Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord. Psalm 27:14
Be strong and let your heart take courage, all you who wait for the Lord. Psalm 31:24
When I was a child, it seemed as if Christmas would never arrive. It felt like the end of the school year and summer vacation were always so far away. My grandmother and my best friend, Vicki Sue’s grandmothers were always telling us that anticipation was half the fun. It was not. Waiting is hard. I admit that I am not the most patient of human beings. And if you also do not care much for waiting, be careful not to get in a grocery store line or a line at the bank behind me since I seem to have a real talent for choosing the slowest moving line, no matter how short it may appear.
I remember waiting for Hurricane Fran to strike Alamance County. It grew dark and blustery as I sat in my Saxapahaw UMC office talking with one of my parishioners. I went home to await Fran’s arrival. The storm grew stronger. My three sons and a friend of theirs all went to bed. Rick was on the Rescue Squad, and got called out. The power went out. I could hear trees falling outside, but could see nothing in the darkness. Rick, unbeknownst to me, could not get home after the call because there were trees across every road and rode out that terrible night in his Ford Ranger truck in a parking lot away from as many trees as possible. It was a hard night of waiting in darkness. Eventually, though, the dawn came.
As I write these words, we here in the greater Boston area are awaiting Tropical Storm Isaias. You in New Bern have already endured it. I annoyed (via text messaging) Rick and son, Timothy, in Little Washington, until late last night asking if they had taken care of this or that in readiness for the storm. Finally, both of them told me they would text me in the morning when it was over. Which they did.
Waiting for something, good or bad, is always hard. Sometimes it feels like God is taking forever to answer my prayers. Often that is because God knows that what I have prayed for is not in the best interest of myself or others. There are times when I feel like I want to tell God what I think God should do. For example, I would like to tell God that I think God should just do away with the coronavirus (which is, after all, one of God’s creations just as I am). But that is not my job. God will listen to my prayers with love and grace, but as we are told, God’s time is not our time, and God’s will is not always the same as ours. And sometimes we thwart God’s will by our own acts. For example, if I pray for God to remove the virus, but then go and mingle in crowds and do not wear a mask, I am not helping that along. Maybe our job is simply to wait for the Lord and be strong and take courage, and wait for God’s time.
In the words of Julian of Norwich, “All shall be well. And all shall be well. And all manner of things shall be exceeding well.”
Forth in thy name, O Lord, I go,
my daily labor to pursue;
thee, only thee, resolved to know
in all I think or speak or do.
Gracious and merciful Lord, I admit that there are times when I want what I want, and ask for things I do not need, and try to place my own will above yours. Cleanse me from that selfishness of heart, and give me patience to wait for you. Amen.
Pastor Rachel Moser