Richard Foster, who for many years has worked with Renovare, has written about waiting. Foster is the author of several good works related to spiritual formation including Spiritual Disciplines, Prayer: Finding the Heart’s True Home, and Life with God.
Waiting! It is among the most universal of human experiences.
- Waiting to begin school.
- Waiting to get our braces off.
- Waiting for our first date.
- Waiting to graduate.
- Waiting to marry.
- Waiting for our first job.
- Waiting for our first baby.
- Waiting for our first house.
- Waiting to retire.
- Waiting . . . waiting to die.
Waiting is among the most common ventures in human life, and the more Christian spirituality touches common life redemptively the more it deepens in meaning.
Waiting is right at the heart of Christian spirituality. Think of Moses waiting in the desert for silent year after silent year. Think of Elijah, sequestered in his cave, keeping a lonely vigil over earthquake, wind, and fire. Think of Mary waiting patiently for the fulfillment of the word of the Angel Gabriel. Think of Saul — Saul who became Paul — being instructed by the Spirit in the deserts of Arabia for three solitary years.
Waiting is the hidden preparation through which God puts his ministers. We neglect it to our peril. I remember as a young, brash pastor waxing eloquent about Moses in the wilderness and telling the people that we need to learn all these lessons so that it won’t take us forty years like it did Moses. Just then a wise and respected member of our fellowship spoke up calmly; "I doubt it!" he said. Those three words took all the pompous air out of my sermon that day and taught us a valuable lesson. Especially me. Waiting is not something to be avoided at all costs. In waiting we learn things that we learn in no other way.
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