We all hate those seasons in our lives or areas of our lives where the tires just spin and there doesn’t seem to be anything that we have control over or any meaningful way to accomplish our purposes. Perhaps there is a broken relationship where you’ve done everything that you can do from your end. Or perhaps you’ve filled out all the job applications there are to fill. Or you can’t leave until your quarantine is up. And, yes, we hate these times and places in our lives, at least in part because we’ve been taught to reckon our value by the things we do. If I am in a position where I can’t do anything I feel “worthless,” which is a remarkable thing to think of a person who was redeemed with the “precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.”But “there’s always something you could do” someone will object. Maybe there is always something you could do, but it’s wrong to say so, even if it’s true. When I am stuck, when, for better or worse, I’ve done all that I can do, scripture tells me to be still and know that He is God. The alternative in such a situation is to be active and prove that I am not.
But not just as a matter of spiritual effort. Don’t pray in such a way that you are “doing” prayer, being incapable of doing anything else. Pray as an expression of lament. Pray because your situation stinks and God loves you. Pray to take God into your confidence. And, though your prayer doesn’t “accomplish” anything it will have the effect of reminding you that there is a God and that the success of your brief participation in the eternity of which he is Lord has less to do with your activity than you might think.
Don’t make a virtue of your impatience. If you have done all that you can do and God has told you to wait, then wait without embarrassment. Do the hard work of rejecting your insecurities about waiting. No one is “merely” waiting who, in waiting, is doing that exact thing that God has commanded him to do.
Rest is a good use of those situations where you are denied the pleasure of having meaningful work to do. Rest is an investment in future activity, true. But it’s valuable in and of itself, apart from any indirect contribution to my productivity. Your rest is valuable for the simple reason that you are. God gives rest to his beloved ones.
In the Parable of the Ten Virgins, Jesus tells us about ten brides who go out to meet the bridegroom who ends up being a long time in coming. There’s nothing for them to do but wait and sleep as they do. At midnight the cry rings out. He has come and it’s time for them to join him, but five of them neglected to prepare for the wait or its conclusion and they have no oil for their lamps and are left stranded in the dark.
There’ve been times when I thought, for instance, that my problem was that I was excluded from the conversation and there was nothing to do about it. And then, when I was suddenly invited to participate in the conversation, I found that I had nothing helpful to say.
Maybe the worst thing about those times and places where I am incapable of making good things happen, is that I am still very capable of preventing good things from happening. And I usually do that by closing off avenues of assistance, downplaying my need and denying my helplessness when concerned people offer their assistance. Of course you’d rather be the one coming to someone else’s rescue than being the chump in need of rescue. But a cheerful acceptance of your dependence on God and the people he uses is, itself, an act of worship.
Furnace Brook Wesleyan Church Blog