FLASHBACK FRIDAYS: WEEK 36 (While I’m Waiting by John Waller)- While we’re in the waiting, can we really trust God? And is faith without actions as dead as people say?

Today has been one of those days. One of those days where everything went wrong. One of those days where I’ve been presented with the real possibility of a loss- a potential loss I couldn’t imagine, and one that has ultimately drawn me closer to Jesus, and also having me realise that we as humans, including myself, shouldn’t hold onto things as much and as tightly as we do. I know it’s not a feasible concept in practice, but, hey, at least it’s all good in theory, right? Not sure what I mean. Well, let me start at the beginning. The beginning of the day.

It was my day off, so I could afford to sleep in a bit. But I slept in way too much and ended up waking up at around 8:30am, which in my mind was late considering all the times I woke up on my work days. Frustrated, I opened the windows, and lo and behold, it was raining. No, not like spitting, but really pelting cats and dogs. So there goes my plans for the day. Not that I had any, and Dad wanted me to do some company work, but it would have been nice to have the option to go out for a bit, maybe eat out for lunch or something. Nope, not if I want to be healthy for tomorrow- Saturday, the busiest day of the week… and if you guys think I’m a wuss or made of sugar, think that all you want. I won’t be arguing with you on that one- but if you own a business and want to be in tip top shape every day, then sacrifices need to be made- namely on a rainy day, you don’t go out because you’ll be sick and then spread it to everyone you meet the same day or the next day. Anyway, moving along…

The internet has been on the fritz recently, for no apparent reason. Well, maybe there’s a reason, but I haven’t figured it out yet. And actually not that recently, but ever since May last year. It’s been turning off randomly- and though ‘kickstarting’ it again means turning the power point off, waiting 15 seconds or so, and then turning the power point back on, it is a tad time consuming and frustrating when the internet ‘dies’ every night. Today the internet ‘died’ during the day (and we all know how the general population acts without technology- just watch NBC’s Revolution!), and it took a while to get back up again. In the mean time I decided to review and few albums and just post them online when the internet came back. But around the same time, my brother’s computer (which I was using at the time- my one in my room is a tad ergonomically uncomfortable- which is something I need to change in the near future!) refused to recognise my two external hard drives (with all of my music, videos and documents). I couldn’t review, because in my infinite wisdom, the documents and music and videos weren’t present on the internal hard drive…go figure. No amount of taking out the hard drive and putting it back in again, nor changing ports, helped. Yet after around forty five minutes or so, of me stressing, the hard drives finally worked again. It was stressful, and had me worried that my whole ‘digital life’ would be gone forever. It’s not the case though- and I reckon these hard drives would’ve worked on other computers, but that’s not really the point.

Because while I was moving the hard drives around in different ports to see any combination of what could/would work and what couldn’t/wouldn’t; I decided to do some company work on the company computer which mostly involved transcribing invoices into MYOB- and a lot of them. So I placed my sheets of paper down on the table, and got to work. By that time the internet was better (which was why I could do MYOB) but the hard drives were still acting up. Understand everything so far? I’d entered in about 30 entries or so, saved everything; and then I wanted to check my phone just to see if it needed charging. I was at home, and I thought, well might as well charge the phone now than at night time… but I couldn’t find it anywhere. Fast forward 30 minutes later. I had turned over everything in the house. The internet was fine, the hard drives fine. But I still hadn’t progressed in my reviews and my MYOB, because ‘my phone’s lost and vanished and missing forever!’. Guess where it was. Yep, underneath the pile of sheets I put on the table earlier, with no ring tone. A senior moment or a blonde moment? How about both even when I’m not both?

Now as I write this blog, with a few reviews done today (and one more in the works for tonight!), as well as everything done on MYOB that I set out to do today, I felt that God wanted me to delve into the topic of waiting for this Flashback Fridays blog. Not the topic that I envisioned at the start of the day- because I definitely had a number of ideas in mind- of which being in a season of waiting wasn’t one of them- but the more I thought about it, the more it made sense. See life throws us curveballs sometimes, that you need to navigate. Of if you’re not a fan of baseball, and prefer cricket instead; let me say that life throws you 150 km/h yorkers that you need to block, time and time again. Things that happen out of the ordinary, things that happen that aren’t planned. Things that happen that turns your own plan out of whack. The things you want to do today you probably won’t be able to do because of unforeseen circumstances- and you just have to be able to adapt and be ok with that fact. Your change in outlook may not happen right away, but I believe that if you give every situation over to God, then all will be well.

Remember when I said that today I couldn’t find my phone, and the internet and my hard drives were working intermittently throughout the day. At times I thought my life was over as I knew it, even though I knew somewhere in my hard that that was an illogical thought. I was just so used to the fact that the computer and the internet and my phone would always be there that I hadn’t even entertained the thought that someday it might not be. Which gets me to the point I’m trying to make today, the point that I feel God wants me to convey to you all. And it is this. That sometimes in the waiting, when life doesn’t go our way, when all we are familiar with and all we know is stripped bare (in my case the internet, hard drives and phone!), all that remains is to rely on and trust God that He will work it out for His glory and our good. Mind you in that moment I never really turned to God- I was too stressed and too panicked, but in hindsight prayer and relying on our Father is basically the only thing we can do in times of trouble.

