The Service of Waiting
Before setting out on my sabbatical i read a few lines in the devotional book Streams in the Desert that I knew I should pay attention to throughout my sabbatical: “In no way is it enough to set out cheerfully with God on any venture of faith. You must also be willing to take your ideas of what the journey will be like and tear them into tiny pieces, for nothing on the itinerary will happen as you expect.” Throughout my sabbatical I recognized that I needed to be ready for God to do something differently with my plans than what I was expecting. But I guess that I kind of thought it wouldn’t be that way when I got back home.
Also, on my sabbatical, I realized that I would be out of my “comfort zone” and away from my areas of self-containment and self-sufficiency and that I had to grow from depending on others and receiving the kindnesses of others. But I guess that I kind of thought it wouldn’t be that way when I got back home.
Well…on September 3, while heading to a budget planning meeting for my presbytery, I was rear-ended on the freeway and my car was totaled (everyone involved in the accident escaped un-injured fortunately). I have found a good replacement car, but I have also run into some complications about acquiring it. In the meantime, I have run out of the window for a rental car provided by my insurance. So I am left without a car for at least a couple of weeks. One of the members of our church is in Holland for a month and graciously left me the keys to her car (and the request for her battery not to run down from lack of use). Also my parents graciously loaned me some money (since the amount I am receiving from the insurance for my old car with lots of miles on it is not sufficient for getting a good replacement car). I guess God is not through with teaching me some lessons about graciously receiving kindness from others, and I guess God is not through with stretching me to live beyond my continuing tendency toward self-containment and self-sufficiency.
Another lesson God is teaching me is the lesson of waiting. Though I think I have found the right car for my needs and desires and available funds, some complications are making me have to keep waiting longer.
Today in our Staff Devotions we looked at the Sept. 24 entry in Streams in the Desert. It hit my heart perfectly. L. B. Cowman writes, “I finally remembered that the Spirit requires not only a service of work but also a service of waiting. I came to see that in the kingdom of Christ, there are not only times for action but times to refrain from action…. Dear Holy Spirit…. Teach me to see another door even in the midst of the inaction of this time…. Inspire me with the knowledge that a person may sometimes be called to serve by doing nothing, by staying still, or by waiting.”