There have been so many blessings of still being in Charleston. One of them was having the opportunity to attend the historical 226th Convention for the Diocese of South Carolina where I listened to every single priest/parish/mission affirm their "yay" to join the ACNA. For non-Anglicans, this was a long-awaited (as in years) decision for an entire state's worth of churches to leave their roots--founded in 1785--with the conviction to align themselves under the leadership of those who are committed to protecting the purity of the Gospel.
During Bishop Mark Lawrence's address, he spoke to the weight that comes in the wait. He didn't belittle or excuse it, though he did put it in perspective, and I needed to hear it for my own situation. If you follow my blog or know me, you know that I'm very much in "the wait." And many of you in my life, just by association or partnership, are in the wait with me. I would not be honest if I said that it hasn't been challenging.
The Bishop reminded us that though the burden is real as we wait and even a type of long-suffering, that we can rejoice in the suffering because it produces endurance, which produces character, which produces hope, which does not disappoint--all based on God's promise in Romans 5.
I have to say that these are not always on the forefront of my mind. The recording I hear goes more like frustration, defeat, despair, and disillusionment, all of which do disappoint. Thankfully as Christians, we are not alone. Not only is God's presence real at all times and all places--no matter how we feel or how things appear--but we are also part of a Body who can help us to stand in God's promises.
One of my favorite passages in Scripture is when Aaron and Hur held Moses' arms up for him when he was weary. As long as his arms were up, the Israelites won the battle, but they would lose when his arms fell. So, despite my pride which really doesn't always want to ask others for prayer...again, I reached out to a few who would "lift my arms up." For me, their prayers take the weight of the wait off of me so that I can endure and hope.
And as I went to God in His Word, He Himself promises that "they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength." (Is 40:31). As I considered this promise, I realized something that needs changing in my own heart and mind because somewhere along the line, I stopped waiting for the Lord and started waiting for a circumstance (an answer, a date, a percentage, etc.) Yikes! So thankful to have a God who can show us where we're off and re-direct us to truth.
I imagine that some of you who read this could be waiting for some answers or changes as well. I speak as one who "suffers" with you: as we wait, may we wait for the Lord and put our hope in Him. That "hope does not disappoint us because God has poured our His love into our hearts through the Holy Spirit whom He has given us." (Rom 5:4-5)
Why do you say..."My way is hidden from the LORD...? Have you not known? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; His understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the faint, and to Him who has no might, He increases strength. Is 40:27-9