Friday, April 29, 2011

Waiting with God

I realized today that God is not holding anything back from me. So often, I have conceived of my life with God as being a series of steps and long waits in between. The Holy Spirit would show me the next step I was to take, I would (ideally) take it, and then I would wait for the next step. Sometimes the wait would be very long. In these times, I have tended to think that God is training me, disciplining me, teaching me to wait.

In a sense this is true. Over the years, I have gotten more accustomed to this rhythm of stepping and waiting, trusting in God to provide the next step when the time is right. This path has beenTyler and Peter at Eastern Market a training in trust, learning that God is reliable and will give me the guidance I need when I need it, as well as the spiritual sustenance that I need to survive in an often-dark world.

Yet, there has been a shadow side to this model through which I have understood my relationship with God. Often, I think I imagined that the Lord already knew what the next step was going to be, but that he simply held it back from me. I think I imagined God as a parent who forbid me to open my Christmas presents before Christmas morning. I wanted to open my presents, but my Father would not let me!

I do not believe that this is an accurate representation of God's relationship with us. I do not believe that God holds back anything beneficial from us. If there is a next step that is ripe, I believe God reveals it to us. Why wouldn't God? God loves us and wants us to experience the abundant life that his son came to reveal. When I experience times of darkness and uncertainty, when God seems to give no answer to my prayers, I do not believe that God is holding out on me, giving me the silent treatment. When I wait on God forFeet guidance and nothing seems to emerge, I think it is because God is waiting, too.

Because we live in history, the path that Christ leads us in is contingent on the decisions of others. God responds to the choices of humanity, and the next step forward may depend upon how or whether humanity takes the step that is presently before us. Furthermore, the next step for me may be contingent on the decisions of other people. My service to God is in the context of community, and my work will look different depending on the condition of those around me.
If all of this is getting too philosophical, forget it.

To put this all far more simply: I love God. I believe that God does everything to bless and strengthen the creation. I am increasingly convicted that my failure to understand or appreciate how God operates is not a sign of God's failure to treat me right. Instead, it is my failure to see that God has already given me everything that I need for the present moment. I pray for God to teach me greater patience. Remake me, Lord. Create in me a willingness to wait as long as it takes in order to be faithful to you and those whom you love.


Luis Pizarro said...

Micah, very good post. I agree with you in what you say. Moreover, you express it in a very inspiring way.

Paula said...

Good morning, Micah,

As always, you write so well.

I wonder if my recent experiences might be helpful to you. I have been through some difficult spiritual exercises over the past several months--including having an extensive character sketch laid out for me in meeting one day, which left me gasping and weeping for days. I had known God was good, and as painful as the showings were, I was so grateful and overjoyed to have been so blessed.

And then I began offering every experience to God, and waiting for Light. After several occasions in which God was silent, I had another showing in meeting, in which God lifted a burden from my back and set it in the road, and driving me away from the burden.

I was overjoyed by this blessing, of course! And yet, two weeks later, I picked up the burden again. I can't seem to leave it alone. It presents itself to me at odd times, and immediately I am recaptured by it! So I sat in meeting again, asking for help, receiving no answer.

But after a long worship time, I finally got an answer: "I have already helped you with this burden. You must now do your homework, to determine why you like this burden so much."

Well, I'm still carrying that burden. But God's initial silence taught me something. I looked back at several other instances in which God was silent and realized that God gave us reason. Sometimes, in addition to waiting and listening, we will not receive an answer because we are expected to be able to use our life experience and love of God to make a good choice. And in such cases, it could be that the decision is not important enough for God to tell us what to do. Whatever the choice, it is acceptable.

Yours in the Light, Paula

Quaker Jane said...


The might find Samuel Neale interesting reading . . .

Anonymous said...

very well said, micah, you went beyond what
words can say, and said it anyway,- wcb