AT AN EMPTY TABLE
by Lygia Lovelace
What are you waiting for?
Chase has been waiting for
his 14th birthday. He began talking about it a month ago.
He made a birthday list and has even been planning where
he wants to go on his special night.
After pneumonia and then bronchitis,
I have been waiting to get well. These past few weeks I
haven't even had a voice! That's been frustrating. Every
afternoon the kids and I are accustomed to sitting on the
bed together while I read aloud. We love this time! Currently
we have been reading about George Mueller, and we have also
been reading a fun fantasy series of books about little
people called the borrowers who live under the floors of
peoples' homes. Lately, I can barely make it through one
chapter before my voice becomes inaudible and I have to
Emalee, one of our little African
twins, has been waiting to get her cast removed. Several
weeks ago she was climbing the ladder to get up to the slide
on our playground and fell off. She landed on the right
side of her face, her shoulder and her right arm. Something
just didn't look right as we cleaned her up from her fall.
Her right arm and hand dangled oddly. We took her to the
emergency room of a nearby hospital.
As we walked down the hall
of the hospital to take an x-ray of her arm, she looked
up at me and asked, "Mommy, are my bones black, like
After showing her the x-ray
of her arm (which indeed showed a broken wrist), the doctor
explained to her, "See, Emalee, on the outside we look
different from each other, but on the inside -- we all look
basically the same…"
Emalee's like that…a deep thinker.
She's only four years old, and she is extremely emotional.
She's willful at times and quite insecure in crowds. But
she thinks about things. She's asked me many good questions
-- about the planets, the sun, different races, God, Jesus
on the cross, bugs, stories from the Bible, Africa, and
She chose a blue cast and wore
it proudly. Then, as the week progressed, she forgot about
it. She reached into our little plastic swimming pool with
her right arm to retrieve a toy. Have you ever seen a cast
get wet? It begins to disintegrate from the inside out.
It peels and chips and unravels until there's nothing left
but scrap cloth and powdery residue, leaving the wound exposed…
Now she wears a yellow, water-proofed,
cast. In a few weeks, she will have the cast removed.
It has been frustrating for
her, wearing a cast. She can't do puzzles as well as she
used to, or color. She can't climb or play on the playground.
She's still waiting.
Grayson has been waiting for
orchestra to start. She plays violin and has never played
with a group before. This will be a new experience for her.
Brooklyn has been waiting for
college to start.
Ken and I have been waiting
for our house in Texas to sell (and waiting…and waiting…)…!
Oh what a relief it will be to have that situation behind
us! We've prayed and prayed, truly seeking God's will in
this adventure, but nothing is happening.
Elijah has been waiting for
late fall or early winter, when the bees will go away. He
is allergic to bee stings. He's been stung three times this
summer already! When he is stung, the area swells unbearably,
nearby lymph nodes swell, his eyes become swollen, croup
sets in, and he's irritable for several days. This last
time he was stung, almost all of the kids were playing in
Elijah told me later, as I
was icing his hand, "Mom, that bee came right at me!
He looked at all the kids standing around and stopped when
he got to me! Then he zoomed right in on me!"
Now, and understandably so,
when he sees a bee in the yard, Elijah screams and runs
the other way. He can't wait until bee season is over!
Last week in an article entitled
Prayers in an Empty Elevator, I wrote about becoming
more focused in prayer. What are you praying for? Are you
keeping the "main thing the main thing"? It is
God's will that we mature in our prayer lives -- getting
to know Him better and becoming wiser with our requests,
actually praying, in Jesus' Name.
But isn't it true that sometimes
we must also just wait on Him? We are truly living
for Christ, we are meditating on His Word, we are praying
to the best of our knowledge -- which can indeed at times
be limited -- yet we are truly seeking Him! But nothing
is happening in our prayers.
I've seen this in my own life
and also in other Christians around me. Have you experienced
"I've been praying for
years! I took my children to church -- my husband came too
-- but now, they don't seem to care. I don't know what else
to do. Why don't my prayers seem to matter…?"
"Over the years, I've
begged God to save him. Why is there never any evidence
"What good does it do
to pray over this illness I have? I still have the pain;
I still have to endure it...God just doesn't seem to care."
"I've been unemployed
forever. God just doesn't want to see me succeed! I've prayed
and prayed, so why isn't there a job out there for me?"
How do you answer questions
like this? I like what Stormie O'Martian says in her book
The Power of a Praying Life:
"If you have prayed about
something and you haven't seen an answer yet, remember that
prayer is not telling God what to do. Prayer is telling
God what you want Him to do and then putting it in His hands
and waiting on Him to do what He wants."1
Even though I have not been
able to read aloud to the kids much this week, I haven't
been able to put the book about George Mueller down...yet…admittedly
at the same time, I have been so convicted by his life that
I have been tempted to put the book away! After reading
about a life like his, I know I have such little faith!
