Tag Archives: an anchor firm and secure

Beginning at the end

I suppose I’ve always been this way:

  • Shaking the presents to guess what’s inside.
  • Reading the last line of a comic strip to see if it’s funny enough to read the whole thing.
  • Reading the last chapter of a book first or the final concluding paragraph of an article.
  • Actually walking down the entire buffet line before I choose “buffet.”

Some of you understand. Maybe you belong to a family where you only tell the punchline and everyone laughs because they’ve heard the story so many times. Some of you are shaking your heads in disdain, saying it’s the process that counts as much as the end result. And you are right. Sometimes the ending is spoiled when we know it too soon. If you knew all along “the butler did it”, where is the mystery?

Whether it’s waiting for Christmas morning, waiting for kids to grow up, or waiting for an answer to prayer, we have this desire to skip to the end.  I’ve heard some say that whether it’s good news or bad, they just want to know so they can move on to the point they can actually do something.

Though it often escapes us, there is purpose in waiting. Waiting provides for us, protects us, and prepares us.

Waiting provides valuable lessons that can’t be learned in the instant gratification lane. Besides teaching me patience, a virtue few of us enjoy learning, waiting provides me with a renewed sense of perspective. It causes me to realize I’m not in control of everything, not even my own life. There are situations where the only control I have is how I respond to the situation. We aren’t always the captain of our own destiny. Waiting teaches us that God is God; I’m not. It provides greater blessing when I would have chosen less.

Waiting protects us. I recall a number of times when my delay was actually the hand of God protecting me from a poor choice, a bad relationship, or an unforeseen accident down the road. Sometimes we have to wait for certain doors to open because we aren’t ready for what’s on the other side. Sometimes, if we push too hard, we open a door not meant for us, revealing real dangers we hadn’t anticipated in our eagerness to pass through. Imagining the consequence of our choice helps us to wait patiently.

Waiting prepares us. Imagine trying to pass a test without studying and learning the material. Consider the consequences of being promoted too quickly to a job only to find you lacked experience to be successful. Reflect on the plight of being thrust into marriage too soon. Waiting prepares us for a future we’re unready for now. It affords the opportunity to build not only our knowledge and skills, but our character.  Just as we wait for a fruit tree to produce good fruit, so waiting produces good results in our lives.

So which is better, waiting or skipping to the end? As with most of life, the best answer may not be “either/or” but “both/and.”  As difficult as it is to wait, especially in the darkest times, it’s helpful to skip to the end of the bible and read the conclusion of the story. “God wins!” Our God who sees you and me right where we are, who knows our pain and every temptation that faces us – this same Mighty God will work good for all those who love him, who are called according to his purpose. He will lead you through the valley of the shadow of death.  He will show you the way to go because you have not been there before. The end of this chapter of my life is not evident just now. But the end of my story – and all who trust God – is clearly revealed. The power of God’s Spirit gives us peace in the middle of the storm and secures our hope, “as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.” (Hebrews 6:19)

While you are waiting in difficult times, go ahead and skip to the end of the story and see that it is well with your soul.


Celebrating six months since transplant

As I approach celebrating six months (this Friday!) since my stem cell transplant, I find myself coming back to convictions that have steadily grown during my unexpected journey with Leukemia:

I find myself actually thankful for how God has spoken to Marcia and me through this unexpected journey in ways I don’t think we would have experienced on any other path. To be honest, sometimes more thankful than others, but He continues to bring us back to center when we are done with our self efforts and complaining for the day. :-). I have also been so thankful for opportunities to visit with people and share in their lives! Those have been rewarding times of renewal and of redeeming the time we have while we have it.

God has faithfully affirmed things we knew to be true and planted them more firmly in our hearts. And even when His plan didn’t include removing the pain, He never ever abandoned us. He reminded us that sometimes he calms the storm; sometimes He calms the sailor. Even when the tensions that come with a household invaded by cancer, His faithfulness prompts our commitment to draw closer – to Him and to each other. His joy, sometimes more one of inner contentment than gushing effervescent bubbly joy, becomes strength to those who trust Him.

Whatever long-term struggles you face, and even when life is going well, each day is a battle for the mind. Being aware of making daily choices that lift us, not enslave us, is crucial, isn’t it? Sometimes I don’t fight the battle as well as others. Sometimes I keep on fighting when it is time to simply stand in God’s armor and let HIM fight for me. It is true that faith makes all things possible, but not easy.

I have learned that most everyone faces tough battles that include physical illness, relational tensions, work stress, financial struggles, battles for the mind, and all sorts of grief and sorrow. I wish I could tell you a way to escape them, but we won’t in this world. However… we don’t have to remain slaves to their mental and spiritual bondage. We have a loving God who cares for us and is ready to help us become victors and experience a peace we couldn’t otherwise expect…even as the storm rages within and around us. The only hope for victory I know is to surrender our complete trust to Him….all of it, in all things. And for me, it is a hope for the soul, like an anchor that is firm and secure. I know today, I need to consciously shorten the anchor rope so I don’t drift farther than I should. (Hebrews 6:19)

Be blessed in growing your thankful heart and in trusting one who is completely trustworthy to bring you a peace you won’t find anywhere else.