Tag Archives: Waiting

Work and Wait

man wearing blue scrub suit and mask sitting on bench

Photo by Jonathan Borba on Pexels.com

The Divide

Right now there is a tremendous divide in our nation as together we face the COVID-19  pandemic.  Those who work and those who wait.

The Essential Work

Many millions of people are overwhelmed and overworked: doctors, nurses, and other health care workers; public health officials and scientists, government leaders and grocery clerks, mask producers and delivery drivers. A member of my congregation cleans the local hospital’s ICU and she is worried and burdened by the challenges she sees.  They are our front-line workers in the desperate battle to mitigate and eventually end the pandemic.

They need our prayers and unwavering support.

Almighty God, we call out to you for help.  Your children are being overwhelmed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Bring strength, compassion, and hope to all who are working day and night to stop this pandemic. Guide our leaders with your wisdom.  Empower the nations to work together.   We cannot do this without your grace and power.  Amen.

The Essential Wait

Yet as millions work and work to find a way through this pandemic, tens of millions are at home not sure what to do.  I am writing this post primarily for those who are staying home, waiting for the pandemic to pass,    And waiting is so hard.

As Americans we hate to wait.  Our culture values action, doing, and productivity.   We are measured by what we accomplish.    We become restless if we don’t have something to do.   We want instant gratification and satisfaction.  We hate to wait.

But now so many must wait.

Perhaps, just perhaps, this is our opportunity to learn how to wait?  How to simply be?

Those who wait on the Lord will renew their strength.  (Isaiah 40:31)

Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord! (Psalm 27:14)

Be still and know that I am God.  (Psalm 46:10)

Rather than learning to wait and be patient, many of us are practicing panic, worry, and anxiety.  We become overly saturated with news and information.   We succumb to despair rather than abide in hope.

Many spiritual practices that can help in the waiting.  Scripture study and meditation is one; hymn singing and chanting is another.  Many are finding new ways to volunteer, even in this season of social distancing.

The practice that I have embraced in recent years is Centering Prayer, a form of Christian meditation that I practice daily.   I have written about this in other posts of my blog: here and here.   You can also learn more at Contemplative Outreach.  The practice of Centering Prayer deepens my trust in God and continues to transform my life from the inside out.

Perhaps this is your season to begin such a practice?  In the next week or two I will be starting an online centering prayer group though the online Meditation Chapel.   I will have more information in the coming days on this blog.

Centering Prayer will not be an instant pacifier.  But it can help you learn to wait and stay calm as the present storm intensifies.

How are you handling this time of waiting?


Seek or Wait?

Pastor John hiking in Cascade Mountains of Washington

Tomorrow Psalm 27 will be read in worship.    Psalm 27 begins with a powerful insight, “The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?”  God is a light to our path, but the path can be difficult, strenuous, challenging.  We fear what is ahead so we try to make our own way.   Our fear leads us a way from God, like a backpacker who leaves the trail for what he thinks is a short-cut, only to discover that he is lost and alone. 

That lost, alone person needs to get back on God’s path, but how?  The psalmist gives us two hints in how to retrace our steps.  In Psalm 27:8 the psalmist writes,  “Come,” my heart says, “seek his face!” Your face, Lord, do I seek.  When we have gotten off trail and are lost, we need to admit that we are lost and we need God’s direction.   To seek God’s face is to seek intimacy with God, to have a direct face-to-face conversation with our creator and savior.  This is an action of the heart, more than the mind.

But then the psalmist gives wisdom on how to seek God’s face.  In verse 14,  Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!  This can be difficult in our instant response world.   We expect God to immediately answer our requests.   Waiting can be so difficult.  Lost backpackers are instructed to find a safe place and wait for the rescue team to find them.  Their inclination is to go thrashing about in the woods, but that only makes rescue more difficult. 

Seek the Lord’s face.  Wait on the Lord.  Still wise words for us to heed in our daily walk with God. 

How do you seek or wait on the Lord?