Tents

My family has been living in tents the past few weeks.

There were tents pitched in operating rooms and procedure rooms.  There were tents pitched in hospital waiting rooms and cars and medical transport vehicles.

My Dad had a stroke on October 8.  He’s in an excellent rehabilitation hospital now and improving every day.  We’re looking back at how God was in all of the details and how He protected and provided.  On Sunday, our whole family was together with my Dad in the rotunda of the rehab facility, and he opened his Bible and read this verse:

“And He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness’. Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” (2 Corinthians 12:9)

The Greek word for “rest upon” literally means “to pitch a tent over”. 

We had the power of God pitched over us in all of the uncertainties, in all of the worry, in all of the desperate situations.  In our weaknesses, He covered us with His strength.

I remember lying in a small tent we had when I was a child, looking up to see the sunlight coming through the tan canvas.  And today I can sense  the same sunlight of hope and strength and God’s presence coming through the tent He has pitched over us.

We didn’t expect to need these tents, but I sure am glad they are there.

And there will be a tabernacle for shade in the daytime from the heat,  for a place of refuge, and for a shelter from storm and rain.  Isaiah 4:6

 …for the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you.  1 Peter 4:14

He shall cover you with His feathers, and under His wings you shall take refuge… Psalm 91:4

He gives power to the weak, and to those who have no might He increases strength. Isaiah 40:29

 

Rock

It’s been a tough week.  And we’re only few days into it.

My father is in a hospital in Philadelphia, and I’m 1200 miles away in West Palm Beach.  And it’s hard.  And I feel helpless and a little scared.  He’s showing signs of improvement, and I’ll be there in 2 days, but it’s still…hard.

Life is hard.  It always will be.  So I take a deep breath, and look for the promises I know are true.

“The Lord is my rock, and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my strength, in Whom I will trust; my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.”            (Psalm 18:2)

Rock

Fortress

Deliverer

Strength

Shield

Horn

Stronghold

Those are powerful words. Words that remind me where to turn when I don’t feel so powerful, when I’m feeling helpless, when things start to feel a little shaky.

The Lord is my rock and my fortress.  What better place is there to be?

He only is my rock and my salvation; He is my defense; I shall not be greatly moved.  Psalm 62:2

I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress; My God, in Him will I trust”.  Psalm 91:2

The name of the Lord is a strong tower.  The righteous run into it and are safe.  Proverbs 18:10

Blessed be the Lord, my Rock, who trains my hands for the war and my fingers for the battle – my lovingkindness and my fortress, my high tower and my deliverer, my shield and the One in whom I take refuge.  Psalm 144:1-2

 

Embarrassed

“Indeed let no one who waits on You be embarrassed that they have done so”.  (Psalm 25:3, Virkler translation)

The more common (and scholarly) versions of that verse say, “Indeed let no one who waits on You be ashamed”.  I figured if I titled this post “Ashamed”, you’d think I was about to confess some awful transgression. Although “Embarrassed” probably got you interested, too.

But I didn’t just make up my translation.  That’s what “ashamed” means in the original Hebrew. It’s used to express that sense of confusion, embarrassment and dismay when matters turn out contrary to one’s expectations or defeat at the hands of an enemy.  (Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament)

Honestly now, have you ever felt embarrassed or confused when you trusted God for something and it didn’t happen?  Have you felt defeated at the hands of the enemy who is always ready to taunt us about what appear to be prayer and trust failures?

I wonder what David was thinking.  Was he challenging God, saying “OK, I’ll trust You.  You better come through and not leave me hanging out there on this limb of faith”.  Or was he saying, “I am trusting You to work this out and I’m not going to give in to defeat.  Let me see You at work in the results, whether they are what I planned or not”.

I’ve been there.  I know what it’s like to trust God for something and then wait.  And wait.  And wait.  And sometimes I really do sense the enemy sneering at me from the shadows, whispering his lies about God’s failure to “come through”. 

And that’s when I have to remember that waiting God’s way comes with promises.  There’s no place for embarrassment, confusion or dismay.  God has a reason for our wait.  When Satan is laughing at my faith and my trust, all I need to do is turn to him and say, “You thought I’d falter, but I know my God has a plan and it’s good and nothing you can say will change that”. 

Now let’s see who is going to be embarrassed, Satan.

Wait on the LORD, and keep His way, and He shall exalt you to inherit the land; When the wicked are cut off, you shall see it. Psalm 37:34

And it will be said in that day: “Behold, this is our God; We have waited for Him, and He will save us. This is the LORD; We have waited for Him; We will be glad and rejoice in His salvation.” Isaiah 25:9

The LORD is good to those who wait for Him, to the soul who seeks Him. Lamentations 3:25

I waited patiently for the LORD and He inclined to me, and heard my cry.          Psalm 40:1