It has been extremely difficult to get the flow going these past two weeks as I’ve attempted to write. Thus, there was no post a week ago and this is now Monday morning. All I could do was wait.
Two weeks ago I returned to work after these past ten months of breast cancer treatment. As I look back over the past year it is hard to believe so much has occurred in a relatively short span of time. On the other hand, I know I got from ‘there’ to ‘here’ one 24-hour day at a time and it didn’t feel so spiffy quick walking it out.
With a theme like Desert Days, one cannot help but think of the Israelites – again. I grabbed my calculator and figured out what 40 years of wandering in the wilderness came out to in days. 14,600. That’s right; a lot. Start counting off them babies one day at a time and it gives new meaning to the word ‘wait.’ I swear – it’s one of life’s four-letter words. Yet, life is comprised more of waiting than of moving and shaking if one is waiting for the Lord Himself to lead the way.
Unless the cloud of the Lord moved any given morning, month, or year, God’s Israeli campers remained right where their tents were pitched. When the cloud moved, they were to move. How’s that for planning? The laundry’s hanging out to dry; you just got the fire going for dinner; the baby just went down for a nap; the lots being cast for the next camel race finally fell to you…and the watchman hollers out, “Hey! The cloud moved! Rip ‘er up! Time to make like a donkey and pack!”
About that time, you’re not sure whose neck you want to wring. The watchman’s or your own. You didn’t see it coming. How could you know what God Almighty had up His sleeve? You were living life just fine, thank you very much. If one must live in the desert, acclimate.
Ah, but that was the downfall of the children of Israel. Out of millions, only a handful fully understood they were just passing through. Becoming acclimatized would either kill them or leave them living robbed of the promises God Himself had declared to them.
Joshua and Caleb had the watchman’s mentality. They guarded, protected, and hedged about the precious promise of fulfilled abundance and taking possession of God’s gift of the land. Land that did not resemble the desert. Fertile plains, rich farmland for planting and reaping, forested hill country, and valleys made lush by streams of life-giving water flowing through.
On a scale of one to ten, how are you faring in waiting as a watchman? One being, “What cloud??” to ten being as David scribed in Psalm 130:
“I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his word I put my hope. My soul waits for the Lord more than watchmen wait for the morning, more than watchmen wait for the morning.” NIV
One thing I can unequivocally state about my past year of watching and waiting – some things still have not come to pass, but I am one year closer in God’s timing than I was before this journey started! The waiting has at times not been easy or pleasant. However, far more important than the waiting is the watching.
This is where faith in all its substance comes in. Are you carrying as a precious parcel within you the evidence, though not yet seen, of those hoped-for things that God has planted deep in the soil of your heart? Or have you set your parcel aside because someone told you that in order to survive you must become one with your surroundings?
Joshua, Caleb, Esther, David – all blessed examples of watchmen waiting for the morning. Sentries on guard, protecting the things of value so that no one take their crown. They were common people set apart for uncommon leadership. And what set them apart was their willingness to be watchmen, waiting on God and putting all their hope in His word.
They were on alert in the midst of the mundane. So too may we be alert, refreshing ourselves daily with God’s word of promise to us. Seeing in the Spirit that which is not yet seen in the natural, and some days that requires not looking at what is seen around us. It calls for developing eyes of faith.
And that, my friends, is called trust. The attribute of the watchman, never letting down his or her guard or lowering their eyes, but waiting at their post, steady and assured that the cloud will one day move.
As a watchman waits,
Scripture references: Psalms 130:5-6; Hebrews 11:1; Revelation 3:11