We all go through times of waiting.
Perhaps all of our lives are spent waiting.
My waiting usually looks impatient and discontent.
My waiting usually is spent trying to arrive.
If all of our lives are supposed to be made sacred, how can this waiting become sacred? How can this waiting become beautiful?
If all of our lives are meant for God’s glory, how can we lean into this waiting instead of resisting and pulling back?
Henri Nouwen, a Dutch theologian, writes about waiting as an active kind of waiting.
He speaks of those at the beginning of the Gospels (Mary, Elizabeth, Zechariah, Simeon, Anna) as waiting with a sense of promise. A promise that allows them to wait. Nouwen says that the secret of waiting is the faith that something has already begun.
Active waiting means to be present fully to the moment, in the conviction that something is happening where you are and that you want to be present to it. ~ Waiting for God
It is a waiting that knows the waited-for thing has already begun.
Like planting a seed and waiting for it to emerge. Like seeing the plus sign on the pregnancy test and waiting to hold the baby in your arms.
It is a knowing that there are beautiful things happening in the darkness. It is a knowing that even though you cannot see, it is growing.
It is a giving up of control because none of us quite know what we are waiting for when God is involved.
Rather than waiting for a job or a baby or a spouse, we are waiting for whatever God chooses to give. We hold our expectations and dreams lightly, with cupped open hands, knowing that whatever comes is ultimately the best thing of all.
It is a giving up of control but it is a gift of surprise and adventure, of something even better than what you had imagined.
It is a waiting with eyes open and breath held in expectation. Expectation of beauty and excitement.
This is a waiting I can lean in to. A beautiful, sacred waiting that glorifies God.
Art credit: Final photograph of crab apple blossoms by Kirk Sewell
One of the ideas in which I believe strongly, one of the basic premises, in fact, behind the writing of this blog, is that there can be no division between sacred and secular. There can be no segmenting out pieces of life, saying that this is for faith and that is not.
For by Him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. ~ Colossians 1.16-17
If all of life is under the authority of Christ, then the opposite supposition is also true, that there is nothing that is outside of Christ. The point seems inarguable, yet it seems easier to say that all is in Christ than it is to begin to name specific arenas that therefore matter to Him.
If singing hymns in church is in Christ, then scrubbing filthy toilets is also in Him.
If working in the food pantry is in Christ, then creating a PowerPoint presentation for work is also in Him.
If learning about Old Testament Prophets is in Christ, then politics is also in Him.
It seems unreasonable, yet the conclusion is inescapable. If in Christ all things hold together, then there can be nothing that falls outside of His realm of influence.
If politics, too, must fall within the confines of our faith, then we should spend time considering the best way that our land should be governed. Especially when we live in a land that gives us a voice. Especially when we live in a year that is an election year.
And so I have been pondering and wondering. None of my wonderings have produced anything that I could change, yet I still believe that the process of considering our country’s politics in light of the way God created life to work is valuable.
There is much in the Bible about teaching and training, about people being gifted to do specific tasks, about being and doing what you were created to be and do.
All of which makes me wonder if the idea of citizen governance is as good an idea as our founders believed. I understand, I think, that part of the reason behind term limits and bringing in ordinary citizens to do the job for a time is to prevent anyone from taking and keeping too much power.
It is easy to become drunk on the trappings of power.
Or so I’ve heard.
Yet would we want our children to learn under someone who just comes in and teaches for a few years and then is replaced by another community member? Would anyone trust a citizen surgeon?
Then why do we trust a job like governing our country to amateurs?
What if we treated politics like we treat other careers? What if we had a governing body that developed training and schooling requirements? What if people who have the talent for governance could attend a study program and go through an apprenticeship? What if that same governing body helped the governors of our land decide when it was time to retire, like the governing body that decides when it is time for us to give up our driver’s license?
I know that there are probably hundreds of issues that would make this improbable. I understand that none of this is likely to happen.
Yet isn’t it better to think through something as important as how our country is governed rather than just falling in line with how it has always been done?
If part of loving God means loving Him with all of your mind, then shouldn’t we use our mind to consider how all things would be best under His authority?
Even if it never comes to pass?
I believe so.
Photography credits: U.S. Capitol by purplepic; Flag on building by Robert Linder; Flag backlit by Robert Linder