Friday, March 12, 2010

Waiting, Trusting and Hoping

I’ve purchased seven of these books now, but this is the first one that I’ve actually kept. It seemed that someone else needed my copy more than I did. I had first heard about the book on my way to work almost two years ago…a DJ on a Christian radio station shared a short entry from the devotional and it really touched me. Paula and I had talked about reading the same daily devotional when we were married…but it just never happened. So, I thought now might be a good time to start doing it. I went on-line to Amazon and purchased two copies.

I sent one to Paula and she fell in love with it immediately. I didn’t tell her at the time that I bought one for myself as well. I thought it might bring back too many painful memories of things we never got to do when we were married. A short time later, my pastor’s wife was going through a difficult time so I gave her my devotional because I thought it might lift her spirits and speak to her heart. It did.

So it was back to Amazon to order another copy. While I was waiting for it to arrive, during one of my phone conversations with Paula, she shared how much her best friend loved the devotional I had sent her. So I sent her my copy as soon as it arrived. I ordered two the next time…just in case. As you can probably guess already, they too ended up getting sent back out. One to our daughter and another given to my sister-in-law.

I thought I would be safe to order only one more so it was back on-line to Amazon and finally my own copy arrived. Or so I thought. Paula told me shortly before Christmas that she had given her copy to a young man who worked at the resort where she was previously employed. I could hear the loss in her voice as she talked about the wrestling match she had with God to give her cherished book away…but she did. I knew that I had no choice. I rewrapped my copy and sent it to Paula.

A month ago, I ordered another copy. For now, this one is on my little shelf beside my bed and each morning, I diligently reach for it and read the devotion for the day. It’s a very special book. I’ve read from a lot of devotionals over the years, but this one is different. It seems that no matter who is reading it…it speaks directly to the need they have on that day – or that week. That’s what it did for me this morning.

Today was a day that I have NOT been looking forward to all week. It was my semi-annual polygraph. While it seems foolish that I would worry about this little “lie detector test”, I find myself getting anxious every time I know I have one. I know the reason why…even though it’s not rational. The results could send me back to prison even if they are wrong. I’ve learned that the polygraph will sometimes give a false reading because you start to second guess your answers. I have a friend who failed his polygraph by telling the truth…but then wondering if his definition of a term might be different from some else’s. As he mind worked over the issue in his mind, the needle on the polygraph went crazy and he failed the test.

And therein lies my problem. I don’t trust the test. In the back of my mind I understand that even by telling the truth the machine can decide that I’m being deceitful. All week long, everything seems to roll around in my head…wondering if there was something I may have omitted telling my therapy group. Or perhaps an incidental that I just forgot about. Maybe my interpretation of a rule is different from someone else. And the more I think about it, the more anxious I become. And the more anxious I become, the less I trust the test. It’s an endless circle that nearly paralyzes me when I walk into the room and have the straps wrapped around my chest. The clips are attached to the end of my fingers and the blood pressure cuff pumped up around my arm…nearly cutting off the blood supply. So I sit there – hearing my heart pounding in my head. Trying to breathe through my nose and feeling out of breath. Worrying that my labored breathing is sending a signal to the machine that holds my future in my hand.

And then I remember my devotional from this morning:

“WAITING, TRUSTING AND HOPING are intricately connected, like golden strands interwoven to form a strong chain. Trusting is the central strand, because it is the response from My children that I desire the most. Waiting and hoping embellish the central strand and strengthen the chain that connects you to Me. Waiting for Me to work, with your eyes on Me, is evidence that you really do trust Me. If you mouth the words “I trust You” while anxiously trying to make things go your way, your words ring hollow. Hoping is future-directed, connecting you to your inheritance in heaven. However, the benefits of hope fall fully on you in the present.”

From "Jesus Calling" by Sarah Young

The words remind me that there is truly only One that I need to trust…and He is always with me. No matter what, He is in control and I know that He loves me. With that in mind, the outcome of the test seems less important. My breathing becomes more relaxed. The rushing waves of my heartbeat begin to recede in my brain. The multiple thoughts colliding in my mind begin to diminish.

Like so many others who read daily from this little devotional, God sent me the message that I needed today. And I can trust the He will continue to do so each day in the future…and especially on those days that it seems my entire future rests on it.
Book Cover from Amazon
Photo from Flickr

1 comment:

Deb Shucka said...

I love this post and the two stories it tells. The book story is clear evidence of your generosity and your connection to God and your obedience. The entire focus of your life now. The poly story is about your past life still sticking to you like the glue on price tags that refuses to come off. And then the intersection - God's voice in this book you've finally needed to keep (for a while anyway) helping you walk through the darkness and indignity of the test.

There's a lot to be said (and perhaps written) about the horrible power of overthinking and the damage that can inflict in lives.

I love you.