On Waiting

For one of the first times in my life I don’t know what’s going to happen next. Since I was twenty I knew that I wanted to be a pastor. I have known each step I needed to take in order to arrive at this calling has taken years to accomplish.

This path has ended and I now arrive at a fork in the road. Now I wait. Which path I take is mostly not determined by me. I don’t have any control over whether a congregation wants to interview me. I must be invited to interview with a congregation. So, I wait at the fork in the road.

Waiting isn’t easy. It isn’t easy not knowing the next step in my life. And in this waiting I have a bunch of conflicting questions and emotions. Am I going to be called? When is this going to happen? Will it be the right fit? Will my family like it there? I am excited about embarking on a new journey, but also sad that I am leaving my family in San Diego and a wonderful congregation.  All the questions begin to morph into one ultimate question.  Has God brought me this far to abandon me at the fork in the road?  And when I ask this question I immediately know that no is the answer. God does not abandon us.  God has never abandoned us.

This leads me to thinking about Advent. This is the season in our church calender to wait. We wait for Christmas; to remember that Jesus is the Word made flesh that God dwelt among us. It’s during Advent the church especially prays,  “Come Lord Jesus.” We look forward to remembering the birth of Jesus and we also look forward to when Jesus will come again and finish establishing the Kingdom that will have no end. We remember the both now and not yet of the Kingdom of God. It’s during Advent we remember that God didn’t abandon us, but became us.

We all wait for something.  In fact we all spend a lot of time waiting. What happens if we turn waiting into a spiritual discipline? What would happen if during times of waiting we were reminded that God always keeps God’s promises? We can’t do anything about waiting. Nevertheless, while we wait, we could practice being very present in whatever moment we find ourselves. Henri Nouwen once wrote, “For many people, waiting is an awful desert between where they are and where they want to go. And people do not like such a place.”  Waiting is like a desert. I like this quote because it’s the way I feel right now waiting for a call. But I know that it’s in this place of waiting that I can be fully present to God and to others.  I can be fully present because there is nothing that I can do to hasten the object of my waiting.  I can only wait and see the beauty a desert can bestow.

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