A Shambles of a Mandible

I draft this 800th post from Room 3355 at Florida Hospital South. The quest for solving the puzzle plaguing my right jaw stretches on toward the very end of 2015. After two hospitalizations, six weeks of heavy-duty antibiotics, a CT scan, variations on the themes of pain management, and twenty-nine hbo2 dives to increase blood supply to the affected area, more pieces now fit together to make quite clear the nature of my condition.


I have what’s called a pathological fracture of the jaw. See the dark gap to the left below the teeth in the image above? Mine’s not that bad fortunately, but it gives you an idea of what’s going on in my mouth. This kind of thing often happens over time to head and neck cancer patients whose treatment protocol included radiation to the tumor bed and surrounding area. The advanced stage of my tongue cancer in 2005 required no less than thirty-nine such blasts. Allow me to quote one doctor who examined me after this morning’s dive. “There is so much damage down there.” To use my own words, my mandible is a shambles. No way it heals on its own, regardless of the number of dives I execute or any other healing strategy doctors might bring to bear on it. This man’s jaw, at least the right lower side, can no longer fight the good fight.


I can’t bite down on it with any considerable pressure at all. My diet consists of liquids and mushy foods. I down a lot of smoothies, oatmeal, yogurt, and the like. Last week I hit my married weight after dropping about twenty pounds. Let’s just say Jesus sees fit in this latest version of the Heffelfinger sanctification strategy to pound away at some of my more significant idols.

What to do? All I want for Christmas is a brand new jaw! Well, a used bone that is harvested from my tibia or hip to shape and insert up there following resection of the diseased portion of the bone. Believe it or not, that’s the easier part of the whole procedure. It takes an entirely different surgical team to perform something called a free flap micro-vascular operation to the jaw for bringing ample blood supply to the area and ensuring tissue coverage of every bit of live bone remaining. Sounds lovely, eh?


No specialist in Orlando does this free flap thing or so I’ve been told. To get this done means seeing a man in Tampa. My doctor here has referred me over that way. We have yet to connect. Why does this stuff always happen to Nancy and me around the holidays? Nobody wants to work the last two weeks of December!

So I really don’t know a whole lot yet about the details of this highly specialized solution to my particularly disabling problem. What I do know is that surgery runs about eight hours, then two days in ICU, and four more days or so in the hospital. Until I consult with the Tampa doc, I have no idea how much PT I might need and/or how long before some degree of jaw-normal returns so I can eat a complete diet once more, resume my pastoral duties, and KISS MY WIFE PROPERLY AGAIN! As those pieces of the puzzle come into play, I will be certain to log in for follow up posts. Needless to say I would like to get this over with sooner rather than later. The Lord knows.

My fellow elders at OGC have graciously granted me medical leave until the first Sunday of the New Year. At that point we will reevaluate. I am thankful for all the servants stepping up to pinch hit for me on all sorts of fronts. As we did in 2005, we have a choice opportunity for the church to be the church, relying on everyone’s gifted contribution to the body’s shalom as opposed to relying inordinately on just one person’s service. Church, reach out to your assigned elder, if you need pastoral care. New people, normally considered “my part of the flock,” please turn to any of the other elders to which you feel led. And of course, all, let’s rely on each other as we do the New Testament “one anothers” and thus build ourselves up in love (Eph. 4:12-16).


Our thanks as well for the terrific handmade cards from last Sunday, the texts, gifts, and outpouring of offers to assist in some way. I appreciate everyone understanding my request for no visitors during my hospital stay. The more I talk, the greater the pain.

A final thought before wrapping up this entry. One evening during my previous hospital stay I watched the movie, “Unbroken.” It’s the true story of Olympic runner Louie Zamperini turned WWII prisoner of war and his heroic journey of perseverance under inconceivably difficult strains. Having thoroughly enjoyed Laura Hillenbrand’s book of the same title, I’ve desired to see the film version for some time. I prefer the book over the film for one particularly significant reason, but that’s an occasion for a separate blog post. Still the Lord used one line in the movie at this especially challenging time in my life to galvanize me in the most personal of ways. It helped prepare me for yet another daunting trial involving my physical well being. The same line turns up twice in the movie’s trailer below.

