Waiting is often seen as a unwelcome necessity.
Time spent in line, in traffic, or in a doctor’s office is viewed as empty moments that are wasted. The allotted time acceptable for a wait is often preconceived and determined only by our own expectations. Though the clock ticks at the same pace 24 hours a day, waiting seems to consume our thoughts with just how long those minutes or hours feel. The normal daily rush is put on hold, and our focus is suddenly on the waiting.
While our patience is being challenged, we often lose those moments to frustration–not just over the time lost, but our lack of control over the situation.
Being forced to wait is different from choosing to wait.
When I decide to wait for something, I more easily can accept that waiting is a benefit: Waiting before spending money instead of impulse buying. Waiting for the right moment to say something important. Delaying a difficult decision until praying for wisdom from God.
When I decide to wait, I tend to be more patient. I see it as a time of learning and growth. I look for a perspective change; and I look for the type of wisdom that can only come by spending time in God’s Word and in prayer.
Choosing to wait seems normal; being forced to wait is somewhat, well, unnerving.
I can’t help but think about those early Christians who had just witnessed the crucifixion. Where did they go? What did they do?
Good Friday came and went. Jesus was crucified. He is buried in a tomb, and then,
They were afraid. They ran. They isolated. And they waited, not knowing what to do next.
The next day is the Sabbath. Only this is no normal Sabbath. Did they worship?
Out of fear, I’m sure they didn’t go to the temple. This was a new type of Sabbath–and a new normal began its narrative.
“In the evening of that first day of the week, the disciples were gathered together with the doors locked because of their fear of the Jews.” John 20:19
Did they isolate even from God with their fear and their doubts–our did they turn to Him in worship and praise because they believed Him to be the all-powerful God who had revealed Himself through the person of His Son?
They had to know that life would never be the same. His death would alter everything they thought they knew about God and His plan for humanity.
When we are faced with a life-altering event–whether it’s the birth of a child or the death of a loved one, it changes everything, catapulting us into a new normal that forever changes how we see ourselves and the world around us. When we surrender our ever-changing lives to Jesus, He changes us from the inside out. Not just our actions, but our attitudes and our perspective.
Just because we can’t always see what God is doing, we are the ones who will suffer if we choose to deny His power or His presence. The Resurrection reminds us that God is more powerful than any world-wide event or life-altering situation!
Because our world is in a stage of isolation, the word “normal” has taken on a whole new meaning.
A typical Sunday in America might include attending a church service. Putting on our finest, we celebrate with other believers, only to abandon our sense of awe the minute we pull out of the church parking lot. Turning our attention to gathering for a large meal or a sporting event, we walk away with only a momentary stirring that leaves no lasting effect– and if we’re not careful, we can come dangerously close to compartmentalizing our faith.
But now what do we do? We choose. Do we worship online? Worship alone or with our family? Or just wait? Choosing to worship in the difficult seasons of our life will certainly strip us bare. No false pretense–just you and God. All of our attitudes regarding worship on full display.
Worship is more about our attitude than our activity.
This is a season of change. Maybe not so normal for most of us, it is definitely an opportunity to see God at work in new ways. Ways that we couldn’t even have imagined a few short months ago. While we may feel like we are just surviving, God is at work, changing the narrative from “I’ve always done it that way”, to “I can’t wait to see what God will do–anyway!“
“Therefore, brothers and sisters, in view of the mercies of God, I urge you to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God; this is your true worship. Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God.”
Do I think there is a new normal in our future? Quite possibly.
We have all been affected by this experience. What is key for me is perspective. I can just try to survive or I can willingly surrender to His plan and purpose in it all.
Could it be that God wants us to encounter Him differently in the light of these recent events? Absolutely!
He wants us to choose to trust Him–and to worship Him right where we are.
I exalt you, my God the King,
and bless your name forever and ever.
I will bless you every day;
I will praise your name forever and ever
One generation will declare your works to the next
and will proclaim your mighty acts.
will speak of your splendor and glorious majesty
and your wondrous works.
They will proclaim the power of your awe-inspiring acts,
and I will declare your greatness.
They will give a testimony of your great goodness
and will joyfully sing of your righteousness.”