What do we do when we find that our battle is not resolved as quickly as we once had hoped? We find ourselves in a game of hot potato, trying to deal with the hot potato with a quick and sudden toss off, but the music stopped with us. We wait, holding the potato, but the music never comes.
So the question becomes, “How should we then, wait?” How do we wait, while our souls long for the music to begin, and our hearts cry out to be done with the battle?
I have been reading a very abridged version of John Owen’s, The Mortification of Sin, in which he addresses our battle against sin. There are some, Owen says, pointing to scripture, for whom “God sometimes comes upon a soul instantly, in a moment, as it were, wounding and healing the soul” (109). But in regards to the fast deliverance, Owen writes to how this is more often the exception than the rule. He goes on to say, “But ordinarily, in such a case, God calls for waiting and laboring, attending in prayer as the eye of a servant rests upon his master” (109).
I love the phrase “as the eye of a servant rests upon his master”. When I read this phrase I immediately pictured my dog, Thorin Oakenshield (who now currently lives with my sister, Tessa). Thorin would set up shop wherever I went. No matter what kind of room or space it was, if he could physically make it happen, Thorin would be there with me. Thorin’s eyes and ears were tuned to my every move, always at the ready to get up and follow me. This is the picture, I think Owen wants our minds to conjure up.
But this is not the posture of waiting that I had in the midst of my eating disorder. Tail between my legs, I allowed Shame and Guilt to put the leash of the law on me, and take me out to the doghouse. But the adopted, chosen and beloved children of God need never, ever be waiting in terror in the doghouse; eating pig food among the swine. Yes, sin, the flesh, and the devil will continue to tempt us, deceive us and threaten to destroy us. And we must battle against them. But we must never battle in the doghouse. That is not our battleground, our place of waiting. It is not a safe place to wait. And should we find ourselves waiting there, let us look up, and see that the door of our Father’s house is open and that underneath a doorframe, dripping in blood, comes reaching out a strong arm to pull us into His embrace. And it is in this embrace, we shall wait.
5 I wait for the Lord, my soul waits,
and in his word I hope;
6 my soul waits for the Lord
more than watchmen for the morning,
more than watchmen for the morning.