Sunday, November 21, 2010

Waiting with Patience

A Henri Nouwen Reflection:

How do we wait for God? We wait with patience. But patience does not mean passivity. Waiting patiently is not like waiting for the bus to come, the rain to stop, or the sun to rise. It is an active waiting in which we live the present moment to the full in order to find there the signs of the One we are waiting for.

The word patience comes from the Latin verb patior which means "to suffer." Waiting patiently is suffering through the present moment, tasting it to the full, and letting the seeds that are sown in the ground on which we stand grow into strong plants. Waiting patiently always means paying attention to what is happening right before our eyes and seeing there the first rays of God's glorious coming

The above reflection is taken from Bread For The Journey

(Crystal Cloud Graphics)
During Advent many of the Scripture messages pertain to waiting for some form of transformation and the promise of restoration. We are to look forward to a reign of peace. Christ speaks of the transition of one age to the next..not if it will happen, but when it will happen. He asks for patient expectation from His believers. He asks us not to go blindly through this life, but to be prepared for His Second Coming and our Hereafter.  At the same time, we are also waiting in anticipation for the Coming of the Christ Child. The fulfillment of the Promise is about to arrive!

But what about our Everyday Waiting? Do we have that feeling of expectation of what is around the corner, a sense of wonderment as our ordinary week unfolds? With the hustle and bustle of the Sacred we show that we are Christians by the patience we show as we wait on line in a department store? Do we cuss and cut people off in a parking lot?  Are we so absorbed with getting things done that we forget to be polite to the weary cashier?  It takes little effort to smile while we bag our own groceries and inquire how the cashier's day is going. Is she spending Thanksgiving or Christmas locally with family? Does she cook something special to bring to the table?

We don't know what's going on in some one's life. That person who cut in front of us may be rushing home to a sick child and aging parent....his/her mind not on displaying good manners. That sullen cashier might be worried that the earnings that week won't cover household expenses.  Patience, patience. Our nod of understanding, holding open a door or a kind word might be the soothing balm some poor soul needs. Our patience isn't always rewarded in the way we think it should be. I once waited patiently for a parking spot and just as I was about to pull in, a car zipped from the wrong direction and into MY spot. I honked at the driver and shook my head in disgust. Nothing more. The woman who exited her car shot me an ugly look and stomped into the supermarket. I was dare she give me a nasty look...I was in the right! Not five minutes later we were standing side by side at a food display. She glanced at me and her eyes showed immediate recognition, her face reddened and she said in a rush, "I'm so sorry. It's been a awful day...I just wasn't thinking." She was so sincere. I couldn't doubt the ring of truth in her words. I accepted her apology and wished her a better day. What a different situation it would have been had I reacted badly in the parking lot or fussed at her when next we met.  Holding my tongue, a sort of patience like counting to ten, reaped a fruitful reward. One that I think pleased God.

Do we wait with joyous hope? Do we unwrap each day as if it were a gift from God? He is in every moment, around every corner, there when we least expect it....we just have to keep watch and be alert.  Have patience. The people of Israel have waited thousands of years for the Messiah. For Christians this wait is over. Christians have the joy of knowing that the Lord is alive and active in our every day lives. Emmanuel, God near us. Our hope is that when our earthly world passes away...Christ will be waiting for us with open arms and our patience will be rewarded with the words, "Well done, good a faithful servant."

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