To Die in Wait
Last week I nearly died. The world around me became dark. I was all alone. Time slowed down like a man carrying too much on his back. All I could do now was to wait, knowing that if he didn’t come soon, I would die.
Are you waiting too? Waiting to be healed, suffering endlessly while those around you carry on in joyous merriment. Are you waiting to find the man or woman of your dreams, watching happier couples stroll by hand-in-hand, mocking your lonely heart? Or maybe you are waiting to get pregnant, trying desperately, while other less intentional couples delight in their accidental success or throw it away before it becomes too much of an inconvenience. And while you wait, do you wonder when God will give you the longing of your heart too? It is not a matter of can He, but will He? Will He ever heal me; will He ever give me a husband, a child, a job? You wait for Him, you wait for the Lord. When will He show up?
I ask myself this very question as I lie in wait, slowly dying and wondering if God even cares. In the silence left as hope slipped away, I grabbed my Bible to hear from a seemingly distant God. Thin, tissue-like pages sifted through my cold hands, resting open on the book of Malachi. It was then I realized; I was not alone.
Malachi was a profit who wrote his book around the 5th century B.C. after the Jews who had returned to Jerusalem had finished rebuilding the temple. Imagine their excitement that the prophesied Messiah would come to make all things right because they did their part, now it was God’s turn to do His. So they waited, and waited and waited. While it’s true that “hope floats,” it is also true that spirits die. As time passed, the Israelites’ hearts grew bitter towards the Lord, doubting He would fulfill their hope. They became jealous of less worthy gentiles, who were experiencing life’s pleasures around them. Depression set in, and many Jew’s contemplated walking out, as did I. Have you?
Somehow it doesn’t seem so wrong to walk away from a God who isn’t there in the first place. That was when God showed up, both for them and for me. God didn’t show up the way the Jews had hoped for, he wouldn’t come in the physical form, as Jesus, for another 400 years. Instead, He spoke to them through Malachi. He also spoke to me, to us.
God told the Israelites not to give up. God told them that they must keep waiting, keep obeying, and keep following Him. He warned them that the alternative was an eternally fatal mistake with grave consequences. And as I laid there in my living room, my spirit slipping away with the hope that God would come through, I realized something. As I lie in wait, I have two choices like the Israelites did. I could lie in wait for God, or I could die in wait. Either way, I would have to wait for what I want. The Israelites waited their whole lives, even dying, before they ever saw God walk amongst them as they had hoped for. I too may go my entire life without ever getting that thing that I hope and pray for most of all. But if I walk away from the God who hasn’t given it, I lose not just hope, but my salvation. So I wait.
Wait with me. Wait with my brother who longs for the day he will walk again. Wait with my friend who longs for the unborn child within her. Wait until you can’t wait any longer, and then wait some more. We are waiting with you, and so is He.