Reading, Teaching, Learning

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Spiritual Journey Thursday - WAIT



     I look forward to Thursdays when I can publish thoughts on my spiritual journey and hear the thoughts of others on a weekly theme topic.  It has become a space for an encouraging and fortifying community to come together.  We welcome anyone who would like to join us!

This week's theme topic is WAIT.

And while staying[a] with them he ordered them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father, which, he said, “you heard from me; for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with[b] the Holy Spirit not many days from now.” - Acts 1:4-5
Therefore the Lord waits to be gracious to you, and therefore he exalts himself to show mercy to you. For the Lord is a God of justice; blessed are all those who wait for him. - Isaiah 30:18
But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint. - Isaiah 40:31

I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living! Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord! - Psalm 27:13-14

     On Sunday, our pastor gave a sermon called, "Waiting for the Gift" and told a story about his father, who had anchored his boat on an island shore so he could enjoy some swimming.  However, a storm came and unmoored his boat. He began  swimming out into the ocean to rescue it, but the storm increased in fury, and he lost sight of the shore.  He grew desperate, swimming furiously to save himself.  As he was growing more and more exhausted, he heard a voice from God.  God asked him, "Can you tread water?"  Treading water had never occurred to him, but he realized that he could stop swimming and tread water for a long time.  His frantic efforts to save himself were going to be futile.  Only by stopping and waiting would he be rescued, and indeed, he was, about an hour later.

     Waiting and being still is so anti-cultural in America.  In our country, hard work, busyness, and reaching goals are all valued.   These are all good things since we want to be productive and successful.  However, sometimes, we can become so busy and frantic, we stop receiving God's gifts and power.  We are many times short-sighted and can only see a few inches in front of us, thinking we are in control; we will accomplish our tasks on our own time table and by our own efforts.  We want to fix things, plan things, make things happen.  Now.  God, though, tells us to wait.  As Peter says in his sermon, this seems too passive.  Shouldn't we be DOING something?!  But if we're constantly doing something, we'll miss the promises of God.  In the case of the apostles in the book of Acts, it was the Holy Spirit.  In stillness and patience, we can truly hear what God is saying and receive His instructions, gifts, and power.

     I think about waiting when I observe the students in our intermediate grade building.  They are taking the PARCC test this week, a mere couple months after the last round of testing.   The demands on their young lives are great.  Many of them are expected to learn curriculum they are not ready for, some are busy from the moment they wake up until the moment they crash into bed later than they should, and many are being entertained by a constant bombardment of activities, sports, video games, consumerism, and information.  We don't seem to be waiting for when kids are ready, for their brains and bodies to be ready - for whatever we want them to be ready for.  The idea of play, imagination, daydreaming, and free time seems to be antiquated.  I'm sure this generation of kids will be way more prepared for the work force than ever before.  They know way more information at their young ages than we did at their age.  And if they don't know it, they can find it out from the Internet in a matter of seconds.  I hope, though, that they haven't lost their ability to just BE, to enjoy the outdoors, to sit with their families and talk, to learn at a reasonable pace, to imagine. 

     This spring, there are so many things to plan, to attend, to do.  My mind is in constant planning mode, it seems.  I need to stop furiously swimming and tread water once in a while.  To receive the strength of the Lord and His gifts.  I know He has already planned everything for me.  I just need to wait to be rescued.

10 comments:

  1. And the beauty of treading water and waiting for rescue is that the Lord has already thrown us our lifeline in Christ's life, death and resurrection. As we tread water, that lifeline comes within reach.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Holly, the topic and the flow of thoughts are a perfect match. I listened to the music while rereading your post because I needed to slow down; savor the moments of reading reflective thought. Your post will carry me into another day as I keep this message in mind: But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Beautiful blog, Holly! I needed this specifically today! Thank you! <3

    ReplyDelete
  4. Treading water is a metaphor for waiting. Some of us feel treading water is a negative expression, like refusing to fight and move forward. But waiting can be just what we need to be more discerning and intentional with the things we endeavor.
    Our final PARCC week is next week. I don't know whose brilliant idea it was to have two full weeks of testing. Our state added another week for social studies and science, and yet another for post-testing for SLTs. This is not about the kids.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I love this line from your post: "In stillness and patience, we can truly hear what God is saying and receive His instructions, gifts, and power." Thanks for a beautiful reflection today.

    ReplyDelete
  6. "Only by stopping and waiting would he be rescued, and indeed, he was,..."

    "But if we're constantly doing something, we'll miss the promises of God. "

    "I need to stop furiously swimming and tread water once in a while. To receive the strength of the Lord and His gifts. I know He has already planned everything for me. I just need to wait to be rescued."

    Mmm...Thank you for this beautiful, reflective piece...So true.

    The how to be still with so much around us is such a challenge.

    God is our refuge and strength.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for your invitation. Means so much. <3

      Delete
    2. Can you send me a link to where you share how it works? Getting the topic and so on. <3

      Delete
    3. Loralee,
      The Spiritual Thursday Journey has been a journey indeed. I started writing them last summer, and then started inviting people to link up and join me. I soon decided to do a theme topic each week - everyone seemed to like that - it gave them a direction. However, if something else is on your heart and mind, you can certainly write about that! You write a post on your own blog on Thursday, or sometimes bloggers link up later. That's perfectly ok. I let the community know what the theme topic is as early in the week as it comes to me. ;-) I do that by Twitter. Are you one Twitter? If not, I can always e-mail you or sometimes I put it in my post. There are no "rules" - just a group of people who want to explore their spiritual journeys! :-) We'd love for you to join us!

      Delete
    4. Thank you, Holly. I've really enjoyed reading them
      It is a wonderful thing you are doing.
      I'm on Twitter!

      Delete