Posts Tagged ‘waiting’

tentWe don’t cry out much anymore. I mean, if I cried out from that deepest place, I’d probably be put in a straitjacket. So much. Just started pulling out of muck and felt a bit of hope again, then another disappointment, another unexpected challenge. I understand why people drown. Too much water.

Out of the depths I cry to you, Lord;
     Lord, hear my voice.
Let your ears be attentive
    to my cry for mercy. . .
I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits,
    and in his word I put my hope.
I wait for the Lord
    more than watchmen wait for the morning,
    more than watchmen wait for the morning. [Psalm 130:1-2, 5-6]

I have my faith. Relax.

But I am crying out, down in that private place only God knows about; the place I reserve for tear collecting, the place I hide, the place I wait. No one can really tell. It’s small and protected. Like a fantasy tale, that place changes shape depending on my state of heart. Sometimes, like today, it’s covered in sound absorbing quilts. Not a black hole yet.


Read Full Post »

Photo Art by Cathleen Tarawhiti

Photo Art by Cathleen Tarawhiti

Like most Christians, I have been under the impression that the Jewish understanding of the Messiah was the same as the one I have been taught, that God foretold through the prophets, a savior. But that is not completely the case.

When the people saw that he had done a miraculous sign [feeding the 5,000], they said, “This is truly the prophet who is coming into the world.”  Jesus understood that they were about to come and force him to be their king, so he took refuge again, alone on a mountain. [John 6:14-15, CEB]

It is true that the Jews were looking for a “mashiach” (a better translation of the word מָשִׁ֫יחַ according to Judaism 101 website) which means anointed compared to “moshiah” (a word more readily translated as savior). The idea of anointing a king can be seen throughout the the Old Testament, from Saul to David and so on. And in many ways, the English word Messiah means the same, but according to the Judaism 101 scholar/writer, the Christian view of “savior” has overtaken the Jewish concept. Whether this is really true, I don’t know, but I found the discussion interesting.

What resonates most deeply for me however is the idea of waiting and what or who I might be waiting for. How easily I might miss the person or thing or experience if my bias drives my waiting. If I am waiting for a king (a lion) who will, with authority and might, overthrow my circumstances to make all things right, then I would be hard-pressed to see the sacrificial lamb, who is more interested in the “long game” than the individual “play.”

I had never heard that term before: the long game, until recently while watching old seasons of the television series, Homeland. Apparently, this is not uncommon in the “intelligence” world and spy business. Nor had I considered that the work of Christ, the Savior, is a very long game, a very long investment, a twist in the human plot that changes the direction of the world. For that cannot be denied, whatever the belief system, the appearance of Jesus was (and is) a fork in the road of humanity.

Jesus could have taken the road of mashiach, for he was anointed. And he could have overthrown the Roman empire, I have no doubt. Instead, he presented the paradox of faith in the unseen, good overcoming evil, sacrifice replacing power and set it in motion. And in this long game, we can all play a part; we can choose to engage or not.

In my own life, I have set myself up for a number of disappointments by investing my energies in a dream, or rather my interpretations of the dream. I have grasped onto a good idea in lieu of the great idea because I have been impatient or short-sighted. I got caught up in conquering instead of serving, rushing forward instead of waiting, anticipating the endgame instead of living the day itself. I have been chasing the lion.

Like the populace who lined the streets of Jerusalem with Jesus rode in on a donkey, they cried “Hosanna” which can be translated as not just “save us” but “save us now!” They could not see or hear what Jesus was saying all along, “I am saving you, for eternity.”

Read Full Post »

Waiting is hard enough; now I understand I must wait with an attitude . . . a good one.

I remain confident of this:
    I will see the goodness of the Lord
    in the land of the living.
Wait for the Lord;
    be strong and take heart
    and wait for the Lord. [Psalm 27:13-14, NIV]

I’m thinking it’s really not about the waiting at all. I’m thinking the message is about faith, and once I am secure in the goodness and Presence of God, waiting becomes a by-product. I don’t need to be concerned about time or results then.

Confidence is built on a foundation of belief. This reality is not just in the spiritual realm but in anything I tackle. Of course, misplaced beliefs can morph into obsessions. Not good. In fact, the more I think about it, the only safe place for faith is in God alone. Despite their best efforts (including my own), people will disappoint, things will break, circumstances will change, colors will fade.

