This past week I have gotten a fresh perspective on the reality of what it means to “watch and wait”. When we are in a smooth season, it can be easier to rest in the midst of waiting, watching for the Lord’s move and answers. When it is a difficult season, the ground under your feet is shaking, the winds are howling, and you are looking for light in the midst of the gale and seeming darkness, it is not so easy.
It can be so much easier to judge those in a hard place when we are not there in that hard place. We can forget they need our ears to listen carefully, our hearts to care with fierce devotion, and our knees to be bent in prayer.
Each of us responds to such seasons as best we can for the season we are in, the measure of our faith, the depth of our understanding, and the place we are in our maturity. If we have walked through such seasons before, our experience gives us much to lean on whether for ourselves or someone else.
This past week I have witnessed it in many ways as we watched one of our granddaughters, 13, endure a serious surgery resulting in considerable pain not abated by medication. One afternoon on our visit to the hospital I was deeply impacted as I observed her siblings in the response each had as they sought to come alongside their sister.
Her older brother, 19, squatted beside the bed with his eyes lovingly focused on her, speaking softly his words of encouragement and scripture. Her older sister, 15, was entrusted to hold her favorite stuffed animal, Puppy, when she could not. In another corner of the room, her younger brother, 11, observed it all, closed his eyes, and with furrowed brow silently prayed fervent prayers.
It was a poignant moment for me as a grandmother to these four. One I shall not forget and cherish for the love, care, and concern each was expressing as they had some of their first experiences of watching and waiting.
I saw the scene from eight hundred miles away as our other two grandchildren, 18 and 22, sought to cheer her with daily jokes via short videos that brought some of her first smiles. Her aunt and uncle joined in the effort as well and kept up all of our spirits in this way and in both warfare and healing prayers.
I saw it also from various cities and hamlets across the country where friends, relatives, and simply those who heard responded in continual prayer.
Then in the midst of our own watching and waiting, praying, and pacing, others came with food to bless us and care for us in ways we had no energy to accomplish. Another offered a play date for her younger brother to give him a break from the challenges we were all walking through.
Surgery was six days ago and we continue to watch and wait, to pray fervent prayers, and look to the only One who can accomplish the healing now.
She entered this surgery full of faith, confident in the Lord, and certain of His presence with her. As with each of us, this time is one of testing and strengthening that faith and confidence.
In the midst of pain none of us could imagine, her parents watched as she prayed through the whole counsel of scripture, calling on God loudly to remind Him of His faithfulness to those from Genesis to Revelation. She also reminded Him of His promises to her as He granted her a rainbow just outside of her window her last night in the hospital. She stood in all that He had built in her before this season bearing witness to His glory to all who watched her grapple with the pain.
She has come home now to finish the process, to run the race, and we run with her emboldened by her steadfast confidence in His love for her that has been so greatly tested.
As Isaiah 43 in The Message says in part:
“Don’t be afraid, I’ve redeemed you, I’ve called your name. You’re mine. When you’re over your head, I’ll be there with you. When you’re in rough waters, you will not go down. When you’re between a rock and a hard place, it won’t be a dead end—Because I am God, your personal God.”