waiting with God

I've been working on a letter to send out, an update for those interested in the retreat work here. There's not a whole lot to report, except for the waiting. So that's what I'm writing about, which fits with the season of Advent pretty well; so far it looks like this:

O my God, in you I trust...
for you I wait all the day long. (Ps 25)

The poor wait.

I often find myself thinking about waiting during this time of year. Two years ago Heather and I were anxiously waiting to come to the farm and propose a retreat house for the poor here. Last year, we had just spent months on the road, while waiting for living space to become available that would work for retreats. This year we are waiting for ways that more retreat guests can come.

And I am reminded that the ones who wait the most are those who are lowest and weakest. They wait because they have to, because they have no other choice. Those who are proud, those who have other options, refuse to wait. The poor wait. Even in the ministries meant to serve the poor, where volunteers come to "wait on" the hungry or homeless, who are the ones that are actually standing out in line waiting?

I've struggled with the waiting we have had to do, felt oppressed by it at times. Waiting for God to provide or show the way, any way, and wondering why it is necessary to leave us in such helpless suspense.

But in our waiting I've been reminded that God also waits. Not because he has to, but because he chooses to wait. For us. For us to be ready, for us to give ourselves voluntarily, for us to consent to accept a gift as a gift. God waits for us.

So I've hoped to meet God in our waiting, to encounter God in our feelings of uncertain longing. To wait with God. I've sometimes wondered during Advent services, when we speak of our yearning for the coming Messiah, our longing for justice, our impatience for promises to be fulfilled, do we really now experience "God with us," who has already come? Are we waiting for God to show up? I hope we can learn to wait with God, while we wait for God to act. I hope we can encounter God in the waiting and gain some understanding of the reasons God delays, how his waiting is an act of patience and mercy for us and others. So we can wait more gently, and with confidence, that God will act and we will not be disappointed.

Please pray with us also for more opportunities to share this hope with the poor, with guests who come here for retreats. That their waiting not be an experience of abandonment, but a waiting with God, waiting close to God, waiting and depending on their God each day to provide for needs and show the next step. "O my God, in you I trust. For you I wait all the day long."