As we wait on the Lord in hope, we need the Holy Spirit to produce from within us patience (see Galatians 5:22-23). Pastor and author, the late Henri Nouwen once said,
“A waiting person is a patient person. The word ‘patience’ means the willingness to stay where we are and live the situation out to the full in the belief that something hidden there will manifest itself to us. Impatient people are always expecting the real thing to happen somewhere else and therefore want to go elsewhere. The moment is empty. But patient people dare to stay where they are. Patient living means to live actively in the present and wait there. Waiting, then, is not passive. It involves nurturing the moment, as a mother nurtures the child that is growing in her womb.
Zechariah, Elizabeth, Mary, Simeon, and Anna were present to the moment. That is why they could hear the angel. The were alert, attentive to the voice that spoke to them and said, ‘Do not be afraid. Something is happening to you. Pay attention.’…
Much of our waiting is filled with wishes…We want the future to go in a very specific direction, and if this does not happen we are disappointed and can even slip into despair. That is why we have such a hard time waiting; we want to do the things that will make the desired events take place. Here we can see how wishes tend to be connected with fears.
But Zechariah, Elizabeth, Mary, Simeon, and Anna were not filled with wishes. They were filled with hope. Hope is something very different. Hope is trusting that something will be fulfilled according to the promises and not just according to our wishes.”
~ Henri Nouwen, from The Path of Waiting.
The following is an excerpt from a prayer I find fitting for the above mediation. It is a prayer written by Howard Thurman in 1951 entitled, O God, I Need Thee. I invite you to pray this section and sit in silence. Allow God’s Spirit to guide your thoughts and words. After a little while, close this conversation with God and move on in His presence with the rest of your day.
Lord, I need your sense of time.
Always I have an underlying anxiety about things.
Sometimes I am in a hurry to achieve my ends
And am completely without patience. It is hard for me
To realize that some growth is slow,
That all processes are not swift. I cannot always discriminate
Between what takes time to develop and what can be rushed,
Because my sense of time is dulled.
I measure things in terms of happenings.
O to understand the meaning of perspective
That I may do all things with a profound sense of leisure–of time.
~ from Conversations with God: Two Centuries of Prayers by African Americans, p. 183.