Posted by: Melissa Bane Sevier | August 8, 2012

Waiting

I wait for the LORD, my soul waits, and in his word I hope; my soul waits for the Lord more than those who watch for the morning, more than those who watch for the morning.  O Israel, hope in the Lord!  For with the LORD there is steadfast love...          [from Psalm 130]

          Patience is not considered much of a virtue these days.  We scope out the shortest line in the grocery store, then get annoyed when the line next to us is moving faster than ours.  [Note:  Never get in a checkout line behind me, because I’m always in the slowest one.]  We run red lights to save 30 seconds.  And when we do get caught at a traffic signal, we spend that 30 seconds replying to a text.

          But sometimes waiting is unavoidable. 

          No matter how impatient we are, we cannot hasten a wedding date, or the arrival of a loved one, or the first (or last) day of school. 

          No matter how anxious we become, we still have to wait for  the final score of a game that could determine the end of the season or the beginning of playoffs.

          There is probably no place more aptly named than a “waiting room” at a doctor’s office or health care facility.  There, people wait impatiently for a routine appointment, or in dread to learn of test results.  They wait while someone they care about is in surgery, or just to be there for that few minutes they’re allowed to visit a patient in the ICU.

          When waiting is difficult, even momentous, we experience that sense of helplessness deep in our souls, as did the psalmist.  Like someone who watches for the morning to come, we ache for our long night of waiting to come to an end, and for the time when hope might be renewed in the morning light.

          In the meantime, while we wait, may God send us the people and the internal strength we need to trust that God’s love doesn’t go away in the nighttime of our waiting.

© Melissa Bane Sevier, 2012

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Responses

  1. Melissa…this is exactly what I needed to read this morning! Thank you!

  2. As I read your blog, I thought of the humility, patience, and constancy of David Rule serving the Lord in Stanton his whole ministry. Beside my mouse was the call to worship used Sunday in London: “Those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength – – Isa 40:31. Then i thought of the joke i told in Cynthiana about the guy having the fit waiting on the car in front of him that ignored a green light. If i haven’t already told you, remind me and i’ll let you have it. Thanks for the great thoughts on your blog.

  3. Strange that this blog ruminates about waiting. Last Sunday was the first anniversary of my mother’s death. She died quite unexpectedly of a heart attack and caught all of the family unawares and unprepared. Instead, we were waiting for my father to die as his condition slowly deteriorated at the VA hospital in the Bronx. On the other hand, it was so like my mother to go so quietly and unobtrusively. She always looked after the needs of others first, caring little for hers, which could always come second or even last.
    A couple days before that first anniversary, I dreamt of my mother and father in heaven, holding hands cavorting around heavens landscape, free from worry, pain or physical labor, experiencing the rewards of their long and sometimes tumultuous marital and family life together. So I approached the calendar memory of her death much eased by the dream and its message, recognizing that it might have been little more than a nocturnal wish-dream, yet praying to Jesus that for them it was true.
    For weeks now, I have been meditating about Sunday sermons on the Book of Revelation. As a political scientist by profession, I have written about the apocalyptic strain emanating from that biblical work as it has fueled battle cries for radical change borne of unmitigated hope. Just as I have grown skeptical of the apocalyptic impulse in our politics (think: Jim Jones, David Koresh, etc.), I have developed a Missourian prejudice against end-times scenarios derived from the Book of Daniel and the Book of Revelation. Some theologians read the Johannine apocalypse as heralding a New Heaven and New Earth that takes place in the earthly realm. Given my political critique of the aspiration for apocalyptic change, I side more with this view. What I do borrow from John of Patmos’ book of strange signs, symbols, and tropes is hope—unalloyed hope that people of good will and fierce determination can find ways to bring good things into the world and to make a better life for all.
    In today’s political environment, that hope underscores the need for patience. Those who believe in and fight for social justice and peace in the world are best advised not to be optimists, since there is nothing automatic about their pursuit. They need instead to be people of infinite hope that with human effort and persistence and the grace of God those conditions can fall into place. (Then, of course, the task remains to work together to sustain those circumstances with each new generation.) Not exactly a permanent and final revolution bringing into being a utopia. Just the life-long work of people of bottomless hope and infinite patience dedicated to creating human possibilities that—God willing—will be seen as inevitable. In an odd sort of way, I think my mother taught me that lesson.

    –Ernie Y.

  4. Both Melissa’s words and Ernie’s response lift my heart. Many thanks!
    Melanie R.

  5. Thanks to all for the comments.


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