When my not-quite-two-year-old grandson first discovered pockets, it was the cutest thing ever. Seriously. While his brother and sister chased after bubbles that leisurely escaped from grandpa’s wand and shimmered in the afternoon sunlight, T-Bear stood off to the side, intent on getting his pudgy hands into the pockets of his plaid shorts. Not even the shouts and giggles that erupted when sticky little fingers connected with the dancing orbs stole the toddler’s focus. At last his face announced his success with an ear to ear grin, followed by a hands-in-pockets T-Bear swagger. Adorable.
I, too, have had a recent fascination with pockets. I’m afraid it’s not as endearing as T-Bear’s discovery. Still, I can’t seem to help myself. I have unabashedly sent photos to my sisters and my daughters. “Pockets!” I captioned. With, uh, a few more swaggering exclamation points. “How was your weekend?” A co-worker asked on a Monday morning. “Look, pockets!” I responded while lifting my shirt the slightest bit to reveal my over sized cell phone nestled into the moon-like crevice of my pants. When my writer friends came by for some word play, I greeted them with “Pockets!” before saying hello. Pretty sure folks started doing U-turns when they saw me coming.
It had been more than a decade since I had pants with pockets.
Tiny little holes in my bladder, and some disobedient nerves had had forced me to wear the thinnest of materials: matte jersey or rayon/acetate slacks. Nearly fifteen years ago, I had jokingly become The Bionic Woman when I had a titanium battery-operated device with wires and leads surgically implanted, and was handed an external control. The goal was to convince defiant nerves to conduct themselves in a more appropriate manner, and control pain. Within just a few months, the device malfunctioned… and my surgeon/specialist moved out of state. I grieved – I had put a great deal of trust in this doctor – and rather than letting some newbie fix the malfunction, I decided to stoically (and MOSTLY quietly) live with the pain of rebellious nerves. But last year, Land’s End quit selling my “comfort” matte jersey pants. Without a lot of choices, I caved and in October met with a new specialist. Within weeks I had a date with a whole team who would slice me open again and fit me with a new device. I remember lying on the operating room table, tongue loosened by the meds dripping into my system, and quipping “That’s a whole lotta folks just to change a battery.” I was out before I could hear anyone’s response.
Healing was a lot more intense than the first go ’round. But the results were worth it. Pain diminished. Enough that I could purchase some new pants.
I know, I know. You don’t get it. What’s the big deal about pockets? Really, it was so much more.
It was a desire I had pretty much given up on. I didn’t anticipate ever having the pain decreased to a pants-with-pockets level. If you live with chronic pain, you might have a glimmer of understanding. It feels hopeless at times.
Yet here I am,
swaggering walking around with pockets full of stuff: keys, lipstick, cell phone. And hope. So much hope.
These pockets have given me a renewed sense of hope in other prayers I have been praying and desires that have been such a long time coming I had pretty much lost any expectation for fulfillment of them.
Hope deferred makes the heart sick, But when the desire comes, it is a tree of life Proverbs 13:12 NKJV
My pockets have coincided with the sweetest of times: Advent.
It’s been a tough year in my life personally – particularly as I watch loved ones struggle and suffer, and I cry out “How long, Oh Lord?” But my waiting can’t be compared to those who were crying out for the Promised One.
The Israelites seemingly endless agonizing wait for the Messiah is something I think we tend to gloss over. An article I read on Bible.Org put it this way:
In the light of the fulfillment of the Messianic prophecies of the Old Testament (at least those pertaining to His first coming) we fail to appreciate what it must have been like to be an Israelite looking forward to the arrival of Messiah.While we read the gospel accounts of the Messiah’s birth, we cannot really fathom the depth of joy experienced by those godly few who had yearned for the Messiah’s arrival.
At some times in Israel’s history, the anticipation of Messiah’s coming was great, while at other times the sense of expectancy waned. In many instances, Israel’s hopes seemed to be dashed on the rocks of reality. It is only as we can appreciate the rising and falling hopes of God’s people that we can more fully grasp the greatness of the event of Christ’s birth. -Bob Deffinbaugh, The Anticipation of the Messiah
Have you been praying and crying out for something, and it seems like your cries have fallen on deaf ears? Does your hope sometimes seem great and other times it wanes? Or are you at a place where your hopes have been dashed on the rocks of reality? Are you are ready to throw in the towel, give up, call it hopeless?
This Christmas season, think about the long awaited promise fulfilled in the birth of Christ Jesus.
He was, and is, everything He promised to be:
For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given: and the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6 NKJV
Sometimes it feels like our prayers aren’t heard. It seems like we are going to be in this place-we-don’t-want-to-be forever. Our hearts are made sick as we wait and wait and wait.
It may not always be in the way we anticipate, but we need to hang on, even though – especially when – we are tired, weary, and doubting.
Rest in the peace, the counsel, and the wonder of our Mighty, Everlasting God who never abandons us, and always keeps His Promises.
Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful Hebrews 10:23 NKJV
Merry Christmas from me and my pocket loving pal.