They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint. —Isaiah 40:31
But you must return to your God; maintain love and justice, and wait for your God always. —Hosea 12:6
When I look at the world around me I see many ways in which we fall short of living into God’s Kingdom. I see many needs going unmet and many wrongs being done. I want to do something to put things right. The problem is knowing where to start. When I look at the land and people in my own community, when I listen to friends and family and neighbors, when I attend to the news, I am confronted with far too many good causes urgently requiring time and money and emotional energy and commitment.
Too often I alternate between two unhelpful responses. Sometimes I fling myself into the projects that clamor most insistently for my attention, I say “yes” until I am run ragged and have no more to give and can’t help but say “no”. Sometimes I distract myself with busywork or daydreams from thinking about all the good work that I am not doing. Neither approach allows me to live with integrity, peace or joy. Neither approach builds the Kingdom, either. When I work frantically I jump to conclusions, miss important pieces of information, look at problems too narrowly and do as much harm as good. When I distract myself I accomplish nothing.
There is another way: waiting on the Lord. This doesn’t mean doing nothing until some grand voice or vision breaks into my consciousness. This does mean doing the work that is necessarily mine, with the place and the people already entrusted to me, with care and attention, rather than rushing through it in hopes of making time for something more dramatic. It means holding my neighbors and my daily tasks in prayer, which may sometimes make me aware of a need or an opening for growth that had been hidden from me by my own busyness. It means keeping some time for silent waiting, listening for what else God may call me to do. Such waiting requires me to make space in my days, away from my tasks and distractions, and to keep space in my heart, away from prejudices and illusions.
The tasks laid on each of us will be different, but I believe that we are all called to lay by our preoccupations, maintain love and justice and wait for our God always.