the midst of life’s tumult and raging winds.
And in grace, it matters not how I run to Him. I can come with all my perplexities, with all my questioning cries. I don’t need to hold back my heart. I can lay it all out–even my greatest doubts and fears.
I can place everything before Him, and trust that He unconditionally loves me. He hears my cry and pulls me into His infinite, loving lap–eager to comfort His child.
“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord,” Romans 8:38-39
“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble,” Psalm 46:1
“The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me; your love, O LORD, endures forever…” Psalm 138:8a