+ Psalm 27:14 Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!
+Psalm 37:7 Be still before the Lord, and wait patiently for God…
+Psalm 40:1 I waited patiently for the Lord; God inclined to me and heard my cry…
+Psalm 62:1 For God alone my soul waits in silence…
+Psalm 69:3 I am weary with my crying; my throat is parched. My eyes grow dim with waiting for my God…
+Psalm 130:6 my soul waits for the Lord- more than those who watch for the morning…
+ Psalm 104:27 All creatures wait for You To give them their food in due season…
Today, I needed a good word on waiting.
I spent yesterday afternoon in the bedroom of a beautiful, bold woman waiting to pass on. Her family gathered by her side. We watched every breath she took. We saw her chest fill with air and exhale as we waited and wondered: when would be her last? When will eternal peace come? When will we be forced to say goodbye?
On the other end of the spectrum, two people we love are waiting for their first child to be born. Every day- a new sense of longing and wonder: when will we all meet this new little person? When will this new life begin?
Waiting can be a spiritual practice. We must have faith in God’s vision and wisdom when we wait.
This business of waiting challenges me and follows me in my ministry every day. But, in the spirit of confession- I must admit: I am not a patient person. This is not a new development. I was born with impatience.
I remember the first time I was told to wait. All dressed up in our tutus, me and the other tiny ballerinas would stand back stage- ready to twirl and leap in front of our audience for our ballet recital. At each downbeat of the music- I would try to move forward-out into the spotlight- but Miss Catherine would hold my shoulder and whisper ‘wait… wait…” until it was our time to dance.
And this scene still plays out today. Don’t you know the feeling of waiting in the wings- longing to leap out ahead into this exciting world of possibilities and opportunities and adventure- only to feel that slight tug on your shoulder saying ‘wait… wait…’
Waiting, praying, listening, and waiting some more: this is the refrain of the ministerial life.
We wait with those we love as the spirit calls them home. We wait with those who anticipate new birth, new life.
We wait with our congregations as we ask the question: what is our future vision, what is our future mission?
We wait with our community to see: who are we meant to invite, to shepherd, to welcome?
Most of all: faith calls us to wait for God’s intervention and intentions to be revealed. We do not do ministry alone. We do not set our own ministry agenda, or plan, or direction, instead, we trust in the Holy Spirit to do this work. But waiting for God’s voice can be challenging- especially for those of us born without patience.
The Psalmists knew something about the agony of waiting. As I thumbed through a Bible concordance looking for the Psalmists words on waiting- I felt like they were telling my story: a parched throat, a hunger, eyes growing dim… this is the story of waiting.
Much like those little ballerina’s behind the curtain, we must all wait for the moment when God will whisper: “Go-now it’s your time to dance.”