How Long Can You Wait?

hypoménō – literally, remaining under (the load), bearing up (enduring)

I had a pastor who said, “Sin will take you farther than you want to go, keep you longer than you want to stay, and cost you more than you want to pay”. Hebrews 12:6-8: 6 For those whom the Lord loves He disciplines, And He scourges every son whom He receives.” 7 It is for discipline that you endure; God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom his father does not discipline? 8 But if you are without discipline, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate children and not sons.

Let me tell you a story.

I remained an immature person until I was into my 30’s. It says in the Proverbs that foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child. My father was a very harsh, controlling man.  After years of abuse by my father, I vowed I would NEVER allow a man to control me.  I married very young, barely 17 years old and by the time I was 23, Curt and I had 4 daughters.  Curt is a kind, gentle, soft-spoken man, who, for some unknown reason, has loved and stayed with me as I have dragged us to hell and back…multiple times.

I’ve always been a seeker of the things of God but a fool with no wisdom. I had no stability in my walk with God. I was like an addict, always looking for the next inspirational meeting so I could feel close to God again. In 1984, because of my foolishness, we became involved in what David Wilkerson (who wrote The Cross and Switchblade) said was the most dangerous cult in America at the time. Remember what my pastor said…sin will take you farther than you want to go, keep you longer than you want to stay, and cost you more than you want to pay. I convinced my husband that God wanted him to give up a good, secure job and drag our family to a different state so we could be a part of the cult. After approximately 18 months the whole thing imploded and we ended up back where we started except instead of having a good job the only job my husband could find was delivering pizza. Our entire lives were destroyed.  Our faith was totally shipwrecked. For many years after, God was not ever talked about in our home. We were too wounded and too hopeless as we struggled in abject poverty.

After we returned from out of state, we lived in my husband’s grandparents 100-year-old farm house for about $80.00 a month and most months we couldn’t make the rent. After a few years, we had the opportunity to move into a 12×70 trailer home.  Initially the trailer was a vast improvement over the farm house. We lived in that trailer for about 8 years.

Now we come to the part of the story about learning to hupomenó – to bear up under the weight – to endure.

I have another pastor friend who says, “poor people have poor ways”. The longer we lived in the trailer, the more it broke down. First there began to be soft places in the floor. After a while, we learned where to step and where not to step. Then the linoleum gave way in the kitchen and we had to put down plywood to keep the cats from coming up through the floor. I was a terrible housekeeper. We lived in filth therefore as the floors gave way, rats found their way into the trailer. Finally, our septic tank/sewer system began to fail and finally did fail completely.

During those enduring years, a miracle began to happen. I found God again. Not only did I find God again but for the first time in my life I fell head over heels in love with Him. I began to passionately pursue Him…and because of that Proverbs 8:17 happened: “I love those who love me; And those who diligently seek me will find me.” I grew up! Then all 4 daughters found Him…and finally my husband found Him again. He restored us.

BUT…we still lived in that trailer. I began to pray and seek deliverance from that place. I begged and pleaded and God was silent. Remember Hebrews 12:7 says: “It is for discipline that you endure…” God was growing me up and teaching me how to be content while enduring.

Our finances began to improve. Curt got a better job and I went to work after our youngest started kindergarten. Even so, there was no extra money to find a better place to live.

I started praying very specifically about a house. My request was simple…I wanted straight floors, straight walls, a basement to hide in in case of tornado and, if possible, some trees in the yard. One day my in-laws’ neighbor decided to sell their farm. They actually came to me and said, “Sandy, you and Curt should buy our farm.” I grabbed a hold of that and REALLY began to pray. It didn’t matter that it was way beyond what we could afford. During that time, I read Isaiah 42: 2-3: “I will go before you and make the rough places smooth; I will shatter the doors of bronze and cut through their iron bars.3 “I will give you the treasures of darkness and hidden wealth of secret places, So that you may know that it is I, The Lord, the God of Israel, who calls you by your name.” I knew that somehow, someway the days of enduring this particular period of our lives was soon to end.

A few days later I was sitting at a restaurant eating lunch when the couple who owned the farm walked in accompanied by a lady I didn’t know. Somehow I knew that lady had bought my house. The owner came over and apologized for not telling me sooner that they had indeed sold the farm. I walked out of the restaurant sad because I really thought our deliverance was at hand. I spoke to God as I drove back to work and told Him that although I really thought I had heard Him say it was my time, it was okay. I would choose to live in contentment in that trailer for as long as He deemed it necessary. I had really learned how to endure.

The very next day the owner of the farm came into my office and said, “Sandy, I need to talk to you.” The lady that bought the farm had called him that morning and wanted him to ask if it would be alright for her to call me. I said that would be okay. About an hour later she called and explained to me that she had woken up in the night and saw my face. She and her husband lived on the opposite side of the state and were planning on retiring to the farm they had just bought in a few years and would we be interested in renting the farm for a few years and would $100 a month be too much to ask for rent. Thus, because I had learned to hupomeno’ – to bear up under the weight of living with the consequences of a foolish choice years before – God rewarded my endurance and delivered us from the trailer into an older, well cared for farm house that had straight floors, straight walls, a basement and over 40 trees in the yard.

I think one of the things we lose sight of while enduring a situation is that we forget that all things come to an end. Isn’t that why people commit suicide? They forget that things change. What is going on today doesn’t mean it will go on forever. My situation changed SUDDENLY. After years of struggle suddenly we were living in a new place.

A key to enduring is to not give hope.

1 Corinthians 10:12-13
12 Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed that he does not fall. 13 No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.