This passage from Isaiah was written for me. It sounds like my life. “Lord, help me figure this out.” “Wait.” “Argh! It’s too much! I’ve got to do something!” “Wait.” “I can’t wait! It’s too much!” [time passes] “Well, THAT was a stupid decision.” “I did say, wait.”
I’m sure it’s just me. I’m certain that God has never told you to wait, and then wait some more. I’m the only one. Right?
This, of course, is not to direct waiting at all times and in all places, but only when God says to. Then God adds the hard part, waiting in quietness (i.e., trust) and peace. The linchpin, however, is when to move.
There was a time, many years ago, where I could sit or lay awake quietly for hours. Now? I’m often just a jumping bean in a can.
Waiting is an art. Waiting in quietness and peace is a gift.
Sometimes, we just won’t wait. There can often be good (so we think) reasons. There are other times that we just cannot think beyond ourselves or the hour at hand. Despite all the bad that can happen when we don’t wait, God still promises to be there when we are ready to rest in his embrace.
Rest can be defined as many things. The author of Hebrews talks about the ultimate Sabbath Shalom rest that is beyond this life but can be experienced as a foreshadow in this life. There is always another rest until the final one.
There can also be many types of rest. This is important for often our waiting is a form of resting.
An athlete can only train so much before their body needs to rest and recharge. Many of the most successful entrepreneurs and leaders take a “rest” (sometimes to start their day) just staring out a window. Introverts will often rest by avoiding people (guilty). As a person in a family of 5 introverts, I actually have no clue how extroverts rest (do they?). Perhaps the commandment to rest was directed at extroverts? Not that introverts don’t need to rest, too.
What we can confuse, however, is resting when we are to be waiting (which often involves preparation) and waiting (preparing often for the wrong thing) when we are to be resting.
The beauty of the Church Year (e.g., Lent) is the combination of rest and waiting that are part of the plan. Not that many (even liturgical) churches do it completely, but the intent was to rest in God and wait for God.
- Are you waiting, resting, or waiting and resting for God? How do you tell which one you are doing?
- If you are waiting, do you know what you are waiting for? If you know you are waiting, do you know how you will know to move?
- If you are resting, what are you resting from? If you don’t know what you are resting from, are you really resting?
Lord, many of us feel that we have been waiting together for over a year. While we were waiting, many of us failed to rest. Help us to rest so that we are prepared for the coming storm of your Spirit. Amen.