May 21

“Blessed is he that waiteth.” Daniel 12:12

It may seem an easy thing to wait, but it is one of the postures which a Christian soldier learns not without years of teaching. Marching and quick-marching are much easier to God’s warriors than standing still. There are hours of perplexity when the most willing spirit, anxiously desirous to serve the Lord, knows not what part to take. Then what shall it do? Vex itself by despair? Fly back in cowardice, turn to the right hand in fear, or rush forward in presumption?

No, but simply wait. Wait in prayer, however. Call upon God and spread the case before Him; tell Him your difficulty, and plead His promise of aid. Wait in faith. Express your unstaggering confidence in Him. Believe that if He keep you tarrying even till midnight, yet He will come at the right time; the vision shall come, and shall not tarry. (Streams in the Desert)

Waiting is hard, especially when you don’t understand what in heaven’s name is happening in your universe at any given moment. I stumbled upon a new way of expressing this foreign feeling: “As out of place as a kingfisher on the Interstate.” On leaving New Orleans International Airport and rounding up and onto Interstate 10 East toward the New Orleans business district, I spied a kingfisher sitting on a grey metal guardrail overlooking the highway below. I did a double take, and had I been able to do so without endangering myself, I would have snapped a photo of the unusual sighting with my cell phone. Questions jostled for consideration: Where were the fish? How far away was the water? Was he lost? Had she been confused by traffic, causing it to need to regroup and regain her wits about herself?

I sense a certain kinship with the ill-fitted urban kingfisher. I find myself feeling frequently out-of-place in the land of my birth. Not like when trying to pay my phone bill in Meru, Kenya, or meandering through a Hindu temple in Ahmedabad, India, where unfamiliar customs and language left me more than uneasy and wondering what a peaceable man like me was doing midst a scene of seeming chaos and conflict; but out-of-sync with the currents swirling about in this postmodern world.

Ironically, life down here is supposed to feel this way. The Bible terms us “pilgrims passing through,” transients in a culture gone mad. Believers are earthly vagabonds, cultural hobos. The moment we feel fully at home in this world is the instant we have forsaken our sacred destiny; a divinely orchestrated tension is intended. Christians are called to extend grace that beckons to the One beyond, without holding hands with that which disgraces the name and character of Christ. If you find yourself increasingly restless as you encounter a world you no longer understand, take heart. This is precisely as God intends. Do not wring your hands as one powerless to change the situation, or hang your head in despair. Advance with a sense of destiny. The more at odds you feel with this present age, the more suited you are for the age to come. (Excerpt from Ordinary Glory: Finding Grace in the Commonplace by Dane Fowlkes)

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