Daily Riches: God Often Keeps Us Waiting (J. I. Packer, Annie Dillard, Henri Nouwen, Søren Kierkegaard, and Jeanie and David Gushee)

“. . . ‘Wait on the Lord’ is a constant refrain in the Psalms, and it is a necessary word, for God often keeps us waiting. He is not in such a hurry as we are, and it is not his way to give more light on the future than we need for action in the present, or to guide us more than one step at a time. When in doubt, do nothing, but continue to wait on God. When action is needed, light will come.” J. I. Packer

“The death of the self of which the great writers speak is no violent act. It is merely the joining of the great rock heart of the earth in its roll. It is merely the slow cessation of the will’s sprints and the intellect’s chatter: it is waiting like a hollow bell with stilled tongue. Fuge, tace, quiesce. The waiting itself is the thing.” Annie Dillard

“The word patience comes from the Latin verb patior which means ‘to suffer.’ Waiting patiently is suffering through the present moment, tasting it to the full, and letting the seeds that are sown in the ground on which we stand grow into strong plants. Waiting patiently always means paying attention to what is happening right before our eyes and seeing there the first rays of God’s glorious coming.” Henri Nouwen

“As my prayer became more attentive and inward
I had less and less to say.
I finally became completely silent.
I started to listen–
which is even further removed from speaking.
I first thought that praying entailed speaking.
I then learnt that praying is hearing,
not merely being silent.
This is how it is.
To prayer does not mean to listen to oneself speaking,
Prayer involves becoming silent,
And being silent,
And waiting until God is heard.”
Søren Kierkegaard

“Since ancient times no one has heard,
no ear has perceived, no eye has seen
any God besides you, who acts
on behalf of those who wait for him.”
Isaiah 64:4

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Are you in a hurry?
  • Can you adjust yourself to a God who is “not in such a hurry?”
  • Do you pay attention to “what is happening right before [your] eyes?

“Some wait in confident expectation–others wait in quiet desperation. This night I close my eyes in darkness and yearn for Your Light, brighter than a thousand suns.” (Jeanie and David Gushee)

For More: Knowing God by J. I. Packer

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8 thoughts on “Daily Riches: God Often Keeps Us Waiting (J. I. Packer, Annie Dillard, Henri Nouwen, Søren Kierkegaard, and Jeanie and David Gushee)

  1. Greetings, Bill–just wanted to tell you how glad I am to see your posts in my mailbox more often again. I am “richer by far” for them. Thanks and blessings, SN

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  2. I, too, Bill want to thank you for posting “Richer by Far”. Today I prayer God I am up against a Wall. I don’t know what to do and here comes your post. I think GOD is trying to tell me just to have patience and wait because he is working through this problem. He is mysterious in his ways sometimes

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    • Thanks my friend. Sometimes we understand what is happening, we’re pretty much happy about things, and we feel secure – and then there is the time of darkness, confusion and not knowing – of anxiousness and desire to DO SOMETHING. Then eventually a stasis returns and we’re back in that comfortable place that we understand and like. The time when God does his very best work is us is in that time of darkness between the times of understanding. Waiting is allowing God to work, and giving God space to work, and expecting good to come because God is at work. It’s a hard thing, but it our way of really welcoming God into our situation and our lives. Hang in there!

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  3. Hey, OLD friend. It’s been a long time. I especially appreciate the J. I. Packer references. Chris gave me Knowing God shortly after I was saved -before Western- and, other than the Scriptures themselves, it has had a greater impact on my life than any other book I’ve read.

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  4. These “riches” touched me deeply, especially at this time in my life. And the fact that you pulled together these various sources for this post is in itself a gift and blessing…I have always loved Annie Dillard and Henri Nouwen. Thank you for introducing me to Packer…I wanted to let you know again how grateful I am for “Richer By Far”; your words and your work do “land” somewhere.

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  5. Thanks! This post really got a strong response. It just shows what a big issue “waiting well” is–how common–how difficult–but also potentially rich. Thanks for your note. You made my day.

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