“If I can take it, I can make it.” Trust me, that’s not how I weathered the cancer storm of ’05. That sentiment did nothing for me in the loss of our son nearly two years ago. Such a notion was worthless to me with Nancy’s cancer diagnosis last December. And it won’t cut it when they open my face, dismember the dead bone, plate and screw a replacement, attach artery to vein in my mouth, close, and rehab me for who knows how long at Tampa General.

his strength not mine

But I tell you what grand sentiment and massive promise of God’s word will. “I can do all things through Him [Jesus] who strengthens me” (Phil. 4:13). I’ve waved that banner by God’s grace over every previous Father-filtered hard providence which has shaped my life thus far. I’m not about to resort at this point to the shaky ground of self-reliance. I know all too well that I can’t take it and won’t make it. No thank you very much, I’ll stick with the Lord who puts us in these dilemmas precisely so we won’t rely on ourselves but on Him who raises the dead (2 Cor. 1:9).

Jaw Wars


The Star Wars saga has nothing on me. I’ve got more episodes in my journey than the popular movie series will ever produce.

This just in. My oral surgeon today said he’s done all he can do surgically. The problem with my escalating pain must be medical. What to do? Two things. One, hyperbaric oxygen therapy. I report for the first of these tomorrow morning, Lord willing, at Florida Hospital. Can’t wait to climb into one of those rigs (see image above).

Two, infectious disease consult. The surgeon removed all the dead bone debris he could find. My pain can no longer stem from that cause. The only thing he can surmise on that score is osteomyelitis–chronic infection of the bone. My oral surgeon referred me back to my medical oncologist/hematologist for this consult, especially because I had multiple infections of the blood during my chemo treatments back in 2005. I am still waiting to hear back from his office about an appointment. My understanding at this point is that treatment protocol for this involves inserting a central line for six weeks of IV antibiotics. Something to look forward to. But I am trying not to get ahead of myself.

Pain remains high. Still pushing the drugs to cope. Lots of rest required. The saga goes on.

I’ve hauled out a familiar friend from ’05, the promise of God in 2 Cor. 12:9, to sustain me along the way.

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

Oswald Chambers says this about one of my all time favorite verses of the Bible:

God does not give us overcoming life: He gives us life as we overcome. The strain is the strength. If there is no strain, there is no strength. Are you asking God to give you life and liberty and joy? He cannot, unless you will accept the strain. Immediately you face the strain, you will get the strength. Overcome your own timidity and take the step, and God will give you to eat of the tree of life and you will get nourishment. If you spend yourself out physically, you become exhausted; but spend yourself spiritually, and you get more strength. God never gives strength for to-morrow, or for the next hour, but only for the strain of the minute. The temptation is to face difficulties from a common-sense standpoint. The saint is hilarious when he is crushed with difficulties because the thing is so ludicrously impossible to anyone but God.

 Not sure about the hilarious part, but definitely striving for strength in the strain of each minute. Appreciate all the prayers of the faithful on FB.
More importantly, regarding Nancy, there is not much to report. She continues to work her therapy program therapy. Thank you for your faithful prayers on her behalf as well.

Something I’ll Never Say Again


Never say never. We all know the proverb. I, for one, hereby defy conventional wisdom. I will never say something again as long as I live.

“I can’t imagine anything harder.”

Why? Because every time I do something new comes down the pike that redefines hardness for me.

I said it when I broke free from the authority-cult like church I belonged to as a young follower of Jesus.

Then I had to quit my first church pastoral assignment due to chronic fatigue. That was harder. Couldn’t imagine anything more difficult. Wrong.

For reasons far too complicated to unpack, I resigned from the only church plant I ever founded back in 1998. We left Central Florida for Idaho. No way anything would be tougher than that. Guess again.

Head and neck cancer in 2005. Surgery, radiation, chemo. May I quote my medical oncologist? “We sent you to hell and back to save your life.” Indeed they did. What a miserable year. Hard, harder, hardest. Uh, not so fast.

“Josh is dead.” Six days from now will mark the one year anniversary of our great loss. Every day lately I find myself thinking something like this: one year ago today my son had a week left to live, ___________ days. It’s excruciating counting down the days to remembering the worst possible news. Or was it?

My bride with ovarian cancer. You’re kidding? It’s not possible. I don’t believe is. Oh, yes it it. You’d better believe it.

I give in. This is easily the hardest yet. Hardness to the nth degree. Uncle. I give in. I’ll never say it again. I don’t even want to imagine something harder than this baffling turn of events.

