February 21

“Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for him.” Psalm 37:7

Have you prayed and prayed and waited and waited, and still there is no manifestation? Are you tired of seeing nothing move? Are you just at the point of giving it all up? Perhaps you have not waited in the right way? This would take you out of the right place, the place where He can meet you.

“With patience wait.” Romans 8:25

Patience takes away worry. He said He would come, and His promise is equal to His presence. Patience takes away your weeping. Why feel sad and despondent? He knows your need better than you do, and His purpose in waiting is to bring more glory out of it all. Patience takes away self-works. The work He desires is that you “believe” (John 6:29) and when you believe, you may then know that all is well. Patience takes away all want. Your desire for the thing you wish is perhaps stronger than your desire for the will of God to be fulfilled in its arrival. (Streams in the Desert)

The problem with birthdays is that eventually they become a mixed blessing. Actually, they have been all along, we just didn’t recognize it. I remember when I approached the annual rite of passage with great anticipation, chiefly because my parents made birthdays memorable. One year they took me to appear on Captain Candy Cane’s broadcast on a local television station. I’m not sure which made the deeper impression—Captain Candy Cane in his pink and white pinstriped sport-coat and straw hat, or the snow that fell in Port Arthur that day. Another birthday they arranged for me to be with Cowboy John for his TV program. Kids in Southeast Texas and Southwest Louisiana crowded around their TV sets six days a week to catch a small, Port Arthur-based, NBC-affiliate TV station with the call letters KPAC. Children tuned in to watch the antics of station weatherman John Garner as he portrayed Cowboy John. Being with a real life Lone Ranger as one of the small group of children constituting a live studio was quite a gift for this young cowboy-wanna-be. Perhaps my favorite birthday memory is of my father building a wooden backboard with orange metal goal and installing it over the garage so that my friends and I could play basketball in our driveway. I spent much of my youth pounding away at that simple target.

What morphs birthdays along the way is they become a stark reminder life is fragile. Whether I want to admit it or not, I am not the man I used to be; aging introduces limitations. The good news is that with each passing year we increasingly join the rest of creation groaning for the consummation of this age. The world is snowballing to a climax in which Almighty God says, “Enough is enough;” in that moment we will pass from this fragile temporary existence onto sturdy eternity with Christ. The longer I have to understand myself, the less I like what I uncover. Praise God one day in the not-too-distant future, we will be changed to resemble our Lord in a way we can only dream about for the time being. Birthdays are a countdown to eternity.

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