Isaiah 40:31 reads: “but those who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles.”
To wait for the Lord is to listen for and be guided by the still, small voice. This voice sometimes expresses as intuition, a sense of completion or even nudging us to face a challenging situation.
I am reminded of being in chaplain training class at Saint Joseph’s Hospital in Kansas City with Rev Nash, where in the afternoons we would talk about the interactions we had with patients in the morning, wanting to learn better ways to engage and support the patients and their families.
Chaplain Rick would often come to the meetings late. He was a Vietnam veteran who had seen much conflict and expected the rest of us to allow his lateness to go unchallenged.
The difficulty was the class ended up staying long past the time scheduled when many of us had other work and home commitments we needed to address.
We talked about this behavior to our lead Chaplains and they agreed it was disrespectful but would not do anything about it, saying “we needed to find our authentic voice.”
The next afternoon when he came in 45 minutes late, I said to him:
Rick I appreciate all that you have been through and what you have seen and experienced; and having trained in the military you understand the importance of being on time. I am asking you to respect for the rest of us and be on time in this class so we are able to keep our other commitments to family and our jobs.”
With a dark look in his eyes, he glanced around the table, then he took his fist and smashed it against the table, creating shock waves that rattled the coffee cups. My heart braced itself as I was sure a tirade was about to begin but he said: “I’m sorry, I needed to be called out on this. It is a bad habit that if I can get away with, I will.”
The discomfort I felt slipped away and in its place surfaced a sense of relief and appreciation for my willingness to be vulnerable.