Photo by Henri Cartier-Bresson, 1956

Photo by Henri Cartier-Bresson, 1956

One other requirement: I must look (really look) to see the goodness of God in this world. My eyes are too often blinded; my brain so much in high gear, that I miss the moment. I miss the “yes” of life.

“But as for me, I enjoy shooting a picture. Being present. It’s a way of saying, “Yes! Yes! Yes!” It’s like the last three words of Joyce’s “Ulysses,” which is one of the most tremendous works which have ever been written. It’s “Yes, yes, yes.” And photography is like that. It’s yes, yes, yes. And there are no maybes. All the maybes should go to the trash, because it’s an instant, it’s a moment, it’s there! And it’s respect of it and tremendous enjoyment to say, “Yes!” Even if it’s something you hate. Yes! It’s an affirmation.” [Henri Cartier-Bresson]


Read Full Post »

waitingI usually berate myself when time and circumstances change my patterns. I think, “Oh no, I’ve dropped out of grace again and I’m sliding down the slippery slope of inattention to the things of God.” But am I?

You, however, should stand firm in the love of God, constructing a life within the holy faith, praying the Spirit’s prayer, as you wait eagerly for the mercy of our Lord Jesus the Anointed, which leads to eternal life. [Jude 1:20-21, Voice translation]

Always dreaming of a future life, I imagined so many things: the perfect family, the perfect job, fame, fortune, respect, and a certain level of material possessions (growing with each year, of course). I would be a deep thinker and a luminous communicator. I would be Job before the tragedies took everything away from him (see Job 29:13-25). But unlike Job, I wasn’t looking back on such a life, I looked forward, still hoping it would come, some breakthrough, some coming together of the stars, some magic.

I am reminded of my mother, who at 90, sorrowed and complained often, “What should I do with the rest of my life?” In some ways, it’s charming, this idea that anything could still happen. But I knew the truth of it, it was more about a certain disappointment in what was, what had been. The life she had lived was not the life she had dreamed.

Each life has a rhythm. We can live in that rhythm or go counterpoint to it. Each life has seasons. The seasons may be challenging or boring. They may be mundane or full of excitement. But I see clearly today, the time must be embraced for what it is and not for what it could be.

As a believer in the Christ Spirit within, this “being-ness” is even more critical because it is Spirit that sets the beat.

I am always looking for life to happen faster: either I’m trying to get through the tough spots quicker or leap over the boring spots. But if I can be centered in the unity of soul, in the marriage of my spirit with Christ, then, each moment counts again.

In Christ, that is the key. And anything else is kicking against the “goads” [Acts 26:14].

Waiting in Christ (in Spirit) is different than any other kind of waiting. It is not filled with expectations. It is not building pictures of the next moment or next year. It is rest and trust and confidence. It is “yes.”

So, what prevents me from becoming a slug, a beached whale? Waiting in Christ includes action, but God-breathed. In the Spirit place of waiting, God’s voice is clear and the next step certain.

Like the many paradoxes of faith, this is one more: waiting in Christ is the most active choice of all. It is the womb of miracles.


Read Full Post »

Despite the fact the Ishmael means “God hears” or “God listens,” the name has become symbolic for being cast out or cast aside. And, isn’t it fascinating that Abraham, the father/patriarch of nations, was also the father of the Arab nations as well as Israelites? If you think the Adam and Eve story caused havoc in Human, what about this one?

Genesis 16:11-12
The angel of the Lord also said to her [Hagar]: “You are now pregnant and you will give birth to a son. You shall name him Ishmael, for the Lord has heard of your misery. He will be a wild donkey of a man; his hand will be against everyone  and everyone’s hand against him, and he will live in hostility towardall his brothers.”

So here are the traits of a donkey [originally wild ass]: hard working (have been used for work over 5000 years); used as pack animals and able to carry large weight for long distances; associated with the idea of people living at or below subsistence levels [the animal of the poor]; they can live anywhere from 10 years to 50 years, depending on their lifestyle and owners; adaptable; solitary; a male donkey’s [jack] bray can be heard over long distances — as much as 3 kilometers; hear well; fight defensively and persistently; they can interbreed which accounts for mules [bred with a horse]; and above all, stubbornness.

