Active Waiting

October 3, 2013

Richard L. Floyd

"It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord." - Lamentations 3:26

Over the last several years I have spent my share of time waiting in doctors' offices: waiting to be seen, waiting for tests, waiting for news. I don't like this waiting, and I am never sure just what to do with the lost time. Sometimes I people-watch while I wait; sometimes I just stare into the middle distance. Sometimes I read old magazines, which is the only reason I know that Brad and Angelina have adopted a bunch of kids or who Lindsay Lohan is.

This type of waiting is passive. It is just killing time.

There's a whole lot of waiting going on in the pages of the Bible, but it is a different kind of waiting. There's an active quality to the waiting. It is an act of faith in the God who is Lord of time and history.

In the Psalms, in Isaiah, and elsewhere we hear of the faithful waiting quietly in the midst of their troubles, and the troubles of their broken world. They didn't have our distressing 24-hour news cycle, but they still knew their world was often a cruel, unjust and broken-hearted one.

So they waited, quietly and prayerfully for the One who would bring about the changes in them and their world that they longed for.

And then as now this active waiting changes people. Those who wait for healing tend to become healers. Those who wait for justice and for peace tend to become peacemakers and justice seekers. And as we work for what we wait for, we get enough glimpses of God's new future to give us the gift of hope.

Prayer

Great is your faithfulness, Lord. Your steadfast love never ceases. Inhabit our waiting, and give us hearts full of hope in your promised future. Amen.

About the Author
Richard L. Floyd is Pastor Emeritus of First Church of Christ (UCC) in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, and author of A Course In Basic Christianity and When I Survey the Wondrous Cross: Reflections on the Atonement. He blogs at richardlfloyd.com.
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