I’ve heard that one of the most difficult spiritual disciplines is waiting. Scripture frequently reminds us to wait on the Lord. A life theme of mine this year has been I wait and God moves. So, what are you waiting for in your life right now? You may want to pause for a few moments, and ask yourself and God that question.
It seems we all have things that are pending in our lives. What we hope will happen or fear might come to pass. A decision to be made that we are uncertain about. A heart’s desire that we have prayed for over a long period of time, or something we are wrestling with that we would prefer to be resolved. Old wounds that linger on. So often I want these things to just be done!!
Yet I have been told to never underestimate the power of simply waiting for God’s grace to move. I trust that while waiting, I have an opportunity to experience the intimacy of being drawn like a magnet into the Divine Presence. Something in me can be created anew, restored, and made holy. I offer to God the hospitality of a soul ready to grow. I rest in God’s presence like a seed in the darkness of the earth, or a child in its mother’s womb. I embrace the waiting and ask God to transform me. At least, these are what my heart desires.
“Come to me heedfully, listen, that you may have life.” Isaiah 55:3
Those in-between times in life are waiting times. They offer those of us who like to do the gift of simply lingering with the Lord, pondering what really matters in His eyes. What endures. And in the meantime, we can practice living well as St Benedict describes in his Rule for living:
Live life normally
Live life thoughtfully
Live life profoundly
Live life well.
The Rule of Benedict
In the waiting, we learn to listen with a simplicity of heart. To clear away the clutter and enter into the daily practice of deep listening. We are encouraged that simply longing for God is a good prayer.
“It is not what you are or what you have been that God sees with all merciful eyes, but what you desire to be.”
Cloud of Unknowing
As we wait, we ask God to prune away the obstacles that weaken our communion with Him. To cut away the old dead wood.To anoint those places that need healing with a glance of Divine love. We may ask ourselves how we feel about God leading us into the deepening places of our lives? What might be asked of us? How do we feel about that? We can ask God to help us be open to Him. To surrender our need for certainty. To practice obedient listening while believing that God is also listening to us. How do you feel when you think about God listening to you?
You might ask Him questions like:
Where are you in this, Lord?
What are you asking of me now, Lord?
God can teach us how to live attentively listening for His voice. We must also pay attention to what feelings are most potent in us, and what God has to say to us through them.
Often, we need to listen again and again as our first listening may not be the final truth at all. A most dangerous god can be clinging to our own wills. It takes much time to discern God’s will, and even longer to courageously follow it.
As we move toward that great death at the end of life, we pass through many little deaths along the way. Our hope is that a new person is born out of struggle. Beauty is lifted out of our wrestling with the Lord. There will be times when God asks us to sink down below the storm, below the anxiety, where the peace of Christ waits for us. Our inner pilgrimage to the promised land of God’s heart.
Here is a Scripture that gently speaks to me giving me peace and hope. If I’m bold enough, I might even say that is shows me that I am dear to God! Can you allow yourself to feel dear to God? Ponder His words to us:
“God remains in us, and His love is brought to perfection in us.” 1 John 4:12
We wait on the Lord with the assurance that He waits with us, and He is perfecting His love in us. Little by little, we can love like God loves allowing Jesus to rule the world from our hearts. That certainly is something worth waiting for!
Reflect on these words as if God were saying them to you as you wait:
Abide in me as I abide in you.
Remain in me as I remain in you.
Stay rooted in me as I stay rooted in you.
Live on in me as I live on in you.
**This blog was inspired by the words of Sister Macrina Wiederkerhr in her reflections, Abide: Keeping Vigil with the Word of God. I’ve enjoyed spending my summer with her writings. Sister Macrina passed away last year. May her words live on in and through all those souls whose lives she touched.