I am eating poached eggs on the sofa. The house is so quiet I can hear the kitchen clock (time is passing) and a bird singing outside (even in the rain?). My husband is at church this evening, my children, praise the Lord, are sleeping. In the silence the questions that were hiding underneath the commotion of the day emerge. I sit holding them and they are like bowling balls in my arms. What are we going to do? Where are we going to go? HOW are our needs going to be met? Time is ticking, we can’t wait anymore. We need to know. They are slipping around, pressing on me lately whenever I hold still. And sometimes I pick them up and carry them with me when I vacuum or chop onions or bathe the children. This is foolish of me: carrying them makes every task harder.
We are in a time of great uncertainty. We celebrate nine years of marriage on Wednesday and this is the most stretching time we’ve faced yet. For nine years it has always seemed clear in advance what step to take next. For nine years God has always provided exactly what we needed in good time and thus we’ve continued on rejoicing. I can’t even tell you all the ways and means he’s been there for us. He has provided scholarships, places to live, churches and community, opportunities, jobs, money, and direction. With that history I am embarrassed to tell you how difficult it is for me to trust–and wait–right now.
Then I saw myself in the Bible. In the early hours I read about Paul’s perseverance in adversity in Acts 14 but that’s not where I was. At my mums’ Bible study midday we read about faith in Hebrews 10 and 11 but I wasn’t there either. I found myself tonight. I was standing in the ranks of the “stubborn children” of Israel in Isaiah 30. The mighty army of Assyria is coming and the people of Israel turn to Egypt for help instead of to their God! They do not trust him to come through for them. And they don’t have time to wait for him. They of all people should know where to turn, should they not?
‘For thus said the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel,
“In returning and rest you shall be saved;
in quietness and in trust shall be your strength.”
But you were unwilling, and you said,
“No! We will flee upon horses”;
therefore you shall flee away;
and, “We will ride upon swift steeds”;
therefore your pursuers shall be swift.
A thousand shall flee at the threat of one;
at the threat of five you shall flee,
till you are left
like a flagstaff on the top of a mountain,
like a signal on a hill.
Therefore the Lord waits to be gracious to you,
and therefore he exalts himself to show mercy to you.
For the Lord is a God of justice;
blessed are all those who wait for him. . . ‘
So often the actions of the Old Testament people of God show me the inclination of my own heart. But I want to trust in God–the gracious God–of the universe.
‘Some trust in chariots and some in horses but we trust in the name of the LORD our God.’ –Psalm 20:7