I’ve spent my day loving on my wife, appreciating gifted surgeons & nurses & anesthesiologists, & waiting… a good bit of waiting. I’ve waited until it was time to take my sweet wife to her appointment. I waited with Grace before she was taken back for surgery. I’ve waited for a few hours while surgeons removed a tumor from her thyroid. And now I’m waiting in a recovery room (I have stayed in far worse hotels. This place isn’t too shabby) as Grace sleeps, recovers, & gets her sea legs back.
And waiting is hard. But it is not harder than recovery. While I blog, play online poker, reads articles, a book, & watch TV, Grace rests following neck surgery, enduring pain & a cocktail of anesthesia, pain medicine, & body stress. I may be under stress, but by comparison, I’m doing just fine. Terrific friends have called me, but Grace could barely muster the strength to talk to our son, my mom, & then her mom. I had dinner brought to me by caring people. Grace had to stop eating soup because it hurt going down. My reclining chair is uncomfortable. Grace has a fresh wound, gets nauseous if she gets up, & has machines attached to her as she lays on a plastic bed.
How many times have I heard parents, colleagues, friends, church members, & even strangers express their hurt & concern for their lost or struggling loved ones? And that hurt is real & right. But I do feel that we sometimes lose a bit of focus when we discuss hurt & how to pray for that suffering. It may hurt to watch someone we care about hurt in such complicated & depressing ways, but that kind of hurt that we see people go through is & always has been harder than our watching of it.
I’m reminded of a dear friend that has watched a number of hardships separate her children from God, freedom, family, & even their own children. And what always struck me was her positivity. She would weep for her sons & daughters, hurt for her grandchildren, & lament any & every possible area that she could have ‘done more’ as a mom or spiritually as a daughter of God. But she never lost focus or perspective. It may be hard to see someone suffer, but the lost & suffering have it much worse. She continues to maintain that perspective & she continues to amaze me that way.
What if I spent more time concerned & focused on people’s hurts, wounds, & suffering instead of focusing on how those things impacted me? When an employee called out for an emergency, did I care more that they were suffering or that I had to stay late? When someone I didn’t know was in a bad accident, was my prayer for their safety or for the traffic that irks me so badly? The examples & instances are endless. But most importantly, when I pray for someone that I know is foreign to or far from God, am I mindful of the suffering that they are presently in? To be apart from God means that created is detached from Creator. And following God’s Will, which always works out to ultimate good for believers, is impossible for the lost. So what really matters most, my feelings & stress or the present reality of anyone & everyone who lives apart from God?
I’m sitting here waiting. I’m waiting on Grace to feel better, a chance to doze off before work tomorrow morning, to hear from God more clearly, follow God more accurately, & ultimately, I’m waiting to go home to be with God. And tonight, someone is recovering from years of suffering & hurt. They can’t stand on their own, haven’t heard from God in a long time, & have vices & ugliness that still need to be warred against. And still, there’s someone walking oblivious to their need for some major soul surgery. They don’t need recovery. They need salvation.
So waiting isn’t great. But it is godly. And Grace will wake up, she will recover, & she’ll be the terrific mom & wife that she’s always been. I can wait for that & think a little less about how that impacts me.
Who are you waiting on tonight? Who is recovering? Who is truly suffering? Who is lost? I’d rather be waiting… & be found praying.