Issue 25: Waiting Well!

Fellow Corona Virus Captive,

Last week’s message regarding COURAGE resounded with many of you.  Applying one definition of courage to our shared challenge: “Courage in the face of Corona Virus is holding on “one month” longer… and then another month… and another, as long as it takes.” You like me have recently learned that we must wait even longer for the scourge of Corona Virus to subside from our land.  I’m sure most of you are saying “Oh Boy — another month of quarantine! What great news!”  

Not!  Waiting is hard.  When we addressed this topic in mid-February, we emphasized in Are We There Yet? that such waiting can be a “carefully disguised opportunity” in a number of ways.  For instance, we highlighted the opportunity to 

  1. Assess available information to gauge when the decision needs to be made or an action taken — this is certainly needed on a personal level and on a national level in the midst of crisis, 
  2. Use the time of waiting to listen to God and others,
  3. Foster an obedient spirit, and
  4. Invest in JOY while waiting.  Worship the Lord with expectation and gladness.

This week’s blog will expand upon the fine art of wise, God-honoring WAITING.

As well this week, I have provided the video from a TV interview I did with the Real Life Program on the Cornerstone Network out of Pittsburg.  You will find it a useful reminder regarding RESILIENCE in these “days of trouble.”  One of the key questions it highlights is “Would you rather be a tennis ball or an egg?”  

My prayer for all of us this week is that we will be “Merchants of Hope” for those around us.  As we engage with others (these days largely over the phone or video calls), may we be mouthpieces of wisdom, grace, and optimism.  As well, may we maintain focus and intentionality, “redeeming the time” despite the temptation to be “tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine (or every news report).”  (Ephesians 4:14)

Respectfully in Christ,

Bob 

PS- As a reminder, our Resilience God Style Newsletters website page has an archive of all past RGS newsletter content for your future reference, or for you to share with others.

PPS- In Resilience Resources I highlight the RGS Training Game again — a fun activity with a purpose while you “shelter at home.”

Gaining Altitude

My soul WAITS for the Lord
More than the watchmen for the morning;
Indeed, more than the watchmen for the morning.  

Psalm 130:6

Waiting Well!

by Bob Dees

“It was a cold Sunday morning with over a foot of newly fallen snow.  We were in a classroom setting for a short burst of instruction before taking to the ice covered hills yet once again.  In recent days many had parachuted into their training operations, or soon would. We all had run until our bodies were screaming and our minds were numb.  We all anticipated yet another patrol over the icy hills of northern Georgia later that day, all of us carrying sixty-plus pound rucksacks. In the large rustic classroom the Ranger students constantly played “jab right, jab left” to keep one another awake.

Just as one of my battle buddies had jabbed me in the ribs to stop my head bobbing I heard my name, “Ranger Dees, front and center…” with further explanation that the Ranger chaplain from a nearby town was snowed in and couldn’t reach us for a brief worship service scheduled before our departure for yet another round of patrolling.  The Ranger cadre, most of them combat veterans who knew the power of faith even though they seldom mentioned it, recognized that I was a man of faith and could perhaps give a sorely needed word of encouragement. For me, it was not some grand or noble task; rather, “the training just kicked in” — when I was squeezed, out came Scripture.

In what was certainly divinely inspired relevance, I simply recalled from memory and explained Isaiah 40:31:

“Yet those who wait upon the Lord will gain new strength,

(We sure needed it!)

“They will mount up with wings as eagles,

(Sounds like airborne operations!)

“They will run and not get tired,

(“All the way and then some!”)

“They will walk and not become weary.”

(Give me some of that!)

This became a teachable moment.  Future rangers and experienced cadre alike were struck by the relevance of God’s Word to the nitty-gritty of life.  Even today, some of those fellow Rangers recount this as the day that “God broke through,” allowing them to recognize that faith is not for sissies; faith in the foxhole is for tough Rangers and all others who have to dig deep as they lead others to accomplish tough missions, as they live warriors’ lives of fighting, getting wounded, bouncing back, and fighting again.”
(Excerpt from Resilience God Style book, pp 112-114)

The COVID19 restrictions in America have been extended another month, at least. This is also a “teachable moment” for each of us. This news in a human sense pushes us towards discouragement, impatience, anger, and a “woe is me” mindset.  WAITING IS HARD, particularly for those of us accustomed to instant coffee, drive through food, the 24-hour news cycle, and 5-day Z-packs to heal infection.  Yet, WAITING IS A CERTAINTY OF LIFE and a historical reality.

Consider Noah who waited for the flood amidst public ridicule, or Abraham who waited for a promised son despite his age, or Ruth who waited for God’s plan to be revealed as rescuer of the Jewish people.  Also consider WWII troops fighting until it was “over, over there,” or their waiting and working families on the homefront. Or consider each of us, waiting in varying degrees of social distancing and quarantine. While waiting is hard, the results of not waiting could be personally and nationally disastrous.

