A waiting person is a patient person. The word patience means the willingness to stay where we are and live the situation out to the full in the belief that something hidden there will manifest itself to us.
― Henri J.M. Nouwen
I wish I could say I have this waiting business down. I have had many opportunities to practice, but I find myself still an impatient person channeling my inner child, “are we there yet?” “Is it time yet?” “When?” And yet God in His infinite patience and wisdom says, “not yet. Wait for it. It will be worth it. Wait and you will save yourself tons of trouble and fretting. Wait and you will not make it way more complicated than it needs to be. ”
Be still and know I am God. (Psalm 46:10) Okay, but.…
So I am in a season of waiting on many things. It is an active waiting, but a waiting just the same. It is stretching me and growing me. I feel like I have been given some pieces of a puzzle, but not all of them, and definitely not the box with the picture so I can put the ones I have in and know what I am missing. Instead of peace as the pieces start coming into focus, I must admit I become more impatient, antsy, wondering when I will know, and what is really the goal.
Then I am reminded that it is learning to abide and walk closely with Christ. It is about relationships and learning to walk with people and love them. It is about walking with people in their struggles where they are at, not where I think they can be, or should be. It is about walking with people in their joys, where they are at, not what I think they can be with it, or should be with it.
It is also walking my journey at the pace that is set for me, not the pace I think I can, or think I should be moving along at, it is patience with myself and this journey as it is. When I get frustrated with myself and wish I were further along in this, I remember the quote from the Unhurried Life,
In Practice Resurrection author Eugene Peterson points out that “maturity cannot be hurried, programmed, or tinkered with. There is no steroids available for growing up in Christ more quickly. Impatient shortcuts land us in the dead ends of immaturity.” In fact, the impatience with which I seek spiritual maturity is implicit evidence of our immaturity.
Ouch! The antidote to my hurry up desires is to do the thing that seems least natural to me, slow down. I am in a concentrated season of slow down and wait. It is a season of listening and looking, of practicing resurrection. I am thankful for mercies that are new every morning. I take heart as I read through the end of the gospel of John and the beginning of Acts as Jesus tells the disciples to go and wait. They have things they need to do in that waiting, but they are to wait. They aren’t really sure what they are waiting for and they do not know how long they must wait. Jesus doesn’t try to teach them and show them all they need, or get them up to speed before He leaves them. He trusts that the Holy Spirit will do that at the right time.
I am learning in my own life and the lives of those I am walking with, to enter into that tension and wait. He who began this good work in me, and in them, will be faithful to complete it. (Philippians 1:6) So I wait and prepare for my next steps and do the “next right things” even as I wait. I wait and pray and love as I watch for change and healing in those I am I walking with. I choose to be with them and let the Holy Spirit move in His way and time table and trust that in the fullness of time all will be made right. I continue to look for the gifts of this moment that have been left for me to receive, and for those I am supposed to give to others. These gifts cannot be seen as clearly when I am in hurry up mode. So I thank God for this slow down and wait season, and continue to learn the sacred art of being present.