Thursday, November 19, 2009

Hold up!

" Waiting is essential to the spiritual life. But waiting as a disciple of Jesus is not an empty waiting. It is a waiting with a promise in our hearts that makes already present what we are waiting for. We wait during Advent for the birth of Jesus. We wait after Easter for the coming of the Spirit, and after the ascension of Jesus we wait for his coming again in glory. We are always waiting, but it is a waiting in the conviction that we have already seen God's footsteps. Waiting on God is an active, alert--yes, joyful--waiting. As we wait we remember Him for whom we are waiting, and as we remember Him we create a community ready to welcome him when He comes." H. Nouwen 

** Waiting is active--not passive. It is preparation for His coming but also preparation for us to become more of who we are made to be in Him.

I was reading a passage yesterday that stood out to me differently than it has before:

"Abide in Me as I abide in you." It may be that the translation I read struck a different chord. "AS" I abide in you. It doesn't say abide in me, then I will abide in you. It's a simultaneous abiding; it's mutual. It's a place of constant connection. This is a place of simultaneous abiding in which the fruit of the Spirit is manifested in our lives. Actively waiting gives us greater vision of what it means to be constantly abiding.

As we wait, the Vinedresser is pruning us. All the while as parts of us are cut away because they don't bear fruit, we are still very much a part of the vine. Pruning doesn't cause there to be a separation between us and the Vine; rather, it's the Vinedresser removing lifeless limbs. Those fall away, and there the branches are given room and freedom to bear the intended Fruit.

**An active waiting also allows us to be interruptible.

This is something I've been praying for more of--room in my life to be interruptible. All time is His time, but I treat it as my own, precious commodity. I've seen much grace here as I trust Him to provide time to do what He knows I need to do (also for things I get to do :)). This idea of being interruptible has been very closely tied to the idea of worship for me. Being interruptible implies that there is a constant awareness of the Spirit of God actively moving in and through all seconds, minutes and hours of our lives. I want to be present for that. I don't want schedules, for busyness, and for routine to squelch the possibility for being really alive in moments when He is clearly wanting to move and make Himself known. If we're aware of His movements and what He's up to,  we can (we get to) respond appropriately, even immediately, in worship. In other words, if we are constantly waiting on Him, we can constantly be worshipping Him.

I love God's creativity--being open to God's time instead of mine can take shape through unexpected conversations, through stopping long enough to be amazed by a delicate flower, to pray, to sing, to play, to be still, to do someone's dishes, to ask someone how they're doing, etc...

Though the idea of being interruptible might drive us to think in terms of sacrifice (which may very well be true at times--dying to self, placing others before ourselves, etc...), it is freeing; it breaks off the chains that have been a part of lives--those places which have been deeply enslaved to our own desires. Asking God to move in our lives this way removes the shackles of selfishness. To be interruptible means to be free to worship.

This semester, I was able to meet someone quite special-- a classmate of mine. She is of quiet and gentle spirit, full of joy and worship. The words I choose here won't do justice the work that God has done in this woman's life, but she is constantly worshipping God--in word and in deed. At any given moment regardless of what's going on, if she senses the Spirit at work, she will stop to thank God for His provision, for His goodness, and for His ability to blow her mind time after time. Never is it done in the look-at-me sense. Anyone around her can simply tell that it's a natural response; she knows nothing other than to thank God. It's almost as though she knows she'd explode if she kept it in. Often times her genuine responses to God move me a great deal--this morning I was moved to tears as I thought about the way she worships. I'm humbled, and I desire more of that kind of life. I'm blessed by her faithful heart of worship; it is contagious! Hiromi, you live a life that is interruptible, and I praise God for your lovely heart.


Father, give us Your strength as you incline our hearts to wait on You. Free us up to see you, to serve you, and to respond appropriately to you. As we still ourselves before you, May we see the weight of your glory. 

1 comment:

Me said...

Your word choice is premium. You are gifted in putting words together to make connections in a humans mind, thank you for sharing your mind and heart!