Alright, now that I’ve vented my lament, what is this man, husband, father, pastor, follower of Jesus to do? I have only one answer. It has always been the answer and it will forever remain the answer by God’s grace.

“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble” (Psalm 46:1).

How grateful I am today to have come across this Puritan prayer entitled simply “Refuge.” It corrals my runaway thoughts and emotions to send them heavenward:

O Lord, Whose power is infinite and wisdom infallible, order things that they may neither hinder, nor discourage me, nor prove obstacles to the progress of Your cause. Stand between me and all strife, that no evil befall, no sin corrupt my gifts, zeal, attainments. May I follow duty and not any foolish devicegod-is-my-refuge of my own. Permit me not to labour at work which You will not bless, that I may serve You without disgrace or debt. Let me dwell in Your most secret place under Your shadow, where is safe impenetrable protection from the arrow that flies by day, the pestilence that walks in darkness, the strife of tongues, the malice of ill-will, the hurt of unkind talk, the snares of company, the perils of youth, the temptations of middle life, the mournings of old age, the fear of death. I am entirely dependent upon You for support, counsel, consolation. Uphold me by Your free Spirit, and may I not think it enough to be preserved from falling, but may I always go forward, always abounding in the work You give me to do. Strengthen me by Your Spirit in my inner self for every purpose of my Christian life. All my jewels I give to the shadow of the safety that is in You—my name anew in Christ, my body, soul, talents, character, my success, wife, children, friends, work, my present, my future, my end. Take them, they are Yours, and I am Yours, now and for ever.

Lord, I believe. Help my unbelief.

What Are We Waiting For?

Everywhere I turn, it seems, I encounter someone in wait mode.

Singles waiting for a suitable mate to come along.

Sick folks waiting for a sure cure for their illness.

Estranged couples waiting for a reconciliation of their marriage.

Parents waiting for a wandering prodigal to come home.

Unemployed or underemployed workers waiting for a job.

Students waiting for funding for their education.

Children waiting for favor with their parents.

Missionaries waiting for their support to come in.

And yes, even churches waiting for their buildings to get a CO.

And no, at this writing, we don’t have it yet. Sigh.

I am fond of saying, Waiting is one of God’s favorite four-letter words. It’s true. God makes us wait. A lot. When He does, the temptation remains the same. Like the Jews of old in the Babylonian Captivity we question that our way is hidden from His sight and that our concern is none of His concern (Isa. 40:27).

The prophet had nothing but rebuke for that kind of thinking in the rest of chapter 40. He took them to task for such unbelief in the midst of their wondering if they would ever return to the beloved Promised Land. He did so by reminding them of what they had heard and knew about the character of God.

Everlasting. Creator. Unsearchable.

We may grow faint or weary, but this God never does. Better yet, He dispenses His extraordinary power that hangs the stars in the sky, calls them by name, and sees to their keeping (Isa. 40:26) to the faint and weary and exhausted.

How? By waiting. Not waiting for a change in circumstances. Waiting on Him. Verse 31 is key – But those who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength. The Hebrew word for wait comes from a root which means string or cord. The verb form has the idea of twist. The imagery is helpful. To wait on the Lord is to bring our slender strand of strength to Him in prayer, meditation, hope, and worship and have Him wrap His creative, unsearchable, everlasting omnipotence around it so that we are strengthened. To renew means to exchange. We exchange our meager strength for God’s unlimited strength. Matthew Henry, the Puritan commentator explains:

But those that wait on the Lord, who make conscience of their duty to him, and by faith rely upon him and commit themselves to his guidance, shall find that God will not fail them. . . .  They shall have grace sufficient for them: They shall renew their strength as their work is renewed, as there is new occasion; they shall be anointed, and their lamps supplied, with fresh oil. God will be their arm every morning, ch.33:2.
The imagery of this strength and its impact in v. 31 takes the breath away. Mounting up with wings as an eagle. Running and not being weary. Walking and not fainting. From the most spectacular of feats of mounting up to the most mundane of tasks of walking and everything in between, God meets us and give us His strength.
Warren Wiersbe, in his commentary on Isaiah, summed up well the progression from flying to walking:
As we wait before Him, God enables us to soar when there is a crisis, to run when the challenges are many, and to walk faithfully in the day-by-day demands of life. It is much harder to walk in the ordinary pressures of life than to fly like the eagle in a time of crisis. “I can plod,” said William Carey, the father of modern missions. “That is my only genius. I can persevere in any definite pursuit. To this I owe everything.” The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step. The greatest heroes of faith are not always those who seem to be soaring; often it is they who are patiently plodding. As we wait on the Lord, He enables us not only to fly higher and run faster, but also to walk longer. Blessed are the plodders, for they eventually arrive at their destination!
So the question stands. What are we waiting for? If it is for a change in circumstances, that may or may not come. If it is for an exchange of strength with the God of the universe, that you can count on.
So wait, wait on the Lord and renew your strength.

