“Simone Weil considered patient waiting to be ‘the foundation of the spiritual life.’ And John Ortberg condemns hurry, which is the rejection of patient waiting, as ‘the great enemy of the spiritual life.’ Obviously, for me to flourish spiritually will require that I learn to wait, and like with anything else, that will require practice. I can practice waiting as I refuse to take matters into my own hands (being controlling or vengeful)–and instead wait on God to do as God see’s fit. I can practice waiting as I refuse to indulge in despair or cynicism–instead looking for evidence of God’s coming yet present Kingdom. I can practice waiting as I refuse to forge ahead when I don’t know what to do–admitting my limitations and need for help. (From the outside my waiting may look like doing nothing–but really it’s creating a space for God to do what only God can do.) I can practice waiting as I refuse to give in to temptation–refusing to insist on what I want, or feel I need–trusting the one who knows better than me what I need. I can practice waiting as I refuse to complain bitterly (or worse) curse angrily–reminding myself that things aren’t necessarily supposed to go as I planned. I can ‘sit tight’ in anticipation of something transcendent–something that transcends my oh-so-important strategy. I can practice waiting as I refuse to make happiness my primary motivation for the day. God invariably has something better than happiness in mind for me–and it’s not about me anyway. Finally, I can practice waiting as I refuse to worry. I can remind myself that God is always at work for good, that my worrying won’t add anything to that, that my rushing ahead will only make a mess and create a lot of needless anxiety.” William Britton
“I waited patiently for the Lord;
he turned to me and heard my cry.”
Moving From the Head to the Heart
- Think of all the things that seem “foundational” to you in your Christian life. Is waiting well one of them?
- How can you practice waiting? Can you think of some ways to make this personal for you?
- Are your convictions about the need to wait strong enough to cause you to wait the next time you feel like “forging ahead?”
Abba, I want to live at a the pace of god-fearer, and in a calmness that comes from taking my cues from you. Help me to make this my way in the world.
For More: Godspeed
These “Daily Riches” are for your encouragement as you seek God and God seeks you. My goal is to regularly give you something brief and of unique value. I hope you’ll follow and share my blog. Thanks! – Bill
“Attention consists of suspending our thought, leaving it detached, empty …ready to receive in its naked truth the object that is to penetrate it.'” Simone Weil
“To love someone is to grant him or her the gift of one’s pure and undivided attention, without preconceived expectations of what the other person needs, what we imagine to be best in the situation, what particular results we want to engineer. This is a love finally purged of the ego’s calculating desires, a love without strings. It contemplates other people with the same wonder it has found in contemplating God. The choice is simple, as Alan Jones contends: ‘We either contemplate or we exploit. We either see things and persons with reverence and awe, and therefore threat them as genuinely other than ourselves; or we appropriate them, and manipulate them for our own purposes.’ Love as distributed attentiveness is the only form that justice can take in a world of people aching for attention. Contemplative prayer must be fulfilled in the loving contemplation of one’s neighbor. …Simone Weil learned this from her experience with oppressed factory workers in Paris, with poor miners and vine-workers in southern France. ‘Those who are unhappy,’ she said, ‘have no need for anything in this world but people capable of giving them their attention. The capacity to give one’s attention to a sufferer is a very rare and difficult thing; it is almost a miracle; it is a miracle.’ Remaining indifferent to every predetermined program for ‘helping the poor’ and, instead, being altogether present to the person before us–this is the desert practice of love as justice. ‘It is the recognition that the sufferer exists, not only as a unit in a collection, or a specimen from the social category labeled ‘unfortunate,’ but as a man, exactly like us.’ [S. Weil]” Belden Lane
“All things excellent, are as difficult as they are rare.” Edward Abbey
“Jesus looked at him and loved him.”
Moving From the Head to the Heart
- Can you grant someone your “pure and undivided attention?”
- Can you approach someone who is “other” to you, and “contemplate” them, as you would contemplate God?
- Can you see an immigrant, a homeless woman, an addict, a convict–not as a “specimen from the social category”, but as a person of value, like you?
Abba, I want to love without strings. I want to grant the miraculous gift of attention to others. Help me!
For More: Waiting for God by Simone Weil
These “Daily Riches” are for your encouragement as you seek God and God seeks you. I hope you’ll follow and share my blog. My goal is to regularly share something of unique value with you in 400 words or less. I appreciate your interest! – Bill