Learning the unforced rhythms of grace


The Work of Waiting


Mark Buchanan's book, Spiritual Rhythm-Being with Jesus every Season of Your Soul talks about waiting being a good result of a winter season.

He writes, "In winter we pray, call out, cry out, spread our hands. God seems indifferent, or absent, or opposed to us. He doesn't show up. He leaves things unchanged, or lets them change for the worse. Still we pray, day and night. It's met with silence. With hardship. Those who wait on the Lord will renew their strength, we remind ourselves. But in the meantime, in the waiting, our strength languishes." 

Outside my window this morning, everything is waiting. Snow has covered the ground and all growth and life is frozen. So it seems. 

Mark continues, "Winter is when, it seems, God deprives us of much more than he bestows. But each deprivation is really cultivation. It's a maiming that is really a sculpting, a depletion that becomes a source of abundance."

Psalm 88 is David's prayer of the winter. Chronic pain, illness, aging, emotional pain, loss, grieving or weariness can be our winter and it can feel like we are frozen, stuck and unable to do anything. 

I want to suggest today, that there is work, good work, we can do in the waiting. It doesn't take away from the deeper work that God is doing in our souls and hearts but it can help us stay committed to the season, however long it might be. And I would add that it can be a way that God can produce joy in the waiting.

There is no reason why we need to focus on the things we can't do. If we allow ourselves to think creatively, our days of waiting can be full and rich and building towards health and life and growth. It might look simple. It might look unproductive or slower than we want, but it is good work that we can do. And I believe that this is the side-by-side companionship and apprenticeship that Jesus was talking about in Matthew 11:28-30.

Jesus said, “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly."

I've attached a list of some of the things that I have found I CAN do in the waiting. It may not have been my first choice, but it has turned out to be a better choice with more lasting results than the life I would've planned out for myself. I am grateful for this chronic illness as it has forced me to enter a daily form of 'winter' and discover that there is indeed LIFE happening! It is not frozen, or stuck or unproductive! Because of Jesus, there is life!

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To download the poster, click on the poster image below and a drop-down menu (like this example on left) will be at the top of your page. Choose 'download' and then you can print. (If you prefer, send me a note and I'll email it to you instead.)