Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Waiting Well

Most of our lives are spent waiting. At the hair salon, for the test results, on the interstate, for the promotion, at the hospital... in small increments or in large, our time is broken into expansions of waiting punctuated by brief furies of activities. For how often our lives can be characterized as busy, how often is it really busy work? A laundry list of going-through-the-motions and time fillers that simulate activity, but all the while, we are really waiting for the things that we really want to be using our time for or that single event that will utterly change the nature of all the time fillers that we engage in.
I say all this because I am in a season of waiting. I feel confident (or at least I do in the cold light of day) that God has been showing me some crazy, exciting, and terrifying paths that He will be leading me down in the future. We haven't started down them, or rather, we haven't started down the part that seems to lead directly to the end destination. But in mean time, what am I to do with myself? Prop up my feet and eat bon-bons? Frantically race around preparing for the journey?
I think the answer is somewhere in between. Walking that tightrope of balance between the two is stressful,but it is exactly in this place that I see God meeting me, growing me, and changing me. It is is this place that my heart, mind, and spirit is the most malleable and we are able to deal with more of my baggage and He is able to teach me the lessons that I will need. It is wearisome and sometimes I want to put my burdens down and return to Egypt. It is His faithfulness and gentleness that beckons me on.
So many people hate God for the business of waiting. They hate that He isn't a genie who grants their wishes when they ask. They shake their fist and say He's forgotten and walk away. It's an understandable temptation. But it's tantamount to waiting in line for 4 hours and then throwing up your hands and leaving when you're next. The problem is that we can't see that we're next. It feels like our "turn"will never come and we are fools to  have waited for it at all. But, to quote an old maxim, He is God and we are not. What seems like an eternity of waiting to us doesn't mean we are forgotten. He sees the way all the pieces are moving together and sees why we need to wait somewhere for 40 days, 40 months, or 40 years.
And the thing that I have been increasingly realizing is that more often than not, God is waiting on us. As I meditate, I am staggered by His patience. He spends so much of our time together waiting for me- to understand a lesson, to change my ways, to wake up and listen to what He's saying, to just flat-out have faith. To be crass, He's freaking God. He could swoop down and reveal Himself in a blaze of glory, tell me what I needed to do, and then walk me through it like a child through their first book. But instead, He waits. He woos. He gently places His hand in the small of my back and nudges. He does all of this because He respects my independence and process. He wants me to get there myself...but when I am listening and waiting on Him, He is with me at every juncture, whispering quiet instructions. Philip Yancey contrasts the in-dwelling of the Holy Spirit with demon possession. With demons, their presence is overwhelming, binding the human will, over taking their every sense, faculty, and thought. With the Holy Spirit, His presence is quiet but persistent. He makes Himself known through His words to us and His guidance.
I guess where I am with this whole waiting thing is that, in the immortal words of Aerosmith, I don't want to miss a thing. I don't want to be distracted or too busy plowing down a different path to miss what He's doing. And as I appreciate His patience with me and His waiting on my heart, I am just floored by His humility and love.
So here I am- hanging out here, waiting to plunge ahead on the path. I'll be here when it's time, Friend.

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