The Eighth Word

November 1, 2014

The first seven words of this article are the easiest: “Rite of Passage Parenting by Walker Moore.” I always begin by writing these seven words each week and then pause, waiting to see what my fingers will do next. I wait and wait, and on most occasions, I sit here stuck, staring into nothingness. If I can come up with the eighth word, the rest of the story will flow. It’s like getting the proverbial first pickle out of the jar. It takes a little more effort, but when it comes out, the rest will follow.

Sometimes the eighth word takes days, even weeks to come. On some rare occasions, the eighth word just explodes, and I can’t type fast enough to write down my thoughts. But today, I’m stuck on the eighth word.

This reminds me of my growing-up years. My brothers and I used to ride a school bus each weekday. We lived out in the country and every morning we had to stand at the end of the driveway waiting for its arrival. The bus could come five minutes early or fifteen minutes late; it just depended on the kids ahead of us on the route. There were even times when we were the ones who held up the school bus as we tried to find a missing shoe or textbook. But I spent much of my early childhood standing at the end of the driveway, waiting for the bus to show up. Normally my brothers and I would fill the waiting time by throwing rocks or trying to coax the horse across the street up to the fence while keeping one eye down the road waiting for the yellow beast to roll our way.

Many years later I find myself not at the end of the driveway looking for a bus but sitting at a desk, looking to my right and left, hoping I can see the eighth word coming my way. I no longer have rocks to throw or a horse across the street to coax. Instead I turn to thinking about you and what you are going through today.

Why do I think about you? It is because you matter to God and you matter to me. The reason I need an eighth word is because you matter. And I realize my challenge in coming up with an eighth word is trivial compared to what you may be going through. Many of you are facing a terminal illness, declining health, or walking with a loved one through one of these situations. Some of you have a child who has gone astray. You’ve done everything you can, but all seems hopeless, and it breaks your heart. Some of you are waiting for an answer to a financial problem and don’t see any relief in sight. Each day, the desperation grows stronger. Some of you have lost your job and are having a hard time finding another one.

I know those feelings. You look to your left and don’t see an answer coming, so you look to your right and nada, zilch, nothing. Before long, you’re engulfed in a sea of hopelessness. But do you know where that comes from? Hopelessness comes from not understanding the person and character of God. That is why God sent Jesus, to let us know He will not leave us as orphans (John 14:18).

The enemy has always lied about our Heavenly Father from Genesis, where he convinced Adam and Eve they really didn’t matter to God, down to your life and mine. Today, I’m looking for that eighth word so you will know you matter to God. He knows where you are and is working on your behalf. But I also know you need something while you’re waiting: not rocks or a horse, but confidence.

Isn’t it ironic that today, you and I are both looking for something? I don’t know which one of us will get what we need first, but God has given us a verse in the waiting period of our lives: “being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus” (Phil. 1:6).

Yes, the more I understand God, the more confidence I have that He is on His way with the eighth word. I am also confident that He is on His way to your house. He might bring healing, or He might bring supernatural strength to help you endure the storms. He might bring you a job or your child back home. Or He might bring something even greater: a peace that passes all understanding. But I am confident that He is coming your way, and that gives me my eighth word: hope.