"Be strong and let your heart take courage, all you who wait for the Lord." Psalm 31:24
Waiting for the Lord. Oh how we hate to wait! Isn't it so true? I don't know anyone who truly enjoys waiting. And here I find myself as one who waits for the Lord. I don't think the Psalmist would say "be strong and let your heart take courage" if waiting for the Lord was easy and comfortable. It's not a walk in the park, but waiting for the Lord may have an up side. It's like waiting for Christmas morning. The child is bursting with anticipation, eager, expectant, curious, ready to receive. This could be a good spiritual attitude to have--expectant, eager, receptive to the Lord's Word, work and purpose. On the down side, Christmas can also bring out the greed in a child's heart. "How many presents do I get? It's mine! Gimme, gimme!" Likewise, I can sometimes fall into seeing God as the cosmic Santa Claus who gives gifts to good little children and buckets of coal to bad children. "Okay God, I've been good! What's in it for me? Bless me! Where's the good stuff?" The challenge is to be expectant and receptive but also patient and trusting because what we receive may not be our idea of a good gift. We have to trust that what God gives us, good or bad, is part of his perfect plan for our lives, and that is why we are told to be strong and take courage.
So, while I'm courageously and patiently waiting for the Lord, what should I be doing? Twiddling my thumbs?! I get the feeling that we are not called to be passive or sit idly by. God calls us to actively participate in what he is already doing -the stuff we don't have to wait for because it's already happening. This requires eyes that are open to see where God is moving.
All over Scripture and all throughout history there is a thematic dichotomy between the already and the not yet. God is working and moving now, but there are also things yet to be revealed. As I'm waiting for what's still to be revealed, I need to be joining in the work that God is already doing. So I'm beginning to understand that waiting is a gift of time and space not only to rest, recover and hope but also to get to know Jesus more, to learn, study, pray, encourage others and engage in God's Kingdom work.