I doubt that anyone of us likes to wait. There are certain personality types for which waiting is more difficult than others. Waiting to me is especially repugnant. I want to see and accept the task and get on with solving it, then move on to another task. Waiting only serves to slow me down. Aha! That’s a good reason to wait. Going slower, being more methodical and intentional helps me make better decisions, … (sometimes it can even make it appear I know what I’m doing.)
It seems to me there are 2 kinds of waiting. There is passive waiting and active waiting. Passive is the picture of a man sitting on the porch until something happens for him to respond to. He is not engaged in any way and expends no energy as he sits idly. Active waiting is more like treading water. In the pool with no where to stand the only way to stay afloat is to actively pump ones feet so as not to go under. This is not moving forward just engaging in the process of waiting with ones whole being. It’s the picture of the actor who is waiting backstage listening intently for his cue to come on stage to deliver his lines. Or it’s the pregnant mother to be who is preparing for the day she gives birth.
Active waiting is preparation! It’s taking initiative to be ready to move at the direction of the Lord, when the time is right. Understanding the difference between these two and engaging at the appropriate level matters…a lot!
There have been times in my life when I really struggled with the concept of waiting. Sad to say, I haven’t always done it well. In my latter years I have begun to see the difference and become willing to engage in active waiting. No amount of pleading or cajoling the Lord has resulted in God being pressured to act on my behalf. In fact, I have come to recognize his sovereign work in my life and what he is doing in the lives of others who are praying similar prayers to mine. In the sphere of people whose life is intertwined with mine God takes us all and does his “mix and match thing” in his own time to bring about his divine will. I see that his time is that which is done “on earth as it is in heaven!”
My poem here tries to express this truth and how I have grappled with it.
Worth the Wait!
When life comes reigning down, and all seems less than solid ground, I cry to God, and He says, “Wait”!
It’s a challenge for me, the impatient one, to embrace His answer: “that is, in His time”. He asks that I trust Him and wait to see how events unfold, … what for Him is normalcy.
In my selfishness and naiveté, I assume life will be good if only God will solve my problem my way, as I design, and I figure, NOW is a good time! I rationalize and fantasize how it could be to extol his virtues to everyone I meet.
I reason, surely it’s better for me to praise Him or the rocks will cry out. No one in the grave, no, none of the wicked will His virtues entreat.
But He calls me to praise in advance, to not wait for some later chance. In truth, I must project that time ahead when He solves my problem or gives me grace to endure. After all, this is a choice I have – to be happy when things go my way; or in spite of it not, to trust Him for sure.
The best use of my time when waiting is to engage in reflection, not self pity. To evaluate myself as to motive and attitude – not speculate or moan and indulge in apologies for Him, or other pious platitudes.
Yes, I must see myself, not as a victim of fate and thereby engage in practical atheism. But a worshipper of the Triune God, the Lord and Sovereign over all His creation.
Though often I feel as though I’m in a bubble and life keeps bouncing me around – oh what trouble I bring on myself- my head is in a muddle – until, …. Until He enlightens me enough to see He is there inside my bubble and all around.
Oh, how profound! A transcendent God. The imminent, pre-imminent One. He is the Magnificent! My God is beneficent! I cried to Him and He heard. He has my interest at heart.
I stand in awe, overwhelmed at His love and care. Reminded again He is Lord over His church of which I am a part.
My soliloquy ends where it began. So what for me has changed? At first, feelings as though a victim of fate. Now I’ve discovered, and now I know, it was Worth the Wait!
Excellent, as always. Delayed gratification has never been easy–but you’ve truly learned what it means to actively wait. Thanks!
I read your blog for the first time this morning. I especially like what you say about active and passive waiting. My husband recently made a similar point in a sermon from the book of James.
Thanks for your feedback Frieda. Waiting is something I will deal with all my life. I have a lot more to say on the subject, but for another time. 🙂
Well put. I especially loved your analogies of “active waiting” ~ treading water, and preparing for a new baby. Wonderful illustrations.
I was introduced to your blog by a mutual friend at CBSI. (I’m an 11 year member of a CBS class, and currently an ATD.) ~ I look forward to reading more of your work.
Kirsten, Thanks for reading. Your feedback helps. Please come back often. 🙂