Isaiah 40 verse 31 – but those who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint. Waiting. What does that idea conjure up for you? Is it just hanging about and waiting? It is bored waiting? Is it waiting with eager anticipation? These days waiting is not very popular. We live in a time of instant everything. We don’t want to wait. Our mantra is rather – let’s go; let’s get on with it!
People don’t want to wait. They are fearful of waiting. But perhaps the problem is that much of our waiting is filled with wishes. I wish things would get better. I wish this were different. I wish that could be resolved. The spiritual writer, Henri Nouwen, (in "The Path of Waiting") reminds us of the importance of letting go of our wishes – and so to just, in the words of Isaiah, wait for the Lord.
Nouwen suggests that we often make our waiting “a way of controlling the future.” He says: “We want the future to go in a very specific direction, and if this does not happen we are disappointed and can even slip into despair. That is why we have such a hard time waiting; we want to do the things that will make the desired events take place.” He adds (and challenges): “To wait open-endedly is an enormously radical attitude towards life. It is trusting that something will happen to us that is far beyond our imaginings. It is giving up control over our future and letting God define our life. It is living with the conviction that God moulds us according to God’s love and not according to our fear.”
The parable of the yeast helps us to get it reminding us that, like the yeast: “God is at work, even though human eyes may fail to perceive what is happening.” (Douglas Hare)