By Holly Culhane
Waiting. It seems like I’ve done a lot of that over the past 38 years. In hospitals, in emergency rooms, in cardiac care units, in surgery centers… It is always such a hard place to be.
As I’m writing this, I’m sitting in the general waiting area of a large hospital. My husband was just taken back to be prepped for an angiogram. I’ve lost count of how many of these procedures he’s had since December 12, 1984, the day of his first heart attack — at the age of 30. Numerous angioplasties, stints, a quintuple bypass… They are all noted next to the “List surgeries and procedures” line on the required medical forms.
Initially, the surprise of medical personnel was fairly entertaining. They usually thought they heard us incorrectly or mistakenly read the form. Reading glasses pop out of a pocket and onto the bridge of a nose. Attention peaks. I mean, a guy that looks healthy and in pretty good shape doesn’t have problems like that, right? Then, they ask for the details. And we would offer a now-entertaining story of being on our honeymoon skiing in Mammoth when he realized something was wrong. We had no idea how terribly wrong the something really was. An ambulance ride, a small aircraft flight with a pilot, a paramedic, and a cardiologist, another ambulance ride, and an angiogram later, we found out.
That was nearly 39 years ago.
Medical teams are not as surprised as they used to be. In fact, this morning, they had much more of a “this is routine” sort-of look on their faces. A man just half a year from 70 walked into the Cardiac Support Unit. A typical Monday morning for them.
But it’s not for me.
Waiting – the action of staying where one is, or delaying action until a particular time or until something else happens. It’s one of the hardest places we can be as humans. Sometimes it’s several hours, often the wait can be weeks or months, and, in many cases, it can be years.
Waiting for the prodigal to come home. Waiting for healing. Waiting to join a loved one in Heaven. Waiting for a full-term healthy pregnancy. Waiting for events and circumstances that are far more difficult than a simple medical procedure.
Wait patiently for the Lord. Be brave and courageous. Yes, wait patiently for the Lord.
Throughout the Psalms, we’re encouraged to wait expectantly for the Lord, hopefully, eagerly, excitedly. To firmly place our confidence in the one true God of the universe.
Because He will answer.
Because we can trust Him.
Because He is our Shepherd.
Because the True Shepherd never leaves the flock.
And, lest we forget, waiting requires bravery. Courage is a must. I’m glad that David acknowledges that and grateful that our Good Shepherd provides all we need to endure the time, who protects us fully in the moments of difficulty, and who showers His presence upon us when it’s the hardest to take the next step. It is in those moments that He is working in us and, sometimes, through us, to develop His sheep into who He wants us to be to accomplish the work He prepared for us in advance to do.
The nurse just called my name. The first step in today’s waiting game is over.
Shepherd well, dear friends…