The Way of the Devoted in the Throes of the Desperate

Nicholas Wolterstorff, in his little book Lament for a Son, writes of the loss of his twenty-something boy to a fatal mountain-climbing accident. He asks:

What do you say to someone who is suffering? Some people are gifted with words of wisdom. For such, one is profoundly grateful. There were many such for us. But not all are gifted in that way. Some blurted out strange, inept things. That’s OK too. Your words don’t have to be wise. The heart that speaks is heard more than the words spoken. And if you can’t think of anything at all to say, just say, “I can’t think of anything to say. But I want you to know that we are with you in your grief” (p. 34).

Were we to have accompanied David from Aphek to Ziklag in 1 Samuel 29-30, delivered from one trial only to encounter a fiercer one, perhaps no words would come in the face of such momentous grief. I can imagine David traveling the miles from Aphek thinking, how gracious of God to extricate me from having to go to war against my own people (see chapter 29)! But life is like this. Just when you think things can’t get worse, you suffer another staggering blow. David and his men return to Ziklag to discover nearly the worst – the city burnt to the ground and their families taken captive, destined, no doubt, for a future of slavery and abuse.

Their reaction is understandable in v. 4. Then David and the people who were with him raised their voices and wept until they had no more strength to weep. Even David mourned in grief, his wives taken by the marauding Amalekites. For him however, grief came in an even greater wave as v. 6 records. And David was greatly distressed, for the people spoke of stoning him, because all the people were bitter of soul, each for his sons and daughters.

On top of staggering loss for David comes devastating threat. His band of men pin the blame on him for the turn of events. Their bitterness of soul overflowed in making their leader the scapegoat for whatever reason. David can attest to the truth of Psalm 34:19 – Many are the afflictions of the righteous.

The good news in the midst of this horrifying text is that he can also testify to the truth of the remaining half of that verse. But the Lord delivers him out of them all. David models for us an important principle for responding to trials, even the worst of them.

In the throes of desperate circumstances the devoted intentionally make their way toward God in every respect.

And the first way to do that is to find your strength in God (1 Samuel 30: 1-6).

At the end of v. 6, Ziklag smoldering around him, family taken from him, embittered comrades preparing to stone him, what does the man do? But David strengthened himself in the Lord his God. He strengthened himself. The force of the Hebrew verb is reflexive. This is a choice he made. David takes an intentional direction. He moves toward God not from Him. He doesn’t blame God, he doesn’t rail on God, he doesn’t question God; he strengthens himself where? In the Lord his God (emphasis added). Yahweh is not just Israel’s covenant-keeping, faithful God; He is David’s God. This is David demonstrating the force of his words in Psalm 23:1 – The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want (emphasis added).

David possesses composure and takes courage in a way no one else on the scene at Ziklag seems prepared to do. He finds strength in God. Perhaps he remembered a former day in the Wilderness of Ziph, on the run from Saul, where he found strength in God, but not of his own accord. First Samuel 23:15-16 records:

15David saw that Saul had come out to seek his life. David was in the wilderness of Ziph at Horesh. 16And Jonathan, Saul’s son, rose and went to David at Horesh, and strengthened his hand in God. 17And he said to him, “Do not fear, for the hand of Saul my father shall not find you. You shall be king over Israel, and I shall be next to you. Saul my father also knows this.”

In the throes of those desperate straits, God sent him Jonathan, his fiercely loyal, covenant-bound friend. He helped fortify David’s weary hands. He had the right words in the suffering. You shall be king over Israel. He reminded him of the promise and decree of Yahweh. But here in 1 Samuel 30 there is no Jonathan. Deeper currents of spiritual commitment now course through the veins of David as he draws nearer the throne. On this occasion, though all desert him, he will find his strength in God alone. He will preach to himself the promises of God that do not fail. He will live and breathe the words of Psalm 73:25-28.

