Sunday night our church's choir, orchestra and drama team will present a production titled "Shelter." As in, "The Lord is our Shelter."
After the choir's opening song, I will dramatically present Isaiah 40. It's not actually the entire chapter, because the running time for thirty-one long verses was about five and a half minutes, and we omitted a portion to get it down to just over three minutes.
Three minutes is quite brief. Most any song you'd listen to lasts longer. You might take that long to read this post if you make it to the end. It's taken me many hours to memorize the verses I'll present in three short minutes, praying I get them right.
It's taken me nearly half a century to learn their message, and I definitely don't have that down yet.
Isaiah 40 begins with the words, " 'Comfort, yes, comfort My people!' says your God. 'Speak comfort ...' " It ends with the familiar assurance that "those who wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength ... mount up with wings like eagles ..."
Isaiah 40 has been speaking to me personally since I retreated to a closet at church back on a January Wednesday and the Lord drew my attention to the question of Isaiah 40:27: "Why do you say ... 'My way is hidden from the Lord, and my just claim is passed over by my God' " ?
It seems my entire life has been spent waiting for one important thing or another. In recent months, I've thought more than once that I really have reached my limit of waiting (as if I have a choice). One night in April I cried and pleaded and whined and sobbed as I begged the Lord to please let me bring something important in my life to successful completion.
Something bigger than the meal that takes an hour to prepare and vanishes within moments. Something bigger than spending days of ripping apart old shrubs and planting bulbs that bloom for a few days each year and look awful year round because I can't get time to weed and thin them. Something bigger than memorizing three-plus minutes of Scripture and presenting it and having it well-received before it passes from the memory of its hearers.
Please, Lord, can't I please get it right in something important like relationships? Because I'm tired of hurting people and I'm tired of hurting and I'm just plain tired of trying.
I suppose the Lord waits longer than any of us for all He wants to complete in relationships. I suppose He must smile with empathetic amusement at my whining.
That night in April, He was kind enough to provide a reply.
It's not over yet.
Which is His reassuring way of saying the waiting isn't over yet, but the results will be worth the wait.
I do trust Him, if I trust nothing else.
So I have memorized Scripture. I will speak to others His Word which has spoken to me, and I will pray that they catch a glimpse of the Lord's reassurance in the waiting.