FROM THE PASTOR
We have been in an intense season of uncertainty and waiting. Will this ever lift? What will be the final cost of this experiment in governmental control?
Everyone has to wait at some time, but not all waiting is the same. There is a big difference between waiting for Christmas and waiting for a root canal. The first, especially if you are young, involves tantalizing anticipation. The days pass slowly; or hardly at all. The date hangs out there at the very end of the calendar impossibly far away. The second usually involves significant dread. It also hangs on the calendar; but more like a vulture than a red letter day. It is tempting to create a reason to move it to another date. Only the painful reminder in your mouth keeps it anchored in its place.
Yet there in much in common between the two experiences. Both involve an upcoming event which stands out from common day-to-day experiences. Every day can’t be Christmas, and fortunately, every day does not require a root canal. The target date has been set. Christmas is always on December 25. A call to the dentist put the unwelcome procedure on their calendar. Happy or sad, fast or slow, the days can be counted down to the event. Waiting essentially involves filling the days between today and that unique day.
Now, both of these examples involve a set date. Christmas is marked on every calendar. It will eventually arrive. Apart from a miracle, I will end up in the dentist chair with fingers and equipment jammed in my mouth. We can count the days and hours left in our wait.
Yet, we must also wait on less precise events. Sometimes we can not know the target date. Waiting for a new job, and finding a mate fall into this category. Mom may have a wedding date marked on her calendar, but that is not enough to make it happen. It takes agreement from many more people. The word may be out that companies are hiring, but that does not secure a starting date for my new job. This kind of wait is open ended.
What is needed here is active waiting. We must keep looking while we wait. We don’t know where or when we will find our goal. Fortunately, each search has some limits. It can be focused to some degree. We are not qualified for every job or suited for every mate. Still, the search can be long and wide. We must submit a large number of applications and make a point of meeting many people of the opposite sex. We can certainly increase our odds of reaching our goal, yet not guarantee our success.
It is hard to wait for Christmas. It is even harder to wait with no guarantee that the wait will achieve its goal. I may be seeking a good but not necessary thing. God commands us to work, so we can job hunt with considerable confidence. There must be a job out there if God expects me to do it. On the other hand, he does not tell us that we must be married, or live in a safe and peaceful city, or enjoy a free and prosperous America.
Waiting on the Lord usually involves the uncertain kind of waiting. God gives us great and precious promises, but he refuses to mark their expected fulfillment on any calendar. Some of us have great conviction about what he intends to do in our lives, yet we have no specific word from the Lord to confirm this. This means that the Christian life requires much active waiting. We must cultivate an expectation of fulfillment, while patiently waiting for God to act. We must act and wait at the same time.
Here are some questions that may help your active waiting. “Am I waiting for a real promise, or have I created an unrealistic expectation?” “Is there a part I am to play in fulfilling this promise?” “If I do not have a clear promise, are there equally pleasing alternatives that I am overlooking?” “How am I cultivating my belief in the goodness of God while I wait?”