Waiting on God
written by Rev Gary Heard
THERE is a well-known prayer which runs along the lines of "Lord, give me patience - and hurry up about it!" Have you ever felt the heart of that prayer in your own life? We live in an instant world, which can provide almost anything at the drop of a hat - instant coffee, instant food, instant conversation (at least that is what the telephone offers), instant information, even instant gratification. Get-rich quick schemes abound - do a quick stock-take on the number of gambling opportunities which promise quick and easy wealth. We are being slowly convinced that almost anything can be gained quickly and easily. Even in the church we see the impact of this mentality: this or that experience will bring you into full relationship with God as never before - just reach out and take it!
This spiritual pushiness can be devastating. What if we try it and nothing happens? Whose agenda are we seeking to fulfil (ours or God's?) What understanding of blessing are we taking on when we "push into the presence of God to receive His best?"
One of my favourite verses in scripture is Isaiah 40:31 "Those that wait upon the LORD will renew their strength...." This phrase indicates an active and a passive response on our part. We are actively waiting for God. We are allowing Him to do His own thing, to respond in His own way, seeking only Him. But we are passive. We do nothing unless He moves, unless He speaks, unless He renews. There is a keen balance to find here.
It is OK to express our desires, our urgency, but ultimately we must wait upon God. St Francis of Assissi got the balance right in his unusual prayer: "Lord, give me patience, and hurry up about it!"
July 9, 1995
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