I am ashamed. I am humbled.
Do you know about Mr. Mueller?
He lived in the 1800's and
didn't come to Christ until the age of twenty.
He lived a life of complete
faith in God. He cared for over 100,000 orphans in his lifetime,
building a group or orphanages and providing completely
for them. He preached more than three times per week, and
worked tirelessly and joyfully. Yet he received no regular
income. He refused it! He relied completely on God to
provide for the needs of his family and the needs of the
thousands of orphans in his care.
He lost two wives and four
children (one of them a little boy named Elijah…), and he
only saw one child -- a little girl named Lydia -- grow
He trusted in God implicitly.
He influenced many, many, MANY lives for Christ.
At 71 years of age, Mueller
wrote some wise advice to younger believers.
"It is absolutely needful
in order that happiness in the Lord may continue, that the
Scriptures be regularly read. These are God's appointed
means for the nourishment of the inner man…consider it and
ponder over it. For the first four years after my conversion
I made no progress, because I neglected the Bible…I have
(now) read through the whole Bible at least 100 times and
I always find it fresh when I begin again. Thus my peace
and joy increased more and more."2
Do you read? Are you nourished
daily? Mueller claimed that he read the Bible five or ten
times more than he read any other book. And he didn't just
read it, he truly studied the Word…
"….not the simple reading
of the Word of God, so that it only passes through our minds,
just as water runs through a pipe, but considering what
we read, pondering over it, and applying it to our hearts."3
Have you, in your study of
God's Word, ever done a "waiting study"? So many
people of God, throughout the Scriptures, were called to
wait on Him! This study has been so good for me in
my struggle with waiting.
Just to name a few -- Job waited
on the Lord, and suffered while waiting. David waited
on his kingdom. Abraham waited on many things, including
a home and a son. Paul waited, though intensely called by
God, to begin his ministry. Hannah, Rebekah, Rachel, and
Manoah's wife waited on babies. Mary and Martha waited,
while their brother Lazarus waited in the grave.
Just this morning, I read about
Aeneas in Acts 9. He waited 8 years -- he was bedridden
and paralyzed -- for physical healing in his life.
God's sovereignty, God's will,
God's teaching...God's best.
The story is told of how Mueller
and his orphans were one day completely without food. Mr.
Mueller had prayed faithfully one night, knowing that the
pantries were empty and that the countless orphans would
have no breakfast the following morning. Soundly, he committed
this need to the Lord, and then he promptly went to sleep.
The next morning, the orphans
were called to the tables as usual. Empty plates and cups
were there, before the children.
"Dear Father," Mr.
Mueller prayed, "we thank you for what you are going
to give us to eat this morning."
Then Mueller continued. "Children,
let us remain standing in silence at our places until God
provides our food."
Not long after, a man in working
clothes appeared at the door.
"Mr. Mueller? I'm the
baker in Bristol, and last night I couldn't sleep. Somehow,
I felt you might not have enough bread for breakfast, and
the good Lord wanted me to send you some. So, I got up at
two o'clock and baked some fresh bread and have brought
A few moments later, another
man, a milkman, entered.
"Mr. Mueller? I was on
my way to town with all these cans of milk when my wheel
broke just outside your gate. I have to get the weight off
my wagon to repair it, but I don't want to dump all that
fresh milk in the ditch. Do you think the orphanage could
use any of it?"4
Plenty to eat! Praise God Almighty!
Breakfast was prepared by the hand of God. Lunch was yet
Are you a child of God? Are
Waiting is inevitable. Waiting
is necessary. Waiting is learning. Waiting is a privilege.
Stand at your empty table.
He is worth the wait. Lunch
is yet to come.
"For my thoughts
are not your thoughts, nor are our ways My ways," says
"For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are
My ways higher than your ways,
And My thoughts than your thoughts.
For as the rain
comes down, and the snow from heaven, and do not return
there, but water the earth,
And make it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to
the sower and bread to the eater,
So shall my Word be that goes forth from My mouth;
It shall not return to Me void, but it shall accomplish
what I please,
And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.
For you shall go
out with joy, and be led out with peace;
The mountains and the hills shall break forth into singing
and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands!"
Wait on the Lord;
Be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart;
Wait, I say, on the Lord!
1Stormie Omartian, The Power of a Praying Life
2John Piper @ www.desiringGod.org
4Taken from Dave & Neta Jackson, The Bandit of Ashley
© 2010. Faith Matters by Lygia Lovelace. All rights