Therefore, my brothers, whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm thus in the Lord, my beloved. – Philippians 4:1
Tuesday, April 21, 2015
I don’t know what happened to me. Maybe it was being away from home for week. I was near the grandkids and saw them every night. That might have sharpened and accentuated the absence of my wife. I had a dream last night. I was somewhere, working, I think, and the phone rang. When I answered it, I heard Vickie talking. I said, “Hey, Boss, when did you wake up? You’ve been out of it for weeks, you know.” I don’t remember what she said, just the sound of her voice. I woke up because I had to go wherever she was.
That’s the way I was over the weekend, and I couldn’t put it into words. I felt like I need to be wherever she is because I need to take care of her. I’ve always done that. I know, consciously, she’s with the Lord, she is being taken care of, and all of her fears are gone. But taking care of her is my default mode. It’s automatic. That’s what I do. Through four decades that is what I have done. How can it be that I just stop?
You might ask what that has to do with the verse above. Sunday, especially, after church, I felt like I could not go on. Everybody has probably reached a point of mental, emotional, or physical exhaustion and had the thought that it was impossible to keep going. What do you do when you cannot “ … press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” as Paul says just a few verses prior? By the way, that verse, Philippians 3:14, is the one that is engraved on our headstone.
Sometimes all we can do is stand, and that is enough, so Milton’s sonnet concludes: They also serve who only stand and wait. Or, as the prophet Isaiah says (with added emphasis):
Even youths shall faint and be weary,
and young men shall fall exhausted;
but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength;
they shall mount up with wings like eagles;
they shall run and not be weary;
they shall walk and not faint.
And Paul again admonishes: Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore … (Ephesians 6:13-14).
Just because I can’t go forward, because I don’t know where to go or what to do, it doesn’t mean I should give up or quit or fall back. When I don’t know what else to do, I can stand, and I can wait. No matter how long it takes.