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When You Can't Buckle Up (published in The North Weld Herald 8/27/09)

posted Sep 7, 2013, 1:14 PM by Fccea Webmaster
Comedian Howie Mandel, who has hosted the TV show "Deal or no Deal", honed his skills early while operating an amusement park ride. "Make sure the orange safety harness over your left shoulder is securely fastened," he would warn riders. "We're going upside down in five seconds." This announcement would invariably be met with abject panic. "There was," he later explained, "NO orange safety harness!" Oh boy -- we don't like it when there is no safety harness, do we? We don't like it when there is nothing to catch us, nothing to buckle us in, when there are no answers. We don't like it.

For us, the call came nine years ago. It was Mom calling from Victorville, California, 70 miles from our home in Yorba Linda, to inform us that she had just watched my robust, strong, 83-year-old father slowly slump to the sidewalk as he was coming in with the morning paper -- a massive stroke. We joined Mom as quickly as we could, praying at the hospital that God would either allow Dad a full recovery or take him home to heaven. He was ready to go.

What the Lord chose, instead, was to take us, and particularly Mom, to His waiting room. God's waiting room -- the place where there are no "yes or no" answers, but only wait. The place where at first it's dark and dreary, where God seems far away and doubt creeps in. The place where there is no safety harness and where faith seems inadequate. And worst of all a place where there is no timetable. God's waiting room -- where none of us would choose to go. And when we see it coming, our response is, "Oh, no, Lord. Not that! I don't want to go there. It's scary there. It's dark and cold there. And you might leave me there longer than I can endure."

The Bible doesn't suggest that there are easy answers to life's hard situations, but it extols a good God who cares. Promises abound. For those who truly love God, "wait" never means, "you are forgotten"; it always means "I love you in an unfathomable way." The greatly oppressed Job says, "When He has tried me, I shall come out as gold" (Job 23:10). Only our own lack of submission can hinder God's intended good in our lives.

The Bible promises, "And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good" (Rom. 8:28). That is something to cling to when there is no safety harness in sight. For my parents it was six long years of severe disability for Dad and constant caretaker duty for Mom. But their faith, though tried, remained constant; their joy remained full; and they had a powerful impact on many lives.

They lived the truth of Isaiah 40:31: "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." That verse is not given in isolation. It is the culmination of a chapter where God is variously presented as bigger than all of physical creation, any counselor, any political entity, any competing god, any other caretaker, and any other circumstance. He is supreme -- and He is ours!

Oswald Chambers, author of the classic daily devotional My Utmost For His Highest, says it this way, "We have an idea that God is leading us to a particular end, a desired goal; He is not. . . . His end is the process -- that I see Him walking on the waves, no shore in sight, no success, no goal, just the absolute certainty that it is all right because I see Him walking on the sea." God's waiting room; no safety harness only HIM!

In His time, in His time,
He makes all things beautiful in His time.
Lord, my life to You I bring,
May each song I have to sing,
Be to You a lovely thing, in Your time.

By His Grace, Pastor Dave