The stubbornness of a donkey is based on self-preservation. If a donkey believes circumstances are dangerous, it will resist. Otherwise, donkeys are also known for being friendly, intelligent, playful, and willing to learn.

So, is this such a terrible comparison, to be called a donkey of a man? It wouldn’t have to be except that the dominance of stubbornness seems to prevail over all of the other things. And stubbornness in anyone is a recipe for disaster. In a way, both Abram and Sarai were also stubborn. For Abram, it was called faithfulness, his conviction that God would follow through on His promises.

For Sarai, her stubbornness came into play by taking circumstances into her own hands. She may have believed God as well, but she appears to have been a practical woman. She waited ten years for her “miracle” child and decided that was long enough. Abram did not exactly try to dissuade her either. Abram, like Adam, passed over any responsibility to his spouse. Even when things went awry and Hagar, elevated from mere handmaid to surrogate, began testing the waters of her authority; Abram cast the solution back on Sarai.

I have always aligned myself with Sarai. I have her tendencies. I have her stubbornness. Once I believe I have the the answer or the solution and the track has been laid, I walk it with a vengeance.

I remember standing at the end of the aisle (at 18) waiting to walk toward my first marriage. In that moment, I knew I was making a terrible mistake. But of course, the path had been laid, and so I walked it. We lasted five years, but in the end, I was too immature to handle it and unfortunately, another dream became my obsession and I pursued that one (to move to New York and acting school) with the same singleness of purpose.

Most of the time, I believe we [Human] err because of our sense of time.

Even today, my husband (of 30 years by the way), bemoaned a familiar truth: “everything I start to do always takes longer than I think it will, whether it’s editing a video or fixing a faucet.” So true. It is “time” itself that we try to manipulate. But “time” will not bend to our will. “Time” is God’s domain and His alone to metamorphose.

Here’s the short of it. I accept my stubbornness and realize there are occasions when that is useful (when it’s called persistence) and instances when it gets in the way. Now I want to know and practice the difference,  to remember that I cannot control the outcomes of every situation: to trust God’s time.

Mary Karr, in her memoir Lit, tells of a fellow AA goofball she asked about “God’s will.” How to know when to act. And his answer is so apropos, we wait and stay the course until God tells us to do something else.

Most of us bemoan not knowing or hearing God’s voice because we act before the time. Simple.

Read Full Post »

Waiting for the second coming is really no different than waiting for answered prayer. They both require faith and an active participation in the waiting process.

I Corinthians 1:5, 7
For in him you have been enriched in every way—in all your speaking and in all your knowledge . . . Therefore you do not lack any spiritual gift as you eagerly wait for our Lord Jesus Christ to be revealed.

Like the servant who has grown lazy because the Master has tarried and therefore, the servant chooses to act dishonorably, so could our situation be if we are not faithful [Matthew 24:50].

Waiting is not easy.

So often, we use the length of the waiting period as an excuse for all kinds of bad choices and bad behavior. I know how angry I become when I’m waiting for someone. I keep checking my watch and with each minute beyond the expected time, I become more and more aggravated. And why? Because it’s all about me. I’ve made the delay a direct affront on me and my so-called precious time. (And yet, I myself run late on a regular basis — and unfortunately, it’s for the same reason: it’s all about me! What I am doing in the moment has become more important than arriving on time. That’s inexcusable really and as I write it, I am embarrassed.)

So, my first correction must be a personal one. Part of my “waiting” for Christ needs to be other-focused. Some people refer to this as “my witness,” which means my behavior should reflect and edify my Leader, my Boss, my Lord, and my God. We are asked to do this in the business world all the time. When we are out in public, we represent our companies or other organizations. Is this any different? It’s part of the “rules of engagement” that we agree to when we enter into relationships.

Whether it’s a marriage or a family, a neighborhood or a company, a church or a club, we reflect the make-up of that group by our behaviors and style.

Jesus said, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

This is the key to waiting. So simple.

Read Full Post »

I love this idea of creation waiting for something momentous to happen: the spiritual rebirth of its humans. Despite all of the sorrow that people have brought to the earth, we can still redeem it.

Romans 8:18
The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons [and daughters] of God to be revealed.

The trick to this redemption is in the our discovery of the Christ spirit within. When human beings come into their perfection, creation will do the same. That’s all so mysterious and “woo-woo” but I still like the idea.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

%d bloggers like this: