Holy Waiting

May 29, 2017

by Eric Sponheim, former board member

Waiting is hard.

You may be waiting for the healing of a relationship or of an illness. You may be waiting to finally get a new job or for your life to change in some way you can’t even fully define.

In the United States, in the age of mass incarceration, you may be doing your waiting in prison, “serving time” (as the phrase goes) until the end of your sentence.

In short, waiting is a universal human experience. But that doesn’t necessarily make it any easier. The longer you have to wait, the more you may begin to doubt whether your hopes will ever be realized.

Jesus’s disciples knew this very well. Shortly before his ascension, they put it to him point blank: Is this the time when you will restore the kingdom to Israel?

Jesus’s answer was not exactly what they wanted to hear. It isn’t given to us as humans to know a specific timetable for the execution of God’s salvific plan.

God is, however, with us in our times of waiting and makes them holy. This is symbolized so vividly on Ascension Day, when Christ returns to the Father with a promise to send the Holy Spirit.

Awaiting the outpouring of Spirit on Pentecost, the disciples devote themselves to prayer, to a time of holy waiting. This doesn’t mean merely being passive; it actually takes great courage to trust, as the Psalmist did, that “my times are in your hand.”



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