I have been pondering the act of waiting lately.
Advent is a time of waiting, expectant waiting.
I get impatient in the waiting. I remember one Christmas as a child. I was the only one at home and I opened up all my presents and re-wrapped them. Oh how I was disappointed on Christmas morning, I had spoiled the surprise. I was no longer expectant…I no longer anticipated what was to come.
I wait for different things now, I wait for dreams to come to pass, I wait for that certain person to change, I wait for myself to change, a relationship to heal, for physical and emotional pain to go away, for healing…
I am reading God Is In The Manger, by Dietrich Bonhoeffer this year during Advent. I came upon this on day 2 and it really helped me to see waiting in a different way.
“Waiting is an art that our impatient age has forgotten. It wants to break open the ripe fruit when it has hardly finished planting the shoot. But all too often the greedy eyes are only deceived; the fruit that seemed so precious is still green on the inside, and disrespectful hands ungratefully toss aside what has so disappointed them. Whoever does not know the austere blessings of waiting – that is, of hopefully doing without – will never experience the full blessing of fulfillment.
Those who do not know how it feels to struggle anxiously with the deepest questions of life, of their life, and to patiently look forward with anticipation until the truth is revealed, cannot even dream of the splendor of the moment in which clarity is illuminated for them… For the greatest, most profound, tenderest things in the world, we must wait. It happens not here in a storm but according to the divine laws of sprouting, growing and becoming.”
“Waiting does not diminish us; any more than waiting diminishes a pregnant mother. We are enlarged in the waiting. We, of course, don’t see what is enlarging us. But the longer we wait, the larger we become, and the more joyful our expectancy.” ( Romans 8:24,25 - The Message)
What do I do in the waiting – in the interval that may seem a waste of time?
I want to get on with it…on with my dreams…on with my transformation…on with the healing.
Lucy Shaw says, “Though the protracted waiting time is often the place of distress, even disillusionment, we are counseled in the book of James to “let endurance have its full effect, so that you may be mature and complete.” Pain, grief, consternation, even despair, need not diminish us. They can augment us by adding to the breadth and depth of experience, by enriching our spectrum of light and darkness, by keeping us from impulsively jumping into action before the time is ripe, before “the fullness of time.” I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his word I hope.”
Emmanuel – God with us. God breaks into our lives even in the waiting.
Oh my Lord, keep me from frustration and impatience when I see little evidence of your living and growing in me. Reassure me that waiting time is not wasted time. That your purposes for us all are large and all-embracing enough to hold firm and prevail, no matter the obstacles or distractions. You have told us that “now is the accepted time…now is the day of salvation.” But perhaps your “now” is different from ours. You see our lives from the infinite perspective of eternity, of kairos. We want immediate action, change, and growth in chronos, in “real time.” We want to see our problems being resolved. Now.
Help us to realize, as those who love and believe in you, that we, too, are pregnant with Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit, and that day by day we are being enlarged. Augment our hope, widen our imagination, and nourish our anticipation that the astounding fact “Christ in you, the hope of glory” will turn true in each of us in your good time.
Prayer by Luci Shaw, God with Us
I am taking a blogging break till the New Year. I want to spend time unwrapping the gifts that are given to me daily, and savoring the ones I already possess.
Grace, peace and love to you all!