Wednesday, January 03, 2007


There is a sense in which our faith needs to be active by being passive, at times. We see this in Jesus, who resisted evil, not only by doing good, but by refusing to retaliate for wrongs done. We see this over and over in Scripture, when God's people in obeying God set themselves up for ridicule, scorn and persecution (and even possibly death). Yet simply do God's will, and leave the outcome in God's hands.

I find this faith in waiting, an act of passivity. This kind of waiting I'm thinking of here, is the kind that realizes things are not right in a situation. That wrong is being done. Or attitudes are not right. And that sometimes even one's own attitude may not be right. But this waiting is active, in that it's a wait on God. In prayer. In silence, except on the rare occasion when we seem moved to speak in love, or act in some way, in love. I realize things are out of kilter, things are not right. But I wait on God. To change me from wrong to right, or more into conformity to him and his will. To change others. To do what only God can do.

I can be praying "the Lord's prayer" and other prayers. Pondering Scripture and waiting in silence before the Lord, even in the midst of other things I may have to be doing.

And this waiting takes time and persistence on our part. And an openness to the Spirit and to others to hear God's voice and see his answer. We can be confident we're on a good track, because in this kind of waiting, our goal is to see God's will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.

If we follow through here, we may not see the answer come as we may have thought. But at least God will certainly change us. And help us, together with others, to be people after his own heart, who will do, in our lives (not pefectly, but habitually) all of God's will.

What has God taught you in regard to waiting, especially in the way we're thinking about here? What might you like to share about this?


Drew said...

Newbigin writes that with waiting typically comes suffering. And it's through suffering that we bear our witness to the world. I like that perspective...Waiting, via suffering, thus has redemptive threads.

Sarah said...

I am amazed by how many normal life practices serve up spiritual growth...if my heart is well-ordered. Thanks for the reminder that waiting can be a spiritual discipline of sorts.

And I agree with Drew as well. The most important learnings are often things we fail to discover in the light, but we grope for them desperately in the darkness.

L.L. Barkat said...

Active waiting... I like that. I am going to kick my feet up and do just that.

Ted Gossard said...

Drew, Great point. I think this is inherent in almost all of this kind of waiting. At least in God's eyes, if not in our eyes, at the time.

Ted Gossard said...

Sarah, Yes. In the normal, everyday and often "hum-drum" of life, this is where God is at work and meets us. So often in my experience.

And so true too, what you say. My most evident growth comes through the dark times when "my soul" is groping for light and help from God, or even floundering around. God is there to get me back on track, in time. And probably with a better trekking on the way of the Lord.

Ted Gossard said...

L.L., Yes. In my experience of this it is kind of freeing, while actually remaining an active discipline of faith. Active in its passivity/waiting.