“By perseverance, the snail reached the ark.” ~ Charles Spurgeon
My beautiful wife and I are the two snails trying to get to the ark.
The ark is our safe refuge where life will finally work out. The ark is shelter from the storm. The ark is stability.
We have no doubt that we will arrive there. It’s just that we’re dodging elephants and hippos on the journey while sliding our soft bellies on course, rocky soil.
Going at a snail’s pace often feels like being at a standstill. In other words—waiting.
Waiting hurts! But we MUST wait on the Lord for things to work out HIS way, or else we’ll produce an Ishmael that we’ll regret.
If you’re lost in the metaphors, let me make it simple. Geographically separated from my family for three months as I await a job transfer and for our house to sell, we are experiencing emotional, financial, and physical strains like never before. We’re walking through our greatest challenge yet.
Adéye and I have no idea why God is letting this happen—for so long and with no ending in sight. It’s almost eerie.
So in the meantime, the Salems have our proclamations that frequently leave our lips:
“God’s got this.”
“God’s playing the manna game.”
“Has God ever let us down?”
“God must really trust us right now to go through this.”
“HE WILL NEVER LEAVE US NOR FORSAKE US!”
But truth be told, I sometimes want to cry out, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken us?”
In seminary, I learned that when things go awry in life, we should ask ourselves these questions to see if there’s a way out of the jungle. It’s in an acronym called SPACE PETS.
S = Is there a Sin to confess?
P = A Promise to claim?
A = An Attitude to change?
C = A Command to obey?
E = An Example to follow?
P = A Prayer to pray?
E = An Error to avoid or correct?
T = A Truth to believe?
S = Something to thank or to praise God for?
Darn formulas. They never worked when I was waiting to meet a wife. Why should they now?
I really don’t want to compare myself to Job. Compared to what he went through, we’re experiencing a Disneyland vacation. But I have to laugh at what he told God when it was all going down:
“If only you would hide me in the grave
and conceal me till your anger has passed!
If only you would set me a time
and then remember me!”
~ Job 14:13
In other words, put me in a cryogenics tube until this junk passes. Then let me out when it’s all good.
I know better than to think that God is angry at me or my wife or my children. It’s actually ludicrous to suppose so. So what is it, then??
Maybe God is teaching me to live up to how I always encourage families of our hospice patients who die. When they go through a very hard time with it all, I tell them, “God trusts you with this. There is a fortitude in you that you can’t see right now, but God does. And He’s with you.”
“He’s with you.” Hmm. Selah.
I draw the immense comfort and will to carry on from great verses like Isaiah 40:31 and Joshua 1:9. But I draw a particular strength from some words that were given to me by a non-Christian woman in a framed print. It reads like this:
I believe in the sun even when it’s not shining.
I believe in love even when I don’t feel it.
I believe in God even when He is silent.
On the back of the print, there was a label that stated, “These are the words that were found scratched into a wall inside a cell of the Auschwitz concentration camp.”
I heard our pastor last Sunday make a quick statement that was almost under his breath, and I’m sure that most of the congregation didn’t even catch it. He said, “All suffering is a surrendering of our own will.”
It’s true. Even Jesus experienced it in Gethsemane. Be it persecution, or physical infirmity, or torture, or emotional trauma…suffering occurs when we are not in control! If it were up to us, we’d say, “Let’s blow this pop stand.” But life doesn’t happen like that.
God may be silent, but God is THERE! We don’t see Him. We don’t feel Him. We don’t smell Him. But we believe in Him.
Not our will, but yours, Lord.
And so…We wait.