Saturday, February 26, 2011

Waiting Together

"I wish I had known. I wish I could have just sat with you," commented a friend on a previous post in which I described a time of great darkness in my life.

She expressed what Henri Nouwen describes as key to our spiritual lives: waiting together. Nouwen recounts that after being visited by Gabriel, Mary visited Elizabeth, who also was waiting on a promise from God. The two women spoke God's words to each other and together experienced joy and awe at what God was doing in each of them. Nouwen says:
By being together these two women created space for each other to wait. They affirmed for each other that something was happening that was worth waiting for. . . . Christian community is where we keep the flame of hope alive among us and take it seriously so that it can grow and become stronger in us.
Does your Christian community allow space for your fears and questions? Does it listen quietly, intently, for God's voice spoken into your life? Does it accept the existence of times in your life when you are not alright? Does it sit by your side as you wait, just being with you, a warm presence when the world feels dark? Does it affirm the promises you have heard, expecting to see God's goodness expressed tangibly to you?

It's very rare to find Christians who can wait with us, but it is a good desire to have. If you are waiting alone for something, don't feel ashamed if you have to look outside of your current community to find people who can truly help you in this way.

There's a lot more in Nouwen's "Path of Waiting" that I didn't discuss in these blog posts - specifically a big section on God's waiting for us - so go read it yourself now!

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