Monday, August 3, 2020

the fruit of waiting

All around us we observe a pregnant creation.  The difficult times of pain throughout the world are simply birth pangs.  But it’s not only around u; it’s within us.  The Spirit of God is arousing us within.  We’re also feeling the birth pangs.  These sterile and barren bodies of ours are yearning for full deliverance.  That’s why waiting does not diminish us, any more than waiting diminishes a pregnant mother.  We are enlarged in the waiting.  We, of course, don’t see what is enlarging us.  But the longer we wait, the larger we become, and the more joyful the expectancy. (Romans 8:22-25, The Message)

Waiting is such an interesting phenomenon.  It is a spiritual practice that appears to be passive, yet is far more active than we would ever imagine.  It is a season in which it seems like nothing of value is going on, when the truth is that big things are going on that we know nothing about.  It is a time when it looks like God is up to absolutely nothing, when, in actuality, God is doing something more than we dare to ask for or dream about.  In fact, it is through seasons of waiting that God does some of his very best work, if we are careful not to miss the journey for the destination.
     
The problem is that we often get so focused on the desired results of our waiting that we forget that the bigger, more valuable part of waiting may well involve what God is doing within us as we wait.  That’s the part we miss.  And, yet, it is the only part we can really do anything about—we can pay careful attention.
     
I think that’s why I like this section on Romans 8 so much.  It reminds us that waiting is not as much static, as it is dynamic.  It is always intended to accomplish something, not only around us, but within us.  Through waiting, God is arousing and enlarging and expanding and growing and stretching us.  We just can’t allow ourselves to get so consumed with what we are waiting for, that we miss what he is trying to accomplish in us.    
     
It reminds me of the last scene in the movie Field of Dreams.  Ray has been on an epic adventure, trying to figure out what the voices he has been hearing mean and who they have been leading him to.  At first, he thinks the whole journey is about Shoeless Joe Jackson, and then about Terrance Mann, and then about Moonlight Graham.  Until finally he recognizes that one of the players who has been playing baseball in his field is his dad, as a much younger man.  And when he recognizes his dad, he says, “It was you,” thinking that the entire journey had been about easing his dad’s pain.  But no sooner had these words been spoken, than Shoeless Joe, standing out by the cornfield responds, “No Ray, it was you.”  The whole journey had been about Ray’s healing all along.
     
I don’t know about you, but so often, in my waiting, I make the same mistake.  I think the entire thing is about someone coming around or something coming about, when what God is really trying to get me to notice is what he is doing in me as a result of the waiting.
     
So today, instead of focusing on that thing or that person or that event you have been waiting for, focus instead on what God is doing in you as a result of the waiting.

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