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Janie B. Cheaney - Waiting on the Lord

WORLD Radio - Janie B. Cheaney - Waiting on the Lord

It’s not the passive virtue most people think it is


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NICK EICHER, HOST: Today is Wednesday, September 8th. Good morning! This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Nick Eicher.

MARY REICHARD, HOST: And I’m Mary Reichard. Here’s WORLD commentator Janie B. Cheaney on living life in wait.

JANIE B. CHEANEY, COMMENTATOR: “They who wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up on wings as eagles.” We love this verse from Isaiah 40, probably because we’ve all experienced it.

Think about those in-between times, when the prep is done and the will is supercharged—and you find yourself sitting on the tarmac in a stalled plane. The time that was packed with plans is suddenly limp and futile. You can’t step back, but can’t yet go forward.

Years ago, we found our dream house in a dream location. On Friday we put up earnest money. The next Monday my husband learned that his office was closing in a few months, his job terminated. I had longed for years to be nearer my family, and I loved the house. But that comfortable future was suddenly wiped out, and all I could do was wait for another future to take shape.

Waiting on the Lord is mostly seen as a passive virtue, an opportunity to practice patience. We can’t make vacation come any quicker or speed up the rehab or create wrinkles in time with the tesseract. We can’t close our eyes and wake up at the end of a long recovery and learn that everything fell out like it was supposed to. So we wait. If we have faith, we trust the Lord to work all things together for good. Because there’s nothing else we can do.

But here’s another waiting verse, in Isaiah 30:18: “Therefore the Lord waits to be gracious to you . . . For the Lord is a God of justice and blessed are all those who wait for him.” The Lord also waits. But not like us, not merely observing from His sovereign throne. When the Lord “waits,” there’s something going on. And a lot of it is going on with us.

As many listeners know, my husband was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease three years ago. Nothing can be done about it. Though healthy in body and generally cheerful, he’s losing words by the bucketful and often can’t string a sentence together. I sometimes imagine his warm flesh shrinking to bone and his heartbeat failing. His brain is slowly shutting down. Not to be morbid, but sometimes it feels like a death watch. The kind that all of us are on, but this one has an expiration date: sometime around 2025.

I have choices, though, and God is waiting to be gracious to me. When work overwhelms me, I can remember that He is working in all things. When the days seem endless, I can meditate on Christ the Omega. Though my hands are tied as to circumstances, I can still open them.

That’s waiting with the Lord, not just upon him, and it’s anything but passive.

I’m Janie B. Cheaney.


WORLD Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of WORLD Radio programming is the audio record.

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Gary Perilloux

A wonderful, inspiring perspective: For those we love who succumb to dementia, the disease robs them of entire lifetimes of memories, but the impulse to laugh, cry, rejoice and hope never dies. That's something we can keep alive every day.