I met Tom in my first seminary class at Asbury Theological Seminary. I remember being impressed with his knowledge of church history and how he assimilated it into a larger theological framework. Throughout my years at Asbury, Tom was a great presence of humility, wisdom and hard work. Tom wrote a great reflection for us today. I loved it. If you are interested in guest posting, here is more information.
With working at Wal Mart, one of the most common responses that I get from older customers is that they are waiting for their significant others to finish up their shopping. It got me thinking, and here is my profound thought for though for the day and that is waiting can and should be a spiritual practice, especially for us Americans. Living in a culture that demands results yesterday along with fast answers, we have lost all meaning to the words of hope, endurance, and faith. These things are a critical pieces to any faith, but especially the Christian faith.
Here are some practical ideas about Holy Waiting
1. We are not called to be lazy.
The misconception is that holy waiting is another term for laziness and it is not. Holy waiting is the willing to do the work and results will come. People who holy wait often have a depth and maturity about them that can only be a result of waiting on God. There are plenty of warnings and condemnation through out Scripture for those who are lazy or take the easy way out. Laziness really implies that we are waiting for God and or others to show up and do all the heavy lifting and we can somehow get our name on the credits. Or that just by showing up we can somehow get credit with the good deeds just by showing up or doing the flashy stuff Laziness often breads a lack of depth, commitment, and even discontent.
2. It builds anticipation.
When we are in the process of holy waiting, we are waiting for God and living our lives according to what has been promised. Just as Simeon was not only anticipating the coming Messiah, he was anticipating the Messiah in his lifetime. He lived his life in accordance to what has been revealed to him. When we are holy waiting, often it is putting one foot in front of the other and doing what we know that God has revealed and called us to do
3. It is becoming prepared.
During this season of life, God calls us to be more mature and just as gold or silver goes through a refinement process, so shall we. God may call us to something or to leave something behind for something better. God is always calling us to a deeper relationship, but there are seasons where it is more prevalent than others. This is a season that is marked by the use of the Christian disciplines. Whether it is fasting, Scripture reading, prayer, writing in a journal, or any other spiritual practice, it is a time for reflection, listening and growth. This is where the rubber starts to meet the road, because it starts to get real when we are encountering the Holy and asking the Trinitarian God to change us.
4. It builds endurance.
The Christian life is not so much a sprint to see who can get there the fastest. I know different people mature at a variety of paces for different reasons. Endurance and faith go hand in hand. It is trusting God to come through in the presence, just as He has came through in the past. It a results based culture this is the hardest one to swallow, because we all want to be sucessful and not to put in that much time or effort. I have heard that if someone wants to be sucessful at a job, its roughly ten thousand hours of doing the hard work and working from the bottom up. Now I don’t want to say that if someone works at it, they can be a mature Christian in so many years. If we trust God and follow His leading, it will happen. Also, if being mature was easy, everyone would do it.
5. Its all about timing.
Throughout Scripture there are two concepts of time. The first concept is day, month and year. I can say that I will go to the doctor tomorrow and it is in stone. The other concept of time is more of a fulfillment of time. It is the idea of perfect timing of when everything comes together and is right. This sort of timing is tough for us because we don’t have as much control over it as we would like to. There are more factors that need to happen that we are not in control of. When all those things are not forced, it is a fastball down the middle of the plate and Babe Ruth is up to bat.
6. It leads to action.
Holy waiting leads to “well, what we are waiting for?” Everything has come together and it is God calling us to get off of our hands and do what He has called us to do. It can be anything from entering the full time ministry to ones calling to seminary, marriage, to even sharing the Gospel with a friend or coworker. The Trinitarian God invites us to participate with Him in what they are doing in our world It is faith and maturity living out in our world on a daily basis. It is being the hands and feed of the God. It is remembering that God the Father came up with the plan, God the Son, made a way for that plan to be carried out through His death and resurrection, and the Holy Spirit convicts and applies that work in our lives
Tom Boustead lives in Northern Minnesota. He is a 2009 graduate of Asbury Seminary with a MA in Christian Ministry. Tom works at Wal Mart and is actively involved in his local church. Tom blogs at hittingthelongball.blogspot.