“Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength. Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.” -- Isaiah 40:28-31
In these verses and several times throughout Scripture, we are told to wait for the Lord. That command seems so simple, and yet we struggle to obey it every day. Our human nature compels us to try to control every aspect of our lives—our finances, our health, our futures. We may say we desire God’s blessing and His will for our lives, but are we willing to wait for Him to reveal it to us? Are we willing to endure trials and heartache as we wait for the Lord?
Tigsit is a widow living in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, with her three children. Her name in Amharic means ‘patience’, and her testimony shows us what it means to patiently wait upon the Lord despite hardships and challenges.
In 2001, Tigsit and her husband, Mulugeta, were living in Eastern Ethiopia when she became very ill. For three months, she lay in a hospital bed, and no one knew what was wrong. Finally, the doctors determined she had both tuberculosis and HIV, but nothing helped, and she continued to become increasingly sick. Four more months passed, and it became clear that she would die in that hospital bed. So, her husband and father began preparing for her funeral.
A group of Christians from the local church came to the hospital one day to visit and pray with the sick patients. One man of God prophesied that Tigsit would be healed in one month. One month later, after eight long months of illness, she was suddenly healed! Tigsit’s father had been worshiping a witch for years, but after her healing, he, Tigsit, and Mulugeta all gave their lives to Christ immediately.
Tigsit and Mulugeta then moved to Addis Ababa, joined a church where they began to learn about Jesus and His Word, and they were eventually baptized. Sadly, Mulugeta’s family rejected them because of their faith in Christ. Still, they proclaimed the Gospel proudly.
Not long after moving to Addis Ababa, Tigsit gave birth to a son. Their family continued to grow through the birth of a daughter in 2005 and another daughter in 2010. Mulugeta worked as a tailor, and Tigsit made some extra money washing clothes. Together, they worked hard to provide for their family.
Then, on August 1, 2014, Mulugeta was walking home from work when he suddenly fell down and died. The cause of death is still unknown. And just like that, the story changes. The same God who had miraculously healed Tigsit in 2001 had suddenly—abruptly—taken her husband home to heaven.
Tigsit, a widow suddenly grieving the loss of her husband, had to bear the full burden of caring for her three children alone. She sold many of their possessions, worked multiple jobs, and still found herself struggling to feed her family and pay rent.
That is when waiting on the Lord is not so easy—when the children are hungry, when you can barely keep a roof over their heads, and when the pain of losing someone you love seems like a physical weight you can’t lift—and yet, in spite of the financial strain, Tigsit faithfully gave her tithe to the church, trusting in the Lord and waiting upon Him. She knew firsthand the power of God, and her faith could not be shaken. She knew she was passing through the valley of the shadow of death, but she did not fear, for she knew her Shepherd was with her.
Then, when she needed it most, assistance came from her local church and the World Orphans program. She joyfully received small, needed items like soaps and cooking oil. But, more importantly, her three children, who were all HIV+, could receive the medication needed for them to stay healthy, and they were able to attend a good school.
Tigsit has now joined a savings group through the church, which enables her to save money each month. She feels empowered to provide for her family, making sure her children are never hungry and can receive a high-quality education. Tigsit is also delighted to report that her youngest daughter of five, after taking medication consistently, is now HIV free!
Those who know Tigsit say that she claims the name of Jesus in almost every statement. She is full of joy and radiates the love of Christ. How beautiful it is to see this woman, who has suffered so much, proclaiming the Lord’s faithfulness. May we take Tigsit’s story to heart, and pray over the areas in our lives where we must only wait for the Lord, and He will renew our strength.