Wednesday, July 18, 2012

When "Seize the Day" means "Be Still and Wait"

I’m in a season of waiting.

And what I'm being gently convicted of tonight is... If what lays before me is the task of waiting… then why not actually wait with all my heart? Not just endure it, not simply "put in my time", but approach it with grace and eagerness to do what good I can here, glean what wisdom I can here, because I won't be in this season forever and there's a reason I'm in it now. (Whew! How's that for a run-on?)

Have you seen this quote?

If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music, or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well.” (Martin Luther King, Jr.)
Take out the word “street sweeper,” insert the word “waiter” (not in the table-waiting sense of the word, though that would apply just fine too), and you’ve got the lesson God is teaching me tonight.

About a year ago, I was in a different season of waiting… and I wrote the following:
“I waited patiently for the LORD; And He inclined to me, And heard my cry.” (Ps. 40:1)

That phrase- “waited patiently”—it indicates true waiting. Not foot-tapping, wristwatch-checking, exasperated-multitasking-waiting, but ordained, joy-to-be-found-in-my-purpose-here waiting.

Occasionally, some sneaky voice inside urges logistics on me: “what can you do to speed this up?” …and then, faithfully, a different voice- the still, small, and oh-so-mighty voice of truth- calms the coming storm of strategies and timelines with this: “Wait. Wait on me.”

In my devotions I’ve been going through Psalms, and a week or so ago I came upon Psalm 127: “Unless the Lord builds the house, its builders labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchmen stand guard in vain” (v. 1). That’s what [I] want. Not logistics or strategizing or hurrying without a call to it. Such wonderful assurance in that verse!

A few nights after re-encountering Psalm 127, I ventured into Psalm 130 and dwelled on verses 5 and 6:
 “I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his word I put my hope. My soul waits for the Lord more than watchmen wait for the morning, more than watchmen wait for the morning.”

Yes! Just that. May my soul wait for the Lord more than watchmen wait for the morning—their very purpose in their job! …and it continues:

 “O Israel, put your hope in the Lord, for with the Lord is unfailing love and with him is full redemption.”

Ah. Hope in Him. Hope that does not disappoint, no matter the outcome. Hope that waits on Him with a happy, assured expectation.

Simple truths, these, but lifelines and anchors.


So, what are we waiting for? Let’s seize the day. Let’s wait with all we’ve got.

Are you in a season of waiting? How can I pray for you in it?

(For more on this topic, see this post on being stalled)


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