Waiting for the Phone to Ring

A couple of months ago there was something I really, really wanted. I’d had a job interview for what I thought was an exciting opportunity. I had a great feeling when I left the interview. I’d interviewed with two different people, and we seemed to hit it off perfectly. We’d even talked about the training program, and the places we’d call on during that training period, and all the fun we’d have during the process. The salary was great, and the benefits were more than I’d imagined. The decision was going to be made the following week.

So I wrote my thank you emails, and then I waited for the phone to ring. I didn’t get a response back from the emails, but that really wasn’t that unusual. At least so I’ve experienced, in this day and age.

I figured I wouldn’t hear back from the decision maker until at least the middle of the next week, because I’d been told a decision would be made by the end of the week. So as the days went by, I waited, somewhat patiently, at least for a while. After all, I hadn’t really been looking for a new job, but this one had just come across my email, and someone said I‘d be perfect for it, so, well, why not try?

The phone never rang, and the email never came. In fact, I heard absolutely nothing back. Not even a “thank you so much for talking to us but we chose someone else”. Just silence. And then I started really thinking the worst about myself. How could I have been so wrong?
I’d even prayed over it every night, and asked God to please, PLEASE let the answer be yes. I even thanked Him in advance for the new position. I imagined myself in that new job, and even planned what I’d do with the pay increase.

But the call never came.

God didn’t answer my prayer.

Or did He?

Sometimes His answer is “no”. And that’s not what we want to hear, because we really think we know best; that we know better than God does. And we make sure we tell Him that. I’ve written about this before, but it’s important to write about it again, especially in this particular instance.

Because it wasn’t my time. And it wasn’t the job He wanted me to have. He had something much better in mind for me, and He knew that I wasn’t ready for it yet, because He still had certain things for me to accomplish in my existing job, before He could release me into the next one.

And He did just that, and quite by accident, or so I thought. But then again, the Lord never does anything by accident. It’s all a part of His plan for us. I answered another email that someone had sent me, even though I figured nothing would come of it, and as a result of answering that email, I started my new position this week, with an even better pay increase, and much closer to home, which will allow me to spend the time I want to spend with my new granddaughter when she arrives next month.

That’s just how the Lord works. He knew when the phone was supposed to ring, and who was going to be on the other end of it. And He made that phone ring when I was least expecting it.

Psalm 27:14 tells us to “Wait for the Lord. Be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.” I wasn’t willing to wait, but He made me wait. Because He had something so much better to give me.

Waiting is difficult. We are by nature impatient. We want what we want, and we want it now. Or better yet, yesterday. We want that phone to ring, and sometimes the silence is deafening. We think God is ignoring us, and even begin to feel that He’s deserted us.
That’s when He shows up. At just the right time. Because it’s His time, not ours.

If you are standing in faith for something, and praying over it, waiting for something to happen, don’t give up. It’s not done in your time; it’s done in His.

That phone is going to ring, and when it does, and you answer, you’re going to get exactly what you need.

A Lesson of Faith

Hebrews 11:1 “Faith is being sure of what we hope for, and certain of what we do not see.”

She was diagnosed in 2013 with systemic scleroderma, an autoimmune disease which involves the skin, gastrointestinal tract (stomach and bowels), lungs, kidneys, heart, and other internal organs. It can also affect blood vessels, muscles, and joints. The tissues of the involved organs become hard and fibrous, causing them to function less efficiently. The term “systemic sclerosis” indicates that sclerosis (hardening) may occur in the internal systems of the body. This is not a pretty disease.

As the skin starts to harden it makes movement very difficult. A couple of times during the course of this disease she has been threatened with amputation of toes or even feet because of low circulation, which can cause deep ulcer-like sores, which would turn gangrenous and cause tissue death. But God has intervened. Her rheumatologist has put her on medication which is usually given to heart patients that “blows open” the blood vessels as much as possible, giving her extremities all the blood and oxygen her body can offer.

She still has both feet and all of her toes; both hands and all of her fingers.

One of her favorite hobbies is crocheting. She may have trouble some days holding the crochet hook, but that doesn’t stop her from picking up that hook and making something beautiful for her grandchildren, including the newest one that’s on the way.

She loves to cook. But right now her husband has to do the cooking because she can’t hold the pans or the utensils. She can’t bake because she can’t put the pans in the oven or take them out without dropping them. But one day again, she believes she will.

But this piece is not about her disease. It’s not about how long tumblr_m8xzyugI7N1rce0e2o1_r1_500she will live with this, because the Lord is the only one who knows that answer. It’s about faith. And I can honestly say I wish I had the amount of faith this woman and her husband have. During the entire course of this disease, neither one of them have lost their faith in what the Lord can do.

I’m sure they’ve both asked God, “Why me?” Or, “Why her?” I don’t know whether they’ve gotten any answers or not; if they have they haven’t shared them with us. Which is fine. That’s a very personal answer, and I don’t know whether I would share it or not either. They’ve prayed for a miracle. Their whole family continues to do so, and so do many others.

About six months ago she started having trouble eating. Her food was not digesting, in fact it seemed her stomach was shrinking so that she couldn’t eat very much at each meal. She started having to eat six or seven very small meals each day in order to get nourishment. It became increasingly harder for her to eat, and she wasn’t getting the proper nutrition she needed to fight this disease.

