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Waiting is Spiritual?

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Tuesday, December 8, 2015

waiting Advent word cloud

Waiting is Spiritual?

Hurry up and wait. That’s what my father told me life in the Army was like. At least, that’s what it was like for him in World War II, in northern India. The unit he was assigned to would often need to hurry up! Fall in! Pack up! And then, wait. And wait. And, wait some more.

I am so glad I don’t need to face the privations and horrors of war. I cannot even imagine what that would be like. But, I have friends who assist refugees. Yes, some of these refugees come from countries where there is little war or conflict. Refugees come to the United States because of economic difficulties.

But by far, many more refugees are fleeing active conflict. Fearing for their lives, their loved ones’ lives, or both. Having political or ideological differences with the ruling party. Glad and relieved and sad and grieving. Oh, and angry, too. Leaving a home they often will never see again, a country where they never can return.

These are people who truly know what it is like to hurry up and wait. Hurry! Scurry! In fear for their lives sometimes. Masses of refugees being assigned a number. Not a name any longer. Waiting in some sort of holding area, for a long time. Hurry up and wait.

What was it like for the Holy Family? I know we haven’t gotten there yet, in terms of the Christmas story line. But after the coming of the Wise Men, the Holy Family fled to Egypt. They were refugees, for a long time. They had to remain in hiding, fearing for their lives. And especially, fearing for the life of the young child Jesus.

In terms of where I am at, still in the time of waiting. In Advent. I realize that my sense of waiting pales in comparison to the waiting and the patience of God. Henri Nouwen mentions “if … God in Jesus Christ is waiting for our response to divine love, then we can discover a whole new perspective on how to wait in life.” [1]

Dear Lord, help me learn to wait, to be patient and have some of Your patience. Help me be open and willing to assist those who also wait. To come alongside of those who are despairing. Help us all come together as we all wait for You. In relationship with You and in relationship with each other. Lord, in Your mercy, hear our prayers.


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[1] Advent and Christmas: Wisdom from Henri J. M. Nouwen (Linguori, Missouri: Redemptorist Pastoral Publications, 2004), 20.