Waiting

 

Jesus saw him lying there and knew he had been in this condition for a long time.”  – John 5

 

You know the old proverb – Good things come to those who wait. My mother added to the saying – Good things come to those who wait, and wait, and wait, and wait, and wait, and wait, and wait, and wait, etc., ad infinitum! I am often impatient especially when dealing with what I consider to be an act of foolishness or stupidity by someone else. Certainly, I want every one to be patient with me in my stupid moments.

Good things may come to those who wait, but it would helpful if I knew for what I was waiting. The Bible says that those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength. Now that I am in my sixties, I would love to renew my strength. Yet, how in the world does one wait on the Lord? It’s not like the Lord is late for an appointment. What am I suppose to be doing while I’m waiting? While I wait in a doctor’s office, I can sit quietly and read a magazine. That helps with the waiting (for a short while, anyway). So what exactly am I suppose to do while I am waiting on the Lord?

I feel like I’ve been waiting for something for most of my life. I don’t know exactly what it is, but since I’ve been Orthodox,  I am waiting for the Lord to make me a saint!  I want him to make me well.  I want Him to make me holy!  He had better call me into his office soon. The clock is ticking and I am growing impatient!

The paralytic lay by the pool for thirty-eight years. That, my friends, is a lot of waiting. I know a little of how he must have felt because he was waiting in the face of constant disappointment. Though I have been so blessed in my life, spiritually, my life has been very disappointing. He was paralyzed and he had no one who would help carry him to the healing pool. One friend, if he had only one friend, he might have made it into the pool years ago. That must have been his greatest sorrow.

When you are paralyzed, you cannot walk on your own. You must have the help of others. You and I have had friends, but how many of them carried us to spiritual well-being? Though I enjoyed their company, some of my friends made me sicker.We have god-parents in the Orthodox church. It is a big responsibility. By their support and prayers, they should carry us to the healing pool when sin or sorrow has paralyzed us. I think of the friends who tore open the roof of St. Peter’s house and lowered the sick man down to Jesus.

My stupid sin has paralyzed me and kept me from wholeness. Oh, there were times when I thought I was close. I’ve seen the waters swirl and longed to climb into it, but I found that my paralysis restrained me. The Lord says to me, “Do you want to be made well?”  Yes, I do but something troubles me.  The Lord told the paralytic, You have become well; sin no more, so that nothing worse happens to you.” Well, I don’t seem to be able to retain this business about “sin no more,”  and I don’t want something worse to happen to me.

How many times have I felt that divine forgiveness that heals the soul, and then I promised, upon my honor, that I would sin no more? So often,  I found myself being untrue to my pledge. I went back and did the very things that made me ill. It’s kind of like a doctor helping a diabetic to get his blood sugar under control, and then after his appointment where the doctor proclaims victory, the guy goes out and has a Moon Pie and an R.C. Cola to celebrate!

By His grace, patience and love, nothing worse has happened to me.

His command gives me a new way of waiting: “Take up your bed and walk.” Old beds can be very comfortable. Sin also can be a comfortable habit. It is hard to give them up, but by His command, we must take them up and walk. We do not sit by the pool,  we walk in the Way. Now we commit our paths to Him, and he will direct us. Waiting on the Lord is not like waiting for Godot. It is walking, not sitting and waiting for the waters to be stirred.

I feel sure that the paralytic never came back to wait by the pool. Smart man! If I ever get an ounce of wisdom, I will do the same. Maybe this time the strength, steadfastness, and wonder of His love will convince me that I am indeed well and it is time to walk!

Well, I’m waiting.

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