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Waiting, waiting…

June 10, 2016

What do we do when things don’t happen as and when we expect them? When I first wrote this for the local parish magazine (early May), the sun had finally put in an appearance and it was finally promising to warm up a bit. We had been expecting summer for a while, and it simply refused to arrive – we even had snow at the end of April! And then it still didn’t get any warmer; it’s only this week that it’s finally started looking like summer is here…

Life can be like that. Some people spend all life waiting for something: justice for victims of crime, finding the right life partner, healing from a painful illness, or maybe just that promotion, that win, that improvement that will make them so much happier and life so much better…

But what if it doesn’t happen? What if life won’t play ball? What if God doesn’t do what we want him to do?

As a matter of fact, God often doesn’t do what we want him to do. There are many reasons for that – almost as many as people complaining about it – but we’re not normally told. Why? Because God is in charge, he isn’t answerable to us, and in many cases we probably wouldn’t like the explanation anyway.

One common problem is that we insist we know what should happen, instead of simply trusting God. Ever since Adam and Eve disobeyed God, thinking they knew better, we humans have struggled with faith. We demand explanations, we insist on being in charge, we think we can grasp God’s perspective on our life…

The prophet Habakkuk in the Old Testament had the same problem: he saw sin and lawlessness all around, and asked God what he was going to do about it. God’s answer: use the Babylonians to discipline Israel. Habakkuk didn’t like that! And he couldn’t understand why God would do such a thing.

But in the end he agreed that God knew what he was doing, and that the proper response on his part was simply to trust in God and wait patiently for the next step in God’s plan. God himself had encouraged him: “though it linger, wait for it”. We don’t know if he lived to see it, but he resolved to “rejoice in the Lord” come what may.

One day everything will be made clear, one day God will be vindicated – we might still not understand everything, but we will at least no longer doubt that God knew what he was doing. Until that day, we need to ask the Holy Spirit to give us peace and joy, and to help us trust in God: after all, he went to the cross for us, so we know he loves us!

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From → Christianity, Faith, Jesus

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