25Whom have I in heaven but you?   And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you. 26 My flesh and my heart may fail,   but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.  27For behold, those who are far from you shall perish;   you put an end to everyone who is unfaithful to you. 28But for me it is good to be near God;   I have made the Lord GOD my refuge, that I may tell of all your works.

Andrew Bonar, Free Church of Scotland pastor, did just this in the face of stunning loss.

[He] wrote in his diary for October 15, 1864, of his grievous “wound”; Isabella, his wife of seventeen years, died, apparently of complications following childbirth. He wrote that on the day of her death he had, according to his custom, been meditating on a Scripture text between dinner and tea. On that day it had been Nahum 1:7 – “The Lord is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble; he knows those who take refuge in him” (RSV). Bonar adds, “Little did I think how I would need it half an hour after (quoted in Dale Ralph Davis’ Looking on the Heart, p. 172).

Countless numbers of devoted saints through the centuries have turned to God in His word to find their strength in Him. They treasure His presence there. They calculate the certainty of His promises. They remember the virtues of His character. They come forth like Job in 13:15 – Though he slay me, I will hope in him. The way of the devoted in the throes of the desperate leads toward God in every respect. They find their strength in God.

Do you find yourself in the throes of desperate straits? Is there no Jonathan to strengthen your hand in God? Maybe the Lord would have you move toward Him in dependence upon Him alone for the strength only He can give.

Ten Application Points for Dealing with Loss

This morning’s message is now on the web. You can listen to the audio here.

I realize we covered a lot of ground pretty fast at the end of the message. Here are the ten points of application that I drew from 2 Tim. 4:9-18. These are ten ways to respond to the “loss” of a beloved servant like Pastor Clay, or any loss for that matter, which reflect strength in God and ultimate dependence upon Him in all things.

  1. Call for and rely on the comfort and help of other trustworthy & valued servants in the face of potential discouragement at the loss.
  2. Give thanks that the “loss” is not due to spiritual defection – a far greater burden to bear.
  3. Pray for God to raise up laborers for the harvest is great but the laborers are few.
  4. Welcome, support, and champion the efforts of those remaining and others stepping in to help with the loss.
  5. Determine to make yourself by God’s grace useful for ministry in whatever way the Lord calls even if failure has marked you past.
  6. Keep the AC running and your Bible and books open! In other words, take care of yourself in every legitimate way and keep focused on the Lord through the means of grace.
  7. Guard your heart against resentment by entrusting His ultimate judgment in every affair and manifesting a forgiving, peacemaking spirit toward all.
  8. Expect God to strengthen you in the loss particularly by claiming the same promises claimed by the apostle Paul.
  9. Stay focused on your mission to share Christ and make disciples of others as a paramount concern of your life.
  10. From the way the Lord helps you deal with the loss draw increased hope for future challenges including the ultimate challenge of death.

I also neglected to share this quote from Warren Wiersbe, an able summary to Paul’s approach to loss in this text:

What a man! His friends forsake him, and he prays that God will forgive them. His enemies try him, and he looks for opportunities to tell them how to be saved! What a difference it makes when the Holy Spirit controls your life. ?Paul’s greatest fear was not of death; it was that he might deny his Lord or do something else that would disgrace God’s name. Paul was certain that the time had come for his permanent departure (2 Tim. 4:6). He wanted to end his life-race well and be free from any disobedience.

Also, you can get an online version of the Free Grace Broadcaster I read from this morning by clicking on here.

God speed, Clay and Megan. We commend you to God and the word of His grace. Peace be with you.

How To Deal with the "Loss" of a Beloved Servant

Some of us who have worked closely with Pastor Clay and Megan at OGC over these last seven years gathered at my place last night for a farewell celebration. It was a sweet time of fellowship, feasting, and remembering.

The Anchored Youth gang did their version of a send-off last Wednesday night. There was food, sharing, card-writing, gift-giving, game-playing, and prayer (you can’t see him, but Pastor Clay sits underneath all these hands laid upon him).

Tomorrow, Lord willing, we will gather as a church for worship and fellowship for our final service with the Nettles, followed by a luncheon in the fellowship hall. Please remember that, in addition to our regular general fund offering, we will receive offerings toward a special love gift in appreciation of Clay and Megan and all they have meant to us at OGC in their time with us. A designated envelope will be in your worship bulletin to use for that purpose.