She consulted her doctors and discovered after a number of tests that all of her internal organs had rearranged themselves. Her stomach and intestines had migrated to her left upper body. Her esophagus had shortened. Her left lung had not been inflating properly because of the overcrowding, and as a result she was not able to do much of anything because of lack of oxygen. Her lower body cavity was basically empty. She was unable to eat normally, surviving on several very small meals each day. This condition is known as diaphragmatic hernia; more about this condition can be found on line. An emergency repair was needed to head off gangrene, necrosis, strangulation, the risk of stomach contents becoming toxic, and other major digestive issues.

They consulted a team of doctors who had actually successfully done this type of surgery before, and several times. However, with her systemic scleroderma, her odds of even surviving the surgery were only 20%. And the odds of recovering from it were about the same. No other scleroderma patient has been known to have this particular surgery before.

During the course of testing to see if she was a candidate for this surgery (because of the scleroderma) the doctors discovered that her blood vessels and major organs are now showing better function than they had even ten months earlier. It appeared that the disease may be in remission! Why? There’s no known medical reason, but we all know the reason. Prayer works!

As Calms the stormshe quoted when she wrote announced this, “He made the storm be still, and the waves of the sea were hushed.” Psalm 107:29

But back to the surgery, and the decision that had to be made. What would you have done? She and her husband prayed about it and with no hesitation called the doctors and scheduled the 10-12 hour procedure for the week before Christmas. As they both said, it’s in God’s hands, and He will keep His promises.

That’s faith. True faith. True trusting in the Lord, no matter what man says.

Shortly before the surgery, she wrote on her Facebook, “If it is my time to go, my family will need your support and prayers. It is well with my soul, so I will be dancing with the angels and worshiping my Father. I will have no more pain. My spirit is eternal so I will BE…. He is my God. Either way. No matter what, I will worship Him.”

The operation was long, but not the ten hours originally quoted. A little over eight hours, actually, which is still a long time to be under general anesthesia. Her husband was anxious of course, but he remained calm and relaxed as we sat in the surgical waiting room. Friends, family, and pastors came and went, keeping her husband company the whole time. We prayed; we laughed; we talked; we read magazines; we even discussed football and politics; and waited for news. Nurses came in off and on to give updates that all was going well. And we rejoiced.

Shortly before 11:00 that night we got the news. She was out of surgery and in ICU. The next day she was moved to a step down unit where she started using her new elongated esophagus to swallow ice chips, and over the next few days, other clear liquids and jello.

Three days before Christmas, just six days after the surgery that had offered only a 20% chance of survival, let alone recovery, her husband drove her back to their home to spend Christmas with their family. Her Christmas dinner was most likely to her, one of the best she’d ever had, even though it was only juice.

On New Year’s Eve she downed an entire package of instant cheese grits. While it may not sound wonderful to you or me, to her, it was an enormous step towards recovery.

Today she continues her miraculous recovery, and she and her family and friends thank the Lord every day for what He has done, and for what He continues to do.

This is faith. And it is the miracle of the Lord’s blessings upon this woman and her family.

After reading this, where is your faith? I only have to think of her when I am downcast, and be reminded of His faithfulness.

There Is A Door

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.” Matthew 7:7-8 (NIV)

I heard the Lord tell me one day, “I have a door that is getting ready to open. Be patient, for what is behind it is not quite ready. I want my gift to be perfect. When the gift is ready the door will open. And no man will be able to shut it. I have not forgotten you. And what I have prepared for you will amaze you!”

I must admit I’m waiting for something. An answer to a prayer I’ve been praying for quite some time. I know that verse very well. I’ve quoted it many times, and prayed it many times, both for myself and for others. But the door hasn’t opened yet. I know it will. I just don’t know when. And I don’t know how long I will have to hang on, and hold on, until it does.

And yes, I’m getting impatient. I’m to the point of wondering, “Lord, have you forgotten that promise to me?” Yes, I’ll admit I’ve sort of said that. Several times.

Then Sunday morning, what verse does our pastor preach about? Hebrews 6:10. “God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them.” (NIV) Four days later, what verse does a friend of mine quote on her Twitter feed? Hebrews 6:10. Obviously, the Lord is trying to tell me something.

He hasn’t forgotten me, and He won’t forget me. I have to remember that. I know His promises are true, and I know He always answers our prayers. Always. It’s just very difficult when we have to wait for our answers. We want them in our time frame; which is usually NOT His time frame. And even when He answers our prayers, sometimes we don’t like the answers we get; because sometimes the answer is “no” or “not now” or “I have something better”.

When I was growing up in the 50’s and 60’s there was a TV show called “Father Knows Best.” I’m sure most of you have seen it, even if it was as a rerun on an oldies station. The father was the undisputed head of the household, who always gave the best advice. You could count on his wisdom, because he knew best.

Just like our heavenly Father. He always knows best, even when we doubt Him, question Him, even argue with Him. Just like He knows we will do. But He has a reason. We may not know what that reason is, but in the end, it’s a good reason. Because He has a plan for us that is so much better than we can ever imagine.

I know a door is going to open, but I don’t know when. I don’t know how. And I don’t know what’s going to be behind it. It may be what I’ve asked for, or it may be something better. I won’t know until it opens.

Is there a door you’re waiting to have opened? Do you think the Lord has forgotten you? Take heart, because He hasn’t. He won’t. Our faith tells us that, and His word tells us that.

I know when that door is opened, the gift behind it will be amazing beyond anything I have asked for. And it will have been worth waiting for.