Waiting

In the age of consumerism, we have become adapted to getting things quickly. Anything from Amazon’s two-day delivery to text messages even results from a test. Everything is streamlined and precise. I get frustrated if my Amazon package is delayed by a day or two. It seems unfair, and as silly as this may sound, I feel like I deserve to get it in the fastest amount of time.

But there is something spiritual that happens in the waiting. When we allow ourselves space to breathe, we experience the presence of God. The author of the poem found in Psalm 130 writes about this:

Out of the depths I cry to you, Lord;
    Lord, hear my voice.
Let your ears be attentive
    to my cry for mercy.

If you, Lord, kept a record of sins,
    Lord, who could stand?
But with you there is forgiveness,
    so that we can, with reverence, serve you.

I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits,
    and in his word I put my hope.
I wait for the Lord
    more than watchmen wait for the morning,
    more than watchmen wait for the morning.

Israel, put your hope in the Lord,
    for with the Lord is unfailing love
    and with him is full redemption.
He himself will redeem Israel
    from all their sins.

When we wait for God, we are met by God, and we become shaped to be more Christ-like. John Ortberg wrote, “Biblically, waiting is not just something we have to do until we get what we want. Waiting is part of the process of becoming what God wants us to be.”

In a culture of now, God tells us wait, prepare, and ready ourselves for the work of Christ. If we are busy rushing around, it is hard to fully and clearly hear the voice of God in our lives. And the truth is that God is found in the waiting.

What if the lack of waiting in our spiritual lives reveals privilege in our lives? The homeless are forced wait for homes, and refugees can do nothing but wait to return home. But when we have the ability to keep busy, what does that say about us?

What if the lack of waiting in our spiritual lives keep us from being present with each other and with the word of God? I know it can be difficult to find time in the busy-ness of the day to have a personal time of prayer and devotion. Adele Calhoun writes, “The past with its regrets is irretrievably gone. The future with its what-ifs is out of our control. But now, right now, it is possible to be with God. It is possible to wait and say yes to God in what is.” We cannot change the past, and the future is out of our control. But when we practice waiting, we can have a clearer picture of what God desires of us for now in the moment.

But it is important to couple waiting with God and spiritual practice. As Calhoun points out, “Waiting can turn us into demanding, angry or depressed people. But if we will embrace waiting with God, the great gift of developing a mellow, forgiving heart is ours for the taking.” It is dangerous for our health and those around us to practice waiting without God. The spiritual practice of waiting requires us and God to be side-by-side.

“Waiting doesn’t mean you are doing something wrong. It doesn’t mean God hasn’t heard you.” Hosea 12:6 says, “So you, by the help of your God, return, hold fast to love and justice, and wait continually for your God.” May we know this assurance of faith, our God is with us, but it is through the spiritual discipline of waiting God reveals Godself more and we can know The Divine in a deeper way. “[Waiting] doesn’t mean you are wasting time. Waiting is an invitation to wait with God for the God who comes ‘to us like the spring rain’ when it is time.” As Hosea 6:3 says, “Let us know; let us press on to know the Lord; his going out is sure as the dawn; he will come to us as the showers, as the spring rains that water the earth.” May we wait with this assurance of faith, and as we consider this spiritual practice of waiting.

 

Source: Calhoun, A. A. (2015). Spiritual Disciplines Handbook: Practices That Transform Us. Downers Grove, IL: IVP Books, an imprint of InterVarsity Press.


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