Last night I watched a movie on TBN called Peter and Paul, Anthony Hopkins as Paul and I can't remember the guy who played Peter. It was a pretty ordinary movie, no Oscar or Emmy moments, no chills up your back miracles. At first I was a bit annoyed at how sort of commonplace much of it was. Paul was tempermental and prone to yelling. Peter was indecisive. James was afraid to expose the church to persecution.
All these amazing folks we idolize as wise and strong and temperate. Reasonable, focused, determined to spread the Gospel no matter what. Filled with glory and fire, they leave the place where Jesus ascended and went immediately far and wide...NOT!
In this movie they were just ordinary men and women. Frightened, frustrated, distracted- just like me. And yet, the Word was spread. Somebody went, somebody shared. Somebody was frightened, sick, hungry and still kept trying to tell the Story. Illness, shipwreck, flogging, imprisonment. The mental picture painted from the pulpit or in Sunday School Bible stories is of joyful singing in the chains, shining face to heaven as the whip falls. No concept of pain and fear is generally grasped even if it is expressed. The loneliness and abandonment by friends is only a footnote followed by reassurances of the Lord's grace and mercy. Skipping quickly over the humanity of these ordinary people.
After all, these are The Apostles, always said with capital letters. Sure, they messed up a little right at the beginning, but after that they were perfect. It is easy to turn these men and women into super beings who knew no fear, no hurt, no lack. And that is b.s. They were just like me, just like you. They were ordinary people.The thing is, as they went, they were changed. As they pressed in to obey, to understand, they were changed. And at the end, they knew.
I struggle. There are all these things going on around me in the lives of people who are more dear to me than life. Things that I cannot change with all of my skills. And believe me, I have skills! If anyone could fix things, it'd be me. I have been trained by the men and women I love who have come from a long line of wound-healers, soup-makers and crisis-managers. My heroes have always been the men and women who laid down their lives. The ones who endured beyond endurance and triumphed. Broke barriers, pioneered movements, defeated evil, and changed lives. What the hell was I thinking??
So, here I am, sitting in the bedroom with my 91 yr old mother in love and friend,chronically ill and dying, and we are waiting on the Lord.
Here I am, thousands of miles away from my child who is pregnant and having serious problems and I cannot go, so I am waiting on the Lord.
Here I am, my husband of 31 years who has been in chronic, debilitating pain for 25 of those years, pain that came from his heart to serve and protect others and I can do nothing to make it go away, so here I am, waiting on the Lord.
My son in love in the bedroom next door, a disabled vet, not yet 30 years old and in pain...and here I am, waiting on the Lord.
I struggle. I want to heal, to do something miraculous, but I am an ordinary person who has learned to wait on the Lord.
"They that wait on the Lord shall renew their strength. They shall mount up on eagle's wings. They shall run and not grow weary, they shall walk and not faint." Isaiah 40: 31