to those who wait

To those who wait,

I am one of you.  I am you.  Longing, waiting hope and fear.  I am one who waits.

I live my life in quiet, or I strive to.  Though in my quiet, here is waiting, anticipation and… much restlessness.

While I wait, I wrestle.  Part of the waiting is a stream of doing too.  Waiting for me is not idle.  It is active.  

What am I waiting for?  Many things.  For my eyes to one day behold what I hope for, faith becoming sight.  For perfection.  For joy on this earth.  For promises to become realities.  Many things.

In my restlessness, two years ago I sold most of my earthly possessions, and packed my tiny two-door car with whatever would fit and moved to Dallas, Texas to attend Seminary.  My life will never be the same since that day.  I can’t explain it, but my two years here have been like a gentle breeze, making its way through the empty spaces of my heart… awaking many things in me by the means of the Holy Spirit.

This past week was one of those gentle breezes, only it was more like a powerful wind, studying grace and salvation in a one week intensive course.  

There are many people to whom I have much gratitude to give, and Dr. Glenn Kreider is one of those people.  Thank you Dr. Kreider for your sacrifice of this past week, and your life given to teaching students at Dallas Theological Seminary.

I cannot sum up this week in a simple blog post, or even many blog posts.  It is just not possible.  But as I sort out these things and work out my own salvation, some of those “working outs” may appear here on my blog, to those who read, and to those who wait (for the posts.. sorry!  I’m slow..)

To those who wait, and to myself, as one who waits: do not stop waiting.  Live in the tension of that which is now, and the hope of that which is promised.  It has to be worth it, because there really isn’t much else to hold on to as I look around at this ever changing world we live in.

There are many things in life I am not sure about in life, but I am sure that I am desperate for God’s grace.  And I am also sure that I know I’ve never deserved that Grace, and I never will.

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The season of Advent, a season of waiting

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The season of Advent has long been known as the season of waiting.  Advent both looks to the past, and the birth of Christ, and to the future, when Christ will once again come back to earth, but come as King.

Even before Advent began this year, I sensed a restlessness; a stirring within my own heart of both anxiousness and stillness.  This season of waiting came as a timely reminder in my own life.  Interestingly, I’m apart of a group for a project which we are presenting tomorrow, and the passage we decided to focus on was 2 Peter 3:8-15a:

But do not let this one fact escape your notice, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day. The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.  10 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up.  11 Since all these things are to be destroyed in this way, what sort of people ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, 12 looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be destroyed by burning, and the elements will melt with intense heat!  13 But according to His promise we are looking for new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness dwells.14 Therefore, beloved, since you look for these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace,spotless and blameless, 15 and regard the patience of our Lord as salvation…

There are a number of things about this passage that are notable, especially during the Advent season of looking back and looking forward.  As we consider our own lives, where God has moved mightily, and still, areas where it seems God has been silent.  A timeless truth to be extracted from this passage is that God keeps his promises.  This passage is more concerned with timing, particularly in verse 8 and 9, but the first truth to note is that God will deliver, he will come through.  He does not exist within the bounds of time, as we do, he dwells above time itself.  Take a moment to ponder that truth: it will blow your mind!

Secondly, “slow”, does not mean he does not hear, and “slow” does not mean no either.  This particular passage is speaking about Christ’s return, but I would venture out to say this is a truth that can be applied to any situation.  (Or perhaps the greater theological question is: how much intervention does God have in our day to day lives, and how much of our own lives/circumstances do WE have control over… BUT, I will save that for another discussion perhaps.)

When it comes to waiting, I’m a terrible waiter.  Waiting at the grocery store, traffic, for the dressing room… it seems like since moving to a big city my wait time and drive time for EVERYTHING has gotten about 10 times longer.  I hate waiting.  Our culture also hates waiting.  Stillness?  Quiet?  “Wasting time” by not doing anything?  These seem like foreign concepts.  I constantly am listening to music, checking the weather  (77 F and sunny tomorrow), checking the news.. all on this small little portable device I call a “cell phone”… except who even uses the term “cell phone” anymore.. it’s more like phone.  Iphone.  Something other than “cell phone” or “cellular device”….anyway.

Henri Nouwen is one of my favorite authors, he has a way of penning my thoughts on paper so often.  He writes of Advent and waiting:

Just imagine what Mary was actually saying in the words, “I am the handmaid of the Lord.  Let what you have said be done to me” Luke 1:38.  She was saying “I don’t know what tis all means, but I trust that good things will happen”.  She trusted so deeply that her waiting was open to all possibilities.  And she did not want to control them.  She believed that she when she listened carefully, she could trust what was going to happen.

To wait open-endedly is an enormously radical attitude toward life.  It is trusting that something will happen to us that is far beyond our own imaginings.  It is giving up control over our future and letting God define our life.  It is living with the conviction that God moulds us according to God’s love and not according to our fear.  The spiritual life in which we wait, actively present to the moment, expecting new things will happen to us, new things that are far beyond our own imaginination or prediction.  That, indeed, is a very radical stance in a world preoccupied with control.

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I couldn’t say it any better than the last paragraph.  In order to wait, we must give up control, trusting God to work.  He is not slow to keep his promises.  But we know through His word that His Spirit is with us always, guiding and leading us.  And that, in and of itself is a promise fulfilled and alive in us.

So in this season as we celebrate Emmanuel, “God with Us”, Jesus, remember he is still with us, by His Spirit.  And still, Christ will comeagain for us.  “Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord.”… 1 Thess. 4:17.

 

perhaps

They say you cannot walk before you crawl
I wonder why, I wonder why
Because everybody dreams before they fall
A wonder world and then we lose it all

But I will dream of tomorrow 
Where the past will not be in my way 
Passion lives another day 
And I will dream of tomorrow 
Where perhaps she’ll wait for me 

And every single heart that I have held
In my hands, in my clumsy hands
I fumbled them around until they fell
It’s much safer ground just keeping to myself

But I still dream of tomorrow 
Where the past will not be in my way 
Passion lives another day 
And I still dream of tomorrow 
Where perhaps she’ll wait for me 
And perhaps she’ll wait for me

Bebo Norman, “Perhaps She’ll Wait”

wait.

it seems like the same conversation happens
again and again
wait, wait, wait
okay.  i’ll wait again

no one to call mine
not that i’m ready for that
but it could be nice
it could be time

somehow you always seem to see me
see me for who i actually am
the good and not so good
the grand and not so grand

but how can i know?
how could i possibly decide?
residing in between fear and regret
is peace

this is the way, walk in it
that’s all i want to hear
to make a decision without question
to take a step without wondering

somehow we figure out how to survive
between the tension of believing
and doubting
and trusting with faith

i think i might need you, too
but only time will tell
only after letting my heart loose
will i know exactly where it lies

waiting is my joy,
my curse, my friend
alone is where i will lay and stay
waiting is where i will remain