En Attendant

Walking on the forest path near our house proved a bit more difficult yesterday. Leaves, which until two or three weeks ago, beamed overhead with Autumn colors, lay rotting in the mud of the rain from the night before.

Naked trees, bereft of make-up, pointed starkly towards the overcast December sky, accentuating the wet coldness of the air. Sounds dreary doesn’t it? Actually it wasn’t so bad because the sun broke through occasionally and those trees seemed almost … what? Optimistic?

The world looks like that when you sleep well the night before.

It seemed to me the trees were saying, “Yeah, we look pretty stark now but we’re just snoozing until Spring. Don’t worry. Hope is just a few months down the road. Leaves, flowers and bird songs will bloom again.”

Hope. When we have it we can go through almost anything. When we’ve lost it, even the sunshine seems depressing. The most hopeless place I believe I’ve ever visited was a mental hospital. Hopelessness does something to you.

Adolph Hitler Street

A friend told me that during World War II, the Nazi government that had snatched power in Luxembourg renamed Liberty Avenue, one of the main streets of the capital, as Adolph Hitler Street.

One hopeful hand, though, had secretly scribbled under Hitler’s name on the street sign, two words from the banned French language– “en attendant.”

“En attendant” basically means, “in the meantime, while waiting, for now but we’re looking for a change, until then, etc.”) In other words, “It’s Adolph Hitler street for now but that’s going to change.”

Today, if you go from the center of Luxembourg City to the train station, you’ll most likely ride on l’Avenue de la Liberté—Liberty Avenue! Life did emerge from the Nazi darkness.

We encounter all sorts of things in life–good and bad. Our attitude of faith or our attitude of hopelessness strongly colors our quality of life. Some have lost their jobs but “en attendant” they praise the Lord, work to find a new situation, and hope for better days.

Others have been saddled with sickness. We marvel as they sing and wait for health, “en attendant.” Family strife rifles our home and we hardly dare, but we still hope that the Lord has an answer for us too. “En attendant!”

In the Bible Abraham lived like that:

“By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going. By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God. (Heb 11:8-10 NIV)

He lived, “en attendant.”

If you’re going through a tough time today, maybe you need to come back to God’s promises in His word, get a good “dose” of the Spirit of God in your life and let Him change your attitude.

Then you can live with joy, “en attendant.”


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