Today was 9 May and I was sitting waiting for news – again.
In a strange coincidence, exactly 20 years ago today, I was also sitting waiting for news. Alan had been unexpectedly diagnosed with major heart disease and he was having a triple bypass operation in the university hospital of Lausanne, Switzerland. I was sitting at home waiting for news. The outcome was, of course, very positive: Alan came through the surgery well and has been living in the good of it for the last 20 years.
Today – exactly 20 years later – I was waiting again. This time Alan was undergoing a different kind of procedure: it was the viva of his doctoral thesis, when he had to defend what he had written before two examiners. It was the culmination of 6 years’ hard work and diligence. Alan did well in his viva and, with a few adjustments to his thesis, it will result in him receiving his doctorate.
But for me the test was of a different kind. The question was this: how good am I at waiting?
How do I feel when I am waiting?
There is the sense that the circumstance is totally outside of my control. Whether heart surgery or a university examination, there is nothing I can do to change the outcome. 20 years ago, when Alan had been taken for an angiogram, the nurse came into the ward and started to remove Alan’s clothes from his wardrobe and pack them in his case. She knew he was going to have to go to another hospital for surgery. But I didn’t. I thought he must be dead. When she saw the look on my face, she quickly explained.
20 years ago, God was clearly at work in Alan’s diagnosis and subsequent provision of all that he needed for his heart surgery. One circumstance in our lives builds hope for the next. If God provided all I needed then, can I trust him to do the same now?
In times of waiting, times of need
When I know loss, when I am weak
I know His grace will renew these days
The Lord is my salvation.
My biggest challenge is this: did my waiting today look any different from my waiting 20 years ago? What am I like in the waiting?
Have I learned to trust God more in the intervening years? Am I less anxious?
Do I believe that God will ultimately do what is best for me and for my loved ones? Am I more confident? Can I trust Him?
I want to be growing in my faith, stretching my spiritual muscles.
Waiting is a test for all of us. I want to trust God in the waiting.