I opted to delay my return to preaching through the Gospel of John until next Sunday, July 4, as I felt the Lord nudge me toward helping us all deal with the real loss of such beloved servants. My text for tomorrow is 2 Tim. 4:9-18.

9 Do your best to come to me soon. 10 For Demas, in love with this present world, has deserted me and gone to Thessalonica. Crescens has gone to Galatia, Titus to Dalmatia. 11 Luke alone is with me. Get Mark and bring him with you, for he is very useful to me for ministry. 12 Tychicus I have sent to Ephesus. 13 When you come, bring the cloak that I left with Carpus at Troas, also the books, and above all the parchments. 14 Alexander the coppersmith did me great harm; the Lord will repay him according to his deeds. 15 Beware of him yourself, for he strongly opposed our message. 16 At my first defense no one came to stand by me, but all deserted me. May it not be charged against them! 17 But the Lord stood by me and strengthened me, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it. So I was rescued from the lion’s mouth. 18 The Lord will rescue me from every evil deed and bring me safely into his heavenly kingdom. To him be the glory forever and ever. Amen.

The apostle Paul describes at least five significant challenges/losses in the text and tells how he managed to make it through them all the while staying focused on his mission. I have ten specific applications to make to our loss that I trust will help us to follow him as he followed Jesus.

Will you pray with me that the Lord will visit us tomorrow powerfully with His Spirit to accomplish His purposes and that the day, sweet and sad though it will be, will linger in our memory for years to come as one of the most memorable in our history?

More on Making the Most of Advent

Here are some final thoughts on navigating the Christmas holiday to the glory of God:

First, determine to bring Advent worship into the fabric of your home. Heads of households – let us function as believer priests on behalf of our families and lead in Advent devotions that serve to focus our spouses and our children upon things that truly matter this Christmas. Let us watch less in the way of endless Christmas specials devoted to the inane and trivial and read more of the Word that extols the Christ of God and listen more to the music that declares His praises and fellowship more with the people that embrace His Lordship and witness more to the lost who languish without His hope.

Second, say No more and Yes less so that the obligations of the season do not run away with you. Stay in control of your calendar. Prioritize ruthlessly as best you understand given God’s priorities for you. If you struggle to do that on your own, ask someone else to hold you accountable and give you counsel about what you should and should not commit to during this last month of the year.

Third, arm yourself with Paul’s promise in Phil. 4:13 that in Christ you can do all things – including making the most of Advent. This may prove especially true for you if you have experienced some significant loss this year or if you are battling some form of depression for whatever reason. Navigating the demands of the holiday season cannot be accomplished in one’s own strength. It takes the power and all-sufficient grace of Christ (2 Cor. 12:9). 

May He grant us ever-increasing amounts of grace to sing these words of the hymn writer and mean it: 

Let all mortal flesh keep silence, and with fear and trembling stand;
Ponder nothing earthly minded, for with blessing in his hand,
Christ our God to earth descendeth, our full homage to demand.

Puritan Power & Perspective on Waiting

GurnallFor some reason I’ve made it a habit to turn to the Puritans first thing each morning this year in my abiding in Christ time.

Moody Press published a collection of daily readings in spiritual warfare from the writings of William Gurnall called The Christian in Complete Armour (1994). Numerous times the meditations within its pages have framed my perspective for the day and boosted my reserves of spiritual power and strength.

The entry for November 21 this week proved particularly meaningful for me and I thought I would pass it on.

Wait on God as long as you have to, until He comes according to His promise and takes you out of your suffering. Do not be hasty to take yourself out of trouble. . . . The fullest mercies are the ones we wait for the longest. Jesus did not immediately supply wine at the marriage of Cana, as His mother had asked, but they had the more for waiting awhile.

Hope assures the soul that while God waits to perform one promise, he supplies another. This comfort is enough to quiet the heart of anyone who understands the sweetness of God’s methods. There is not one minute when a believer’s soul is left without comfort. There is always some promise standing ready to minister to the Christian until another one comes. A sick man does not complain if all his friends do not stay with him together, as long as they take turns and never leave him without someone to care for him. . . .

The believer can never come to Him without finding some promise to supply strength until another is ripe enough to be gathered.

They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength (Isa. 40:31).