Just as with hard core Rangers, God’s WORD is relevant to each of us in the days of COVID19.  When we addressed this topic of waiting in mid-February, we emphasized in Are We There Yet? that such waiting can be a “carefully disguised opportunity” in a number of ways.  For instance, we highlighted the opportunity to: 

  1. ASSESS FACTS (v. paranoia) in order to make wise decisions,
  2. Use the time of waiting to LISTEN TO GOD AND OTHERS,
  3. FOSTER AN OBEDIENT SPIRIT, and
  4. INVEST IN JOY while waiting.  WORSHIP the Lord with expectation and gladness.

Last week we ended our blog with the verse Isaiah 40:31 “… those who WAIT upon the Lord will gain new strength…”  Let’s dive deeper.

  • If you look at different Bible versions, you will see that “WAIT” is translated in some as trust or hope.  TRUST in the Lord, and you will renew your strength.  HOPE in the Lord and you will renew your strength.  All are different reflections of the same principle also reflected in Proverbs 3:5,6:  “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.” In these days of COVID19, leaning totally on self is a prescription for fear, frailty (weakness), and failure.  Conversely, leaning on, trusting in, hoping in, waiting upon GOD is how we gain new (RENEW) our strength! Paul Tournier said “We fall the way we lean.”  Let’s all lean in the right direction in these days of adversity for all of us!
  • “WINGS AS EAGLES” is a powerful metaphor in a number of ways.  As mentioned in an early blog: With Height Comes Perspective.  As well, “MOUNTING UP” with wings as eagles implies intentionality, purpose, and action — even if it is our civic duty to protect self and others by being physically inactive.  Mounting up implies preparation to go somewhere — it reminds us of our calling: What is God’s calling for you and for me during this time of COVID 19?  Reach out to others?  Invest in family? Regain spiritual perspective?  Model resilience and patience for those around you? Rest?  Refill our Well of Courage?  
  • It is interesting that adult eagles molt each year, renewing their plumage, allowing them to continue to soar over time, to “stay the course.”  Isaiah 40:31 also speaks to this: “They will run and not get tired.” In short, WAITING, trusting, hoping in the Lord gives us ENDURANCE, despite the toughest of trials.  
  • Similarly, “They will walk and not get weary.”  Walking instead of running is the way we PACE ourselves.  There are times to go fast, and times to go slow.  Either can drive us to our knees if we are not “Trusting in the Lord to Renew Our Strength.”  May God give us a keen sense of pace, recognizing that our “battle” may not end soon.  

As I close, the verse which precedes Isaiah 40:31 is also instructive:

Though youths grow weary and tired,
And vigorous young men stumble badly,

Perhaps many of us reading this are growing weary in waiting, or weary in well-doing.  Our self-sufficiency may be proving inadequate as we recognize our human strength, wisdom, ingenuity may not be sufficient to keep the virus off of our doorstep, or provide the strength to respond properly if we do become infected.  We may also be “stumbling badly” in how we are dealing with the isolation, or we may be attacking the very ones we love, or ditching healthy lifestyle choices, or frozen in place until economic recovery occurs, or resorting to a hypercritical attitude towards those seeking to protect us, or huddled in oppressive fear and anxiety as we wait for a future none of us can control, or other life issues that have nothing to do with COVID-19.  These are the human challenges and temptations we all face.

May we instead “Wait upon the Lord and HE will renew our strength.”

May we all WAIT WELL.

Respectfully in Christ,

Bob

So what about YOU?

Do you have any tips for “Waiting Well!”?
Any life experiences when you could have waited better?
We are all in the “wait mode” now.
How are YOU dealing with this?

Share your COMMENTS with us.

Bounce Builder

“You have seen for yourselves what I did to Egypt, and how 
I carried you on eagles’ wings and brought you to Myself”
(Exodus 19:4 – God helping the Israelites “Remember”)

Examples:  1) God protected me in a serious accident, 2) Jesus made Himself very real to me in a time of fear,  3) God’s Holy Spirit and His people helped me “feel again” after the loss of a loved one, 4) God provided strength to be resilient through a traumatic experience, and 5) God allowed me to persevere through a long illness. 

Share your Example in the COMMENTS below.

RESILIENCE RESOURCES

Tennis Ball or Egg???

Show this SHORT VIDEO to your family!

Make it a “Shelter in Place” with a PURPOSE

Tennis Ball or Egg? That is the question! See this latest interview with Cornerstone Network. How do we hide under the shelter of God’s wings until the destruction passes by, then bounce back without getting stuck in toxic emotions — getting better, wiser, stronger through the adversity we all face.

From the Mailbox

Bob, thanks for these encouraging words.  Major items for me:

  1. The only thing we can control is how we respond.
  2. Each of us must be wise to make physical, mental, spiritual, emotional, and relational deposits into our well of courage so that we will have resources to draw upon when fear raises its ugly head, when the waves start to come over the side of the boat.
  3. Ration your intake of news to select times. You don’t have to watch every Corona Virus TF press briefing! Let’s all make sure our time marinating with our Lord exceeds our time soaking in news, and discouragement, and fear.

Amen to that last one!

~Glen Aubrey, Creative Team Publishing Group

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“WAITING WELL!”

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