You’re ready… You’re so ready… For COVID to be over and done with, and for life to return to ‘normal’. Me, too: I am totally ready. And this is the thing that I’m discovering: I thought that with the (modest) re-opening of businesses, schools, and churches, the deep frustration that I felt about the one plus years of lockdown, would mostly dissipate (okay, I hoped all of it would dissipate). I would’ve been happy with forty percent of that anxiety and frustration, going away, but I think it might only be about twenty.
The reality is that we’re still in the uncertain, frustrating land between the beginning and the officially official ‘end’ of COVID. Many of us are vaccinated, but it seems like that’s about to wear off. Many have decided not to vaccinate, and probably feel the desire for this to be over, even more strongly. Who doesn’t want to go to concerts, movies, bustling cafes, church, without worry of any kind? Without wondering: “Is that someone, sitting behind me, breathing a little too heavily? Or is it just the air conditioning?”
So we’re kinda free, but not really. We’ve still got to find a way to make it work, until COVID goes away. If we haven’t already, now is the time to get better at waiting. But if you’re like me (like, what, ninety percent of the world?), you don’t want to wait. You don’t like to wait. Waiting doesn’t like you. You and waiting have never been friends, and – you thought – you never would be.
But you and I, we are being called to learn to wait during this time – to wait well, and to gather strength as we wait. Several times in the Psalms, the honest, heartfelt, completely real prayer goes up: “How long, O Lord?” (1, 2, 3) Even if you’re not the praying kind, I bet you’ve let out a least a few exasperated cries during COVID: “Man! C’mon! How much longer do we gotta deal with this?!”
I want to suggest something: That exasperation is a kind of prayer.
Prayer does something in us and for us, that nothing else does: It opens our hearts and minds to the One who made us. It opens a door in our soul, that allows fresh air into our sometimes stuffy, little houses. But for that door to open, we have to have the right key: the “honesty key”. We use the honesty key, when we pray from the heart – when our prayers are real – when we don’t hold back. God can take it. In fact, God expects it. It’s how we do what he’s calling us to do in this time: Learn to wait well.
God has given us this time to wait, so that we can know the depth of this promise:
“They who 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)
If, over the past year and more, you haven’t been at the point of fainting – literally, emotionally, spiritually – you’ve been on some, other planet. Can I suggest something? I have found that as we open up space in ourselves to wait, and to wait on God, our hearts can begin to bear more than they do on their own. Our hearts can have God’s own strength, and we can wait well today, and tomorrow, and the next day.
I used to be in South Carolina, but now I’m on Long Island – wow! If you would like to tune in to our Live-Streamed worship services, you can Follow our Facebook page, here: Mattituck Presbyterian Church
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