That’s a lot of waiting around. And for many of us who are used to instant e-mail replies, next day delivery, and being able to control our own little universe from the convenience of our smart phones, the thought of actually having to wait for anything is almost inconceivable.
But the reality is that waiting is one of life’s inevitabilities. However, we think it’s also one of life’s beautiful, often unrecognised, opportunities.
God knows that too – throughout the Bible there are countless stories of people who spend, sometimes most of their lives, waiting: Noah, Abraham, Sarah, Moses, Joseph, David, Daniel, and Paul to name but a few.
And we all know how hard it is to wait. Waiting often feels like a passive act – but it doesn’t have to be, especially when we wait for God. We’re often told that waiting builds patience, develops our character, shows we are committed to a cause and grows our relationship with God.
Henri Nouwen, was a Dutch priest, professor, author and theologian who wrote, “It is an active waiting in which we live the present moment to the full in order to find there the signs of the One we are waiting for.” As we actively wait for God, the blinkers are stripped off and we have a much better view of the world around us and the possibilities God has given us within it.
That’s not to say it’s easy. Waiting is hard. In fact, the word patience comes from the Latin verb patior which means ‘to suffer.’ If you’ve given up some of life’s little treats for Lent, then perhaps you can understand a little of what it’s like to ‘suffer’ as you wait for Easter Day. But as you resist the urge to dip your hand into the biscuit tin, perhaps you’ll discover there is more to life than the sugar high you get from a chocolate-chip cookie.
It seems a little crass to compare our spiritual life to our food obsessions, but whether we are waiting for Lent to end or waiting for God to give us direction on that social action project we’re wanting to start at Church, we can take control of the way we wait.
How, Not What
We often ask ourselves: What are you waiting for? Perhaps the real question to ask is: Howare you waiting?
When we wait actively – seeking God, pushing on doors, channeling our energy and our focus then we may just encounter Him in ways we couldn’t even imagine!
The English poet Elizabeth Barrrett Browning wrote,“Earth is crammed with heaven. And every bush aflame with God. But only those who see take off their shoes.”
Our prayer for you in this season of Lent is that as you wait on God you will indeed see and experience Him in the most unexpected of places.
“Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD.” Psalm 27:14