How do we wait? — 3 Postures for our day
Waiting is no one’s favourite stance in the Western world, but it’s where we find ourselves now, waiting for lockdown to end. So how do we wait?
- Turn groans into lament
We all groan, it’s natural, we groan grumble and sigh. Even creation groans, and we, as humans, are not separate from that. It’s part of our salvation because we are saved in hope. At times “we don’t know how we ought to pray”, but the Spirit helps us and does so with groans. This legitimises our groans and shows us that we can bring them to God. Sure Lamentations and the Psalms are made up of laments.
Turning our groans into lament beats doing nothing and grumbling. We are feeling it anyway, there is no point in denying it. And if we don’t express these feelings, it can lead to bitterness or cynicism. So let’s consciously turn to God, in brutal honesty, and this will help us to renew our trust in Him.
Practice it: write down your own lament, use Psalm 13 as a structure and add your words of complaint, then asking, but then turn to trust.
2. We wait eagerly because it’s great
Romans 8:18 reminds us that “our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory”… the future is better. In the reality of COVID, we are called to wait for the glory not just the normality. This is a movement of hope, a movement to something better. Creation and humanity are groaning for freedom, liberation, glory, adoption, & more. Now Paul calls this an “eager” waiting. It’s a longing like kids on Christmas morning, unable to sleep, waking up hourly longing to go downstairs and see what presents await them. Paul himself experiences this kind of longing with regard to glory, in the midst of his sufferings: “I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far.”
“To be a Christian … is to live as a person for whom God’s future shapes the present.”- Richard Bauckham
What do you eagerly await? What excites you about our ultimate future? We have to dwell on it, for longing to awaken within us.
Practice it: 1 minute silence — pick a part of your future and dwell on it now
3. We wait for it patiently because it’s certain
To wait both patiently and eagerly is not a contradiction. It’s a recognition that, in the face of toil and suffering, we are called to persevere and endure. For Paul, this patience springs from the certainty of our hope, because it is all based on Jesus, not on ourselves — “If God is for us, who can be against us?” Jurgen Klopp, the Liverpool manager, was unable to go to Germany for his mother’s funeral. When asked about it, he said this: “She meant everything to me. She was a real mum in the best sense of the word. As a devout Christian, I know she is in a better place now.”
The thoughts and views expressed in this are the author’s own.