Yesterday, my wife Maricel sent me a picture of my 5-year old daughter counting the days until I came back home. I left a page of 8 illustrations representing what I anticipated would be highlights of each day I was out with a box in each one of them for her to “check” until all the boxes were marked signaling my return. Maricel captioned the picture as Solana checks the 7th box: “She’s excited!” That warmed my heart, and honestly, got me excited too, perhaps more than she was.
But it wasn’t always exciting for her, these past days I wasn’t home. For a 5-year old, days waiting can feel like forever! Especially when the “busyness” of my trip kept me from daily assuring her I’d be back soon. Thank God for Maricel and the kids who more than filled the gap, assuring her she would not only survive the waiting but she could enjoy it without dad, and even add joy to many others.
As I reflect upon my scripture-based devotion on my flight back, I see parallelisms to the experience of sisters Mary and Martha as they awaited Jesus’s arrival having sent word of Lazarus’ serious condition. It must’ve been excruciating to wait! And I have no words to imagine how they must’ve felt when their brother died without their beloved “Savior” bringing healing to one He particularly loved.
But Jesus purposely stayed away until all hope was gone! Because, as Oswald Chambers puts it in today’s reading, “He saw that they could withstand a greater revelation.” He wanted them to witness a more powerful miracle and a greater blessing: Lazarus’ resurrection! And this wasn’t only for them; it was for all for in the community He cared for as well.
I can be impatient. Not only for what I have set as worthwhile goals for friends and family, but for the change I still believe should happen to our country. While I see certain gains in political will, I am disturbed with the drug-related killings and grieved for the families of the innocent, even the guilty who may not have been given due process, or a chance to reform. I plead to the heavens to move the president – because I believe it is only His Spirit that can transform any man molded in his ways – to mind the power of his words said (and unsaid), and to continually seek wisdom and help from anointed men and women to truly lead and transform this country and its people. I pray because if I have changed in any significant way the past 5 decades, I realize, it is because of people who prayed for me and who believed “that prayer moves the Hand that moves the world.” One lesson I discovered in recent years that escaped me for so long about leadership (and I credit this to one of my mentors, Dr. John Maxwell)? Followers have no idea how much influence they have, not only to demand, but to inspire – and to equip – their leaders towards good change. If they choose to.
Clearly, my prayer does not only cover the president and our leaders. It moves me more to “keep the faith” and to do what I can, with what I have, here and now. I believe my Father has a plan, and as I watch it unfold, I should do what I can to live “my best life now” and to add value where I am. I will maximize my skills. I will not create more enemies. I will respect the unique paths others have taken in which to engage with government and society (and I struggle with this!), no matter how different from mine. I will seek ways to get my message across to the president that even as he remains passionate doing what has helped him in the past, it will benefit all if he is open to new and better ways to shape this country for a brighter future. We can preserve some ways of past doing, without compromising our country’s future being! I will also be the first (and I am working on this) to shut my own mouth when it’s best to do so. I will be sensitive to others as it is a difficult and even painful time for many among our people. As for those I clearly see with self-centered (or downright “evil”) agendas, I am ready to expose and fight if need be, but in the end I entrust them to the Lord who has delivered me and His people, time and again, from the forces of darkness.
I am coming home to Solana soon, imperfect dad that I am, and I am giving her presents and my presence to secure because I love her. And though I have lost and miss my earthly father dearly, I stubbornly hold on and declare, with whatever faith I still have, that my heavenly Father will come too, in His time and in His way, and it will be glorious for us all.
According to my faith, be it unto me, my family, and my country.