Sunday, September 14, 2008

The Worry of Waiting

Recently Patty and I have been watching JAG. You remember the mid 90’s series about the Navy’s Judge Advocate General corp. (Lawyers.) The show is great and is almost exclusively about the Navy and Marine Corp. We have also been waiting for God’s move. The church in SC has rescheduled a date for us to preach in view of a call. A church in Roswell has made contact. A local church, what a novel concept. Except that they are looking for bi-vocational. So we continue to wait.

These two merged together this afternoon. My family is a Navy family. Three of my uncles served in WWII, my great grandfather was Navy, and my dad and another uncle were in the Navy in peacetime. I was in the Navy. We are a Navy family. Watching JAG reminded me of something my dad told me about that happened to him. (Actually, I think I remembered it because Mark Richt, the UGA head coach, jumped from a 30’ platform backward to prove a point to the team.)

Anyway, when dad was in training—he was an Aviation Ordinanceman— he had to go through flight survival school. Flight survival school in the Navy means water landings. Unless you are in a plane designed to land in the water, a water landing is a crash landing with the possibility of drowning and sharks. They strap you into a cockpit seat on a track, slam it into a pool, where it, by design, flips upside down and sinks. You have a set time to unstrap, open the hatch, and swim to the surface. Between the adrenaline, the disorientation, and the impact from hitting the water, over half of the first timers swim toward the bottom of the pool!

The trick is to wait. After unstrapping and unlocking…wait. If you wait, two things happen. One, the flight jacket will begin to pull you toward the surface. Second, by gaining your orientation, you will notice that the bubbles from the wreckage are floating toward the surface. Follow the bubbles upward.

When the forces of this world slam us, when our life crash lands, and that crash is not even the worst part, when we start to drown, when we become disoriented, and when the sharks are lurking, we panic. We get impatient. We accuse God. We kick and we flail.

But David says that the trick is to wait. In Psalm 27 David says, “Wait on the LORD, be of good courage and He shall strengthen your heart; Wait, I say, on the LORD.” (Psalm 27:11;14) When we wait on the Lord, we regain our buoyancy. We get our sea legs back. Then, like the flight jacket, the tug of God will begin to lift our beleaguered souls back to the surface, toward His love. When we wait, we can observe the bubbles of the Holy Spirit’s presence, and follow His lead back to safety. When we wait.



Tuesday, September 2, 2008


It figures! The search committee from Beaver Dam has asked that we put the trial sermon on hold. Someone there spoke with the Graves County Baptist Association and the Landmark thing has raised it ugly head. The problem with this is that we were emotionally invested at this point. You kind of phsyc yourself up once you are asked to preach “in view of a call.” We were planning dates when we might move, Patty had told her principal, and now everything has just come to a screeching halt. And unexpectedly came to a halt at that.

So we spent Labor Day weekend coming to grips. I emailed Jim Phillips, my most trusted counselor to seek advice. Prayed even more earnestly. And sought the face of God.

My conclusions come, as always, through the Word. May I give you my take on the 23rd Psalm?

God is my protector. He gives me everything that I need

When I am stressed, God gives me rest and peace in His hiding places.

This leads to a spiritual refreshment that gives me strength for the fights ahead. He has provided a path for me, so that, by walking this path, I may not mar the great name of my God

And even though I may face uncertainty, terrible times, and incredible stress, I know that these are small things when compared to the big picture. I do not have to be afraid, because the Lord is always with me. His discipline and His loving protection are always there.

I am able to find peace, even in the mist of turmoil. To remain calm, even in the most stressful of situations. Because You, God, are my protector. You God, are my provider, and my provision is abundant.

In the over arching scheme of things, I know that I am on the side of right, and that I am secure in the Lord for all of my life. And even though time are tough on this side of eternity, I know, that I know, that I know, that there is a place in the House of God, where I will spend my eternity, blissfully serving the Lord of lords, and the King of kings.

So we go back to the drawing board and start the process over. I keep telling myself that all good things are worth waiting for. I hope that axiom proves true.