What are you waiting for right now?
I don’t mean waiting your turn at the doctor’s office or the checkout line or waiting to move forward in a traffic jam. I mean waiting for the next life-changing reprieve or jolt that you are powerless against. You waffle between fear and hope because you believe that somehow it will change your life by punishing or rewarding you. A lab test that confirms or negates a diagnosis. A job offer that could get you out of debt. The outcome of your teenage daughter’s pregnancy exam. The jury’s verdict.
These big events remind you of all the little hopes and dreams that brought you to this point, all the timer you were sure you had control of your life.
Since this current crisis began, you’ve done everything you could think of and made every sacrifice to influence the outcome you believe is God’s will. Now there’s nothing left but the excruciating waiting. And you hate waiting!
What to do while waiting in a critical situation.
Here are four positive things you can do while waiting:
1. Sing whatever hymn or song comforts you. When I am waiting, a hymn or praise and worship song calms me down. Or an inspirational song from the secular world. Josh Groban’s “You Raise Me Up” is one of my favorites.
When I am down and, oh my soul, so weary
When troubles come and my heart burdened be
Then, I am still and wait here in the silence
Until you come and sit awhile with me.
You raise me up, so I can stand on mountains
You raise me up, to walk on stormy seas
I am strong, when I am on your shoulders
You raise me up: To more than I can be.
It’s God’s word, reflected in the words of the Irish novelist Brendan Graham, set to the music of Norwegian composer Rolf Lovland that gives the song life. It counteracts the pride of humanity — our belief that we can control our destiny. We try to manipulate our way into what we are convinced is right for us, and assume it must be God’s will.
When we are broken with grief and burdened with uncertainty, the song counteracts the idea that we sinful mortals are unworthy of Jesus coming to us. Our crucial need for him urges us to believe that maybe we can put ourselves in a position to feel his presence. We don’t deserve God’s mercy and we can’t earn it, but believe me, if we sit silently and wait for our spirit to surrender our agenda, we can begin to open our heart to his presence. Yes, he will come and sit beside us and comfort us.
No quick fix
Caution: this is no quick fix. Don’t be too impatient for a divine solution to your situation. You may be at home, at Adoration or somewhere outdoors, but you are in God’s waiting room where time is suspended in hushed expectancy. This is a time to linger and listen to receive wisdom. If you jump up and try to exit before Jesus expresses his love for you – the why that he created you — you miss the opportunity to know him and his ways. You have missed an opportunity to know yourself and your strengths better under the bright light of his enduring love. It’s better to wait until you are calm and empowered by his presence. Then you are ready for him to raise you up with the courage to face the current crisis.
2. Pray whatever prayers come to mind, devotions like the rosary or spontaneous pleading with God. Run to Jesus. Stay close to him in prayer. Pray for everyone involved.
3. Forgive anyone involved in this situation that has hurt you. Jesus waits in the confessional in the person of the priest. Ask for God’s forgiveness and the grace to forgive others as the Lord forgives you. Then forgive yourself for any mistakes you made concerning this event.
4. Surrender what you can and ask for the grace to surrender what you can’t. You are not giving up your power, because you have no control over` this problem. You are placing the solution in the hands of the only one that has the wisdom and power to resolve it perfectly.
After waiting with Jesus, we can be confident that whatever the outcome, it is his will because we have surrendered it to him. Our surrender gets us out of his way. It gives us the grace to accept the outcome, whatever it is, because God has carried out his will, not ours.
We can discover that an experience of waiting with Jesus can make us strong by relying more on him than ourselves. We can climb the mountains of troubles and walk on the stormy seas of one disappointment after another if we take the time to sit in silence with Jesus waiting beside us, loving us through whatever happens.
The longer we wait with Jesus, the stronger we become – and the longer we rely on him, the more our faith strengthens.
They that wait for the LORD shall renew their strength,
They shall mount up with wings like eagles;
They shall run and not be weary,
They shall walk and not faint. (Isaiah 40:31 RSV)
What need in your life urges you to run to Jesus?
(Copyright 2018 Nancy HC Ward)