But as for me, I will look to the Lord,
I will wait for the God of my salvation;
my God will hear me.
Do not rejoice over me, O my enemy;
when I fall, I shall rise;
when I sit in darkness,
the Lord will be a light to me.
I must bear the indignation of the Lord,
because I have sinned against him,
until he takes my side
and executes judgement for me.
He will bring me out to the light;
I shall see his vindication. (Micah 7:7-9 NRSV).
The issue most of us have with waiting for God, is that we do not know what we are waiting for. Waiting for God is not like putting coins into a vending machine and you may or may not get what you want. Waiting for God means waiting not on what we want or even what we hope for. Waiting for God is just what the words say. To wait for God is to be prepared to negate our will and to look for God alone with a pure heart. Most of us wait for God hoping that God will give us what we want. If we get what we want we thank God for the time being until the next time we want something. The cycle repeats itself.
Lent is about going beyond our typical cycles. It is a time to deepen our relationship with God. It is a time of waiting with anticipation for the celebration of Holy Week and Easter. The waiting time of fasting, prayer and alms-giving makes us yearn for a Holy Easter as St. Benedict wrote in Chapter 49 of The Rule. In the mean time, we must wait for God. As we wait for God not only in this Season, but also in our lives we are surrounded by our enemies from within. Impatience. A tendency towards poor charity towards our neighbor. Looking for others to blame for our issues, while ignoring our responsibility to look after ourselves for the sake of others. These and others I could mention seek to rejoice over us as they draw us away from God into our false-sense of self.
These words from Micah tell us to prefer to wait for God and to trust that “He will bring me out to the light; I will see his vindication.” God’s light and vindication are not to be seen as revenge. God’s way is mercy, forgiveness and grace through faith.
As we wait for God to come we eventually discover that God is already present. While we were waiting for God to come as we thought God should, God shows up in new ways that save us from our certainty. God comes to take us from our static and abstract understanding of how God works, to gently and lovingly escort us to a renewal of self in the Essence of God in union with our own essence.
As we wait for God, may we not close our eyes to how God is already present in the here and now.
Br. Anselm Philip King-Lowe, n/OSB