Friday, August 15, 2014

A Multitude of Pauses

What's your view on waiting? Do you enjoy it? Do you look forward to it? Yesiree, I can't wait to wait! Not. People generally don't like waiting. Just the idea of having to wait can prevent us from going somewhere good. We don't want to wait in line, we don't want to waste our time. 

Yet waiting is a core piece of the Christian life, and always leads to something good when God is who we're waiting for. And though He knows we get tired of waiting for Him, His antidote for tiredness is to wait! "Those who wait for the LORD will gain new strength; They will mount up with wings like eagles, they will run and not get tired, they will walk and not faint" (Isaiah 40:31).

This practice of waiting for God is meant to be an encouraging constant in our lives. The word "wait" in the Hebrew language means more than our anemic North American idea of waiting. It means to look forward to something eagerly and expectantly. It means "enduring patiently in confident hope that God will decisively act" on behalf of His people (source).

But what makes waiting so unattractive is when it goes on and on and on! And that's often the kind of waiting the Bible speaks about as His people waited decades for deliverance from Babylon, or for centuries for deliverance from Egypt, or even for millenia for the Messiah to come. Like Abraham, I've waited 25 years for a promise to be fulfilled.

And it's because waiting so long can just feel impossible that I make it my aim to wait for God in smaller doses. I can do this by stopping regularly - repeatedly - in the midst of my routines to wait, and to lean in and listen, all with a focus on a gracious God who loves me. All I need to do is to pause...  ...pause in my pursuits and look up, asking God for wisdom, patience or strength. The more I learn to practice such pauses, the more strength I gain, the more wisdom I glean and the more I sense God's presence.

All these minor pauses add up to a lifestyle of waiting for God that makes a long wait seem less wearisome as we repeatedly draw on the strength God supplies every time we stop to lean on Him. So if waiting for God is growing tiring, break it up a bit, and do it many times a day. You'll gain "new strength" every time.

© 2014 by Ken Peters

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