Waiting is no easy thing. In fact, it takes quite a bit of effort. But effort in a much different way than we are used to. There is a letting go that is necessary in waiting: a letting go of control and opinion and agenda; a letting go of strength and power and adequacy. Waiting is the place where we have to come face to face with our inability to make things happen for ourselves. Thus, it can be an incredibly humbling process.
But waiting is not only about letting go, there is also a taking hold that is necessary. We must begin to embrace—rather than deny—our own vulnerability, dependence, and weakness. For the scriptures clearly tell us that “When we are weak, we are strong.” (2 Cor. 12:10) Waiting puts us in a place where we must confront our own nothingness and find that it is not an enemy, but a friend. It has something of incredible value to teach us, if we are willing to listen.
Therefore, waiting is never passive, but always active. It involves the movement from clenched fists to open hands. For clenched fists can never receive anything. And, in the end, waiting is always about receiving. It is about realizing that we cannot control or contrive or manipulate God into giving us anything, we must simply learn to wait with open hands to receive whatever he decides to give, whenever he decides to give it. Thus, our hope is not in our own efforts, gifts, and abilities, but in his grace alone, which is always sufficient.