Just over 4 years ago, a similar thing happened. It’s ironic that God spoke to me today about the waiting and the trusting in God, because in late 2014, the audio on my computer went haywire (I wrote a blog about that too!) and God told me to trust Him. A song came to my mind then and I will share that song and that particular album now as well. John Waller’s “While I’m Waiting” isn’t your usual high-profile successful pop anthem that you hear on the radio all the time. Nor is the album of the same name that popular 10 years later. I mean, John Waller started his music career on a major record label at 37 years old with the Blessing in 2007, yet parted ways with his label 3 years later. Since then he’s had moderate success, and I can only wonder about what could have been for him. But what “While I’m Waiting” lacks in international success and global recognition, makes up for in relevance and deep lyrics. See the song speaks about how while we are waiting for whatever we want to happen in our lives- whether God deems it good for us or not- we mustn’t worry, and instead we can worship Him. Say what? Worship in the midst of pain and suffering? Worship like Job did in the Bible, when all of his friends and family deserted him? Let me give you all some wisdom, that I forgot I had written back in 2014. Let me quote verbatim, and remind you all that God can use anything, in this case myself, to speak to anyone, in this case myself again!

One of my favourite songs from John, this song was relevant in my current predicament, as it seemed like God was saying that I could worship in the midst of the chaos. And it seemed like He was also saying that I can worship in the silence as well. For a time, there was no music blaring out of the laptop, and God was saying that I can worship through that. Objectively, that’s a valid statement, and it’s definitely true that we can worship anytime, anywhere, in any circumstance, because God is good. But I guess when you’re in the thick of anything, it’s hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel, and it’s hard to believe that worshipping in your circumstance is ideal at all.

But that’s when I believe you ought to worship the most. When you’re in dire straights, and when you don’t have anything else left to hold onto. Sure you worship before then, but I believe that worship is the most effective, and our worship is probably the most raw, emotional, personal and meaningful, when it’s the last thing we’re got (besides God).

In my predicament (which in hindsight is nothing, as I will have my computer fixed in no time, maybe within a few days- and what’s the worse that can happen? Nothing, besides me not uploading reviews as swiftly as I want to, as well as me using an older laptop which is not as fast as my newer laptop…), worship I guess is pretty easy, compared to those who experience hardship and pain in countries in Africa and the Middle East. But I guess because we’ve grown up in the Western world, we’re accustomed to noise all around us, and when that noise stops (or audio from my laptop like today), we sometimes fall apart. Some of us show our expressions of that ‘falling apart’ just a bit more than others, but we all are affected when something so common is taken a way from us for a time.

And in those circumstances, how do we worship? Well let me share with you some poignant lyrics from John Waller’s song which I think would comfort you.

I will move ahead, bold and confident
Taking every step in obedience
While I’m waiting
I will serve You
While I’m waiting
I will worship
While I’m waiting
I will not faint
I’ll be running the race
Even while I wait

Even as we wait, even as things get hard, John fervently encourages us to serve God cheerfully, to worship, and run our own race. Philippians 4:6-7 reminds us not to be anxious about anything but in everything, through prayer and petition, to present our requests to God, thus peace will guide our hearts. A brilliant song with a relevant message for today’s culture, particularly in the sense that we all need to exercise patience (which can be done through God taking us outside of our comfort zone, like he did with me today), I encourage you to listen to the track, and let me know about any time when God has allowed something to be taken away for a time so that you can refocus on Him.

Did I really write that all those years ago? How is it that I have found my own words to be inspiring to me many years later, allowing me to put things in perspective? Because material possessions (of which the internet, hard drives and phones all lie under!) aren’t the be all and end all- what matters is Jesus and only Jesus. If we are focused on the prize that is a relationship with the One who died for us and rose again, everything else is secondary and not of that much importance. If all else fades yet we still have Jesus, in theory that should be enough, yet for some of us it isn’t.

Some of us are maybe too attached to things of this world that do not matter. Maybe that’s why we are restless during the waiting if we have lost things we hold of importance to us. But maybe, just maybe we are restless and not too good at waiting because we lack the faith of God to come through for us, we lack the faith of God to do what He has said and He has promised, and we lack the faith of God to be faithful and reliable. Perhaps we think that the God of Abraham, the God who did all of those miracles in the Old Testament, the God who delivered the Israelites out of Egypt, is the God of yesterday. But really, He’s the same God of today and of tomorrow. The same God who rose up from the dead is living in you and in me right now, and I’m sure I’ve said this time and time again before in another blog. But I don’t really care. I’ll keep saying it until we all get it. When we’re in a tight spot, when we’re waiting, we can rely on Jesus. And trust that His plans are best for us, because He is sovereign, holy and perfect. That’s really all there is to it.

There’s a saying that faith without works is dead. In fact, it’s more than a saying- it’s in the Bible in James. That if you have all the faith in the world and do nothing, that you don’t help the poor, that you don’t help your brother and sister in need down the street, that you don’t support your friends who need you in the current moment; then you’re just as bad or maybe even worse than someone who outright says they don’t believe at all. It’s a harsh statement but maybe true. That out faith should be evident through our actions, but if our actions aren’t lining up with our faith, then maybe our faith isn’t as solid as we once thought. But then if you’re believing that, then is the converse true? If we do all the good things in the world, as in build an orphanage in Africa, sponsor X amount of children, foster X amount of children, partner up with World Vision or Compassion International, always be there for friends, feed the homeless, always volunteer for extracurricular social justice activities; but have no reason for doing so; what’s going to be our answer when someone asks us why we do what we do? Yes, faith without works is dead, yet works without faith is meaningless also. Just something to think about as we are waiting. Yes we as humans aren’t good at waiting. Yes, maybe we do need faith. But maybe all we need is the faith to say ‘God I don’t know what’s happening. But I trust You and I leave it all in Your hands’.

As I leave you all for today (and hope that next week I talk about what I actually wanted to talk about this week), let me ask you a question. Are there things on this earth you hold dear that you can’t possibly live without, or even imagine that they’d go without a trace? Remember that sometimes the waiting is the most important thing to do, as it strengthens our relationship with God, even when we can’t see it.

Until next time everyone!

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