Quite coincidentally (or not), today's Gospel reflection pointed me towards this whole idea of 'waiting'. A waiting that is not a period of sitting by and letting time pass aimlessly and meaninglessly. Rather, it is a waiting that encompasses an evolution of some sort. A wait that hangs a "Work in Progress" sign on its door.
Jesus was 'lost' and then 'found' in the temple when he was twelve. (v.51-52) He went down with them (His parents) and came to Nazareth and lived under their authority. His mother stored up all these things in her heart. And Jesus increased in wisdom, in stature, and in favour with God and with people.
In the next chapter of Luke's Gospel, we see John baptising in the river Jordan, preparing the way for the Messiah's coming. And then Jesus reappears again, at about thirty years of age, for baptism and the beginning of His ministerial work. What was going on in between, for almost 18 years? A tremendous wait. What was Jesus doing in those years? What could be happening within Him for Him to have increased in wisdom, in stature, and in favour with God and with people?
There seems to be many accounts of 'waiting' throughout the Bible. Zechariah's speech was taken away for months until the birth of his son, John the Baptist, when he regained his speech, was filled with the Holy Spirit and began to prophesy (Luke 1:67-79). A striking shift from his lack of faith in the message of the angel foretelling of his wife's pregnancy. What happened in those months that could have possibly brought about this shift?
Then, there is the beautiful waiting between Jesus's death and resurrection. The plunging of the spirits and moods, hopes and faith of the apostles as they waited without the knowledge of the impending resurrection. The plunge that was a necessary emptying out so as to make room to welcome the ecstatic joy and consolation of the Master's resurrection. The most dreadful wait, the feeling of losing one's bearings, being in a complete loss. Yet, masked within the desolation was the presence of an ongoing evolution.
On top of the many 'waits' my life consists of, isn't my life itself a whole lifetime of waiting? A waiting for the final arrival of my reunion with my Father? A wait that does not see me sitting on a bench and awaiting that final moment but on the contrary, a wait which encompasses an evolution of ME, a metamorphosis into the image and likeness of my Creator? Eager I may be, to allow God the time and freedom to shape me?
What then, do I do in this wait? Perhaps, I need to pay attention, to listen attentively, and to respond actively. And blanketing these with a patience that allows the moment of readiness, the end of my wait to arrive in its due course. Could this be what Jesus and Zechariah did in their waiting? To pay attention to the Spirit's promptings, to listen attentively to the soft voice of God's teaching and direction, and to respond actively in doing all they could to cooperate with God's working in them? There seems to be far more within a draggy wait that I have previously been aware of.